With all the wonderful things going on in November and December, it’s easy to forget about the downside: the extra pounds that we’re all bound to pack on. The cozy and delicious temptations of the holiday season –staying in from the cold, hot chocolate and eggnog, Grandma’s homemade desserts – all lead to the inevitable holiday weight gain.
Some culprits are worse than others, so if you have to give in to a few indulgences, at least avoid these 5 foods.
1. Stuffing with Meat
Stuffing with sausage or bacon is a popular holiday dish, but it can be loaded down with fat. Sausage alone is very high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and combined with the bread, butter and oil that goes into stuffing it can make for a very unhealthy side. Look for a recipe with nuts, fruit and herbs for plenty of flavor and less fat.
Alternative: Chestnut, Cranberry and Leek Stuffing
2. Candied Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes are generally healthier than regular potatoes, but not in this form! Combined with butter, brown sugar and marshmallows, this dessert-like casserole is a bad choice. Wait for the pumpkin pie to satisfy your sweet tooth and go with a lower-calorie option for your side dish.
Alternatives: Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
3. Green Bean Casserole
Don’t let the fact that there are green beans fool you. This dish is anything but healthy with heavy cream, butter and fried onions. Boil or steam your vegetables to keep the nutrients, and don’t add too many high-calorie toppings.
Alternative: Green Beans with Mushrooms and Toasted Almonds
4. Pecan Pie
Nuts might be healthy, but not when they’re drenched in corn syrup and butter. One slice of pecan pie can have 35% of your daily cholesterol and 41% of your daily fat. Pumpkin pie has fewer calories and fat, especially when made with healthy ingredients like oats and flax.
Alternative: Coconut Cream Pumpkin Pie
5. Canned Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberries are a healthy fruit, but the jellied, sugar-filled sauce that comes from a can is another story. Canned cranberry sauce can have over 100 grams of sugar in a single serving, without a lot of the vitamins and nutrients that real cranberries provide. If you need cranberry sauce, go with a homemade version that uses fresh cranberries.
Alternative: Homemade Sugarless Cranberry Sauce
Don’t Forget About Drinks!
It’s easy to forget that beverages can be just as dangerous as foods when it comes to calories and sugar. Be mindful of your consumption of drinks like eggnog, hot chocolate, and alcoholic beverages. If you’re craving a warm holiday drink, try hot herbal tea or spiced apple cider instead.