The 8 Worst Holiday Foods (and What to Eat Instead)
September 23, 2013
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Have a healthy holiday
'Tis the season to overindulge. What starts with an extra dollop of gravy at Thanksgiving can turn into extra weight by the time you ring in the new year. In fact, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that most Americans will pack on at least a pound between Thanksgiving and New Years. That may not sound like much, but the study also found that extra weight never comes off.
Want to keep the pounds off this holiday season? We've picked out eight holiday nutrition disasters you and your family should avoid—plus, pulled together healthier options you should eat instead.
Cheese straws How bad can these cheesy nibbles be? Pretty bad. You may think they're a safer bet than cheese and crackers, but in actuality these snacks are made from a block of cheddar cheese combined with flour and up to a cup of butter. Not exactly the recipe for diet success. You're better off snacking on pretzels, popcorn, or even a few chips with salsa.
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This tempting appetizer may seem harmlessit's just a bite of ground beef! However, lurking in the recipe is 300 calories (a little less than half from fat) of white bread, butter, heavy cream, and sodium-laden beef broth in each serving. Steer clear of this and choose a handful of mixed nuts or shrimp cocktail. And if not, try these lighter versions.
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Unfortunately, there's not one redeeming nutritional aspect in eggnog. With ingredients like sugar, eggs, whipping cream, and bourbon, this is a holiday treat that's best avoided. Instead enjoy hot chocolate or spiced cider. And if you're really craving a creamy glass of eggnog, our cocoa nog lightens it up.
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Baked potatoes are rich in vitamin C and fiber, but add in cheese, sour cream, and butter, and you've negated all the health benefits. Lighten up your potatoes by using low-fat dairy products, adding low-cal veggies like onions and spinach, and sprinkling them with turkey bacon or a variety of herbs.
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What happens when you combine healthy veggies like corn and spinach with cream, butter, and cheese? A side dish with more than 75% of your saturated fat for the day. You're better off with a cheeseburger! If you love the creamy taste, make a healthier recipe using low-fat milk and light cream cheese instead of cream.
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Even the trimmed, lean version of this popular holiday meat contains 7 grams of saturated fat. Fattier versions contain much more without the added calories from the gravy. The white meat of turkey or even a lean beef tenderloin is a more heart-healthy bet.
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Don't let the name deceive you. Though this sweet treat contains fruit, it can also contain plenty of butter, sugar, and corn syrup. You'd actually be better off enjoying a slice of pumpkin pie, which contains about 250 calories per slice, plus beta-carotene. Or, try these lighter versions.
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Pecans are a high-cal nut on their own, but combine them with sugar, butter, and corn syrup, and you've got a deadly dessert. A single slice will cost you more than 500 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar. But there's no reason to skip dessertinstead try lighter versions of apple, sweet potato, and even pear-cranberry pies.
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