Don’t just have a happy holiday, have a healthy one! Even though this is the season to be jolly and festive, it doesn’t give you the right to neglect your health. Sure, all these rich foods are very tempting but you should be on the lookout for holiday diet hazards and opt for healthier alternatives. If you can’t resist them, the next best thing to do is to keep the portions small. Here are some calorie-ridden holiday treats that you should avoid as much as possible.
While it’s true that baked potatoes do your health a favor by providing vitamin C and fiber, the creamy dressing that you stuff in it such as cheese, sour cream and butter offset those nutritional benefits. In fact, you’re taking in more than 300 calories and almost nine grams of saturated fat when you devour a medium stuffed potato. That’s almost 50 percent of your daily saturated fat limit. The good news is, you don’t have to ditch stuffed potatoes altogether. Potato lovers are advised to use low-fat dairy products or add low-calorie vegetables as stuffing. Examples of these are onions and spinach. Another idea is to roast sweet potatoes since these have less than half of the calories and fat content than potatoes.
Cheesecake is a staple dessert in just about any occasion. During the holidays, people find it hard to stay away from this calorie-packed and fatty dessert. Imagine, eating just a slice of this sweet treat already gives you 700 calories and 29 grams of fat. And that’s just the cake itself. If you add in the toppings and flavors, expect these figures to go up. If you don’t think you can live without this, go for a light version topped with fruit slices. A slice of light cheesecake garnished with fresh strawberries only sets you back at 8.4 grams of fat and 245 calories.
Another cheesy treat that you need to tone down a bit is the cheese straw. Yes, it looks harmless but what you don’t know is that just a piece already packs one third of your daily saturated fat limit. Stay away from these treats and snack on popcorn, pretzels or corn chips with salsa dip instead. Go for a fat-free salsa that gives you at least five grams of fiber and two grams of protein.
The problem with the fruitcake is that people think it’s healthy just because it’s made with fruits. The thing to remember is that it’s laden with butter, corn syrup and sugar, which can wreak havoc to your health and weight. Just a slice of this holiday favorite allots for 13 grams of fat and 400 calories of your daily diet. Want a better option? Go for pumpkin pie that only has 250 calories and lots of beta-carotene. Also a smart move is to bake a lighter version of the fruitcake with bananas, blueberries and grits so you only have to take in 145 calories per slice.
The pot roast is often the highlight of the holiday menu but the thing is, even the light version clocks in 280 calories and 20 grams of total fat per every three ounce serving. That's not yet counting the calories from the gravy either. It would be better to choose lean beef tenderloin or white-meat turkey. Roasting an herb encrusted turkey only sets you back at 180 calories and four grams of fat.
Sweet potatoes are healthy indeed. They are rich in vitamins and fiber, and are in fact considered a superfood. But the same thing cannot be said about candied yams. This favorite side dish racks up 38 grams of sugar per serving. That’s more than what the American Heart Association recommends. As for the calories, you’re getting more than 400 calories in every serving.
One of the things you look forward to during the holidays is the sugar cookie. It’s also very easy to bake. The only problem is, it can jeopardize your health with all the flour, butter and eggs used in creating this treat. A small sugar cookie loads you with 200 calories and 14 grams of sugar. As if you could be contented with just one cookie!
It may take a lot of willpower and courage to watch your diet during the holidays, when everyone else seems to forget about their health. But if you’re able to do this, your health will reap the benefits.