Whether you’re sticking to home cooked meals for the holidays or attending plenty of parties, paying a little attention to calories can save you a lot of time and effort in losing the weight you’re gaining at the end of the year.
Even if you’ve decided to forget about counting calories to really enjoy yourself over the holidays, it’s wiser to exercise a little portion control when it comes to the worst holiday foods. With plenty of fats and sugar, these treats should be on the list of foods you only enjoy moderately when you’re worried about weight gain.
Whether it’s made with butter or margarine, stuffing can be a true calorie bomb. On top of the fats that go into it, stuffing also absorbs saturated fats once it’s places inside your choice of bird. Cooked inside the bird, stuffing can also be risky when it comes to food poisoning, but even when cooked separately, it’s still very high in calories.
Definitely one of the worst holiday foods, pecan pie does include some healthy fats from pecan nuts, but it’s filled with sugar and fats, especially if you go for it à la mode. Depending on the recipe and the ice cream, a single slice of pecan pie can go over 500 calories and even reach 800. Do yourself a favor and skip it in favor of pumpkin pie or angel food cake.
For high calorie holiday drinks, eggnog stands out as the most unhealthy with up to 400 calories in a serving. You’re drinking up to 20 grams of fat per glass and the same amount of sugar. Other drinks that you should be avoiding include holiday beers, that are usually really sweet, and gin and tonic, that deliver up to 250 calories in an 8 ounce serving. Stick to hot chocolate as your choice of holiday drink.
It’s hard to say no to holiday party canapés, but crab cakes are one of the worst choices you can make. With the added mayo, breadcrumbs and fats, this healthy choice of seafood is turned into a 400 calorie morsel that can pack up to 20 grams of fat, making it one of the worst holiday foods. Get your seafood fix with a shrimp cocktail instead.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Even the vegetarian options can be packed with empty calories when you’re attending a holiday party. While it sounds like a healthy alternative to more fatty appetizers, the vegetables absorb a lot of saturated fat when they’re deep fried and the sauce can also bring them over 150 calories for a small serving.
The most festive holiday treat, candy canes also belong on the list of worst holiday foods. They’re literally sugar, which means you’re not just putting your waistline in danger, you’re also risking the health of your teeth. You might as well be drinking high fructose corn syrup. Satisfy your sweet tooth with another holiday staple, gingerbread, for a lot less calories.
The other pie that can undermine all your pre-holiday weight loss efforts, mincemeat pie is full of saturated fat, even if it doesn’t contain any meat. With plenty of sugar, eggs and butter, mincemeat pie is also usually made with shortening, making a single slice get pretty close to 500 calories.
Pigs in a Blanket
The reason why pigs in a blanket are among the worst holiday foods isn’t about what a single one contains. At around 70 calories, it doesn’t sound that bad. However, most people don’t stop at one, instead going back for another, and another, and the 5 or more grams of fat in each pig in a blanket are mostly saturated fat.
A baked potato can be a low calorie and nutritious side dish, when served with a yogurt sauce, but most baked potatoes come with butter, sour cream, cheese and even bacon. That means they easily pack over 400 calories, with plenty of fat. That’s way too much for a single side dish.
See also: Best Low Calorie Drinks for the Holidays
While nuts are rich on omega-3s and other healthy fats, they can also end up as one of the worst holiday foods when they have added sugars and flavorings. Even a handful of them can go over 300 calories, so resist the temptation to snack on too many nuts, even if dinner won’t be ready anytime soon.