Foods that contribute to weight gain during holidays
The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. But for all of us it’s also a tempting period, with all those parties where a lot of delicious but mostly unhealthy treats are seducing us. If your diet was super healthy the whole year, it could be hard to resist a temptation to reward yourself for all these efforts and not to fall upon holiday food. Here are the unhealthiest foods you can eat at parties, which will surely result in weight gain if you’re not careful.
1. Bad carbohydrates
It can be variations of potatoes (mashed, stuffed, roasted, etc.), mac and cheese, rice, lots of white bread and other bakery. Of course, mashed potatoes are one of the main dishes on a holiday table, but it’s typically cooked with cream or fat milk, so it packs a lot of calories and fats and lacks all the vitamins and minerals.
Better bet: Opt for jacket potatoes, because the potato peel contains all the vitamins. And don’t use butter or cream as a topping. Choose whole-wheat varieties of bread or brown rice instead of white. As to mac and cheese, well, there’s no healthier option for that, so you better cook something else, sorry.
Cheese and crackers are high-fat and high-calorie snack – just 5 cubes of cheese pack 345 calories! Add a small handful of crackers to that and you’re easily at 500 calories. The same goes for mixed nuts. Yes, nuts are full of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, such as vitamin E, selenium, folate, but a couple of small handfuls and you’re easily getting nearly 450 calories and 40 grams of fat. Also stay away from cheese straws, chips, and other unhealthy snacks.
Better bet: Put a plate of fresh vegetables with a low-calorie salsa, guacamole or hummus. And if you eat nuts, consume them in moderation. Other snack options could be veggie chips or popcorn (without butter, of course).
3. Heavy meat dishes
For example, meatballs are made of white bread, butter, heavy cream, and sodium-laden beef brothand pack 400 calories each. And what about beef pot roast? Even the lean version of this popular holiday dish contains 7 grams of saturated fat, 280 calories and 20 grams of total fat.
Better bet: Opt for white-meat turkey, chicken or even lean beef tenderloin, which is healthier for your heart.
Different cakes and pies, ginger cookies, hot chocolate, marshmallows, candies, and so on, and so on. The list of holiday sweet treats is endless. They are all full of sugar and extremely high in calories. If you don’t want to gain extra weight, train your will power and don’t eat these sweets. Or eat them in moderation – 2 candies or a couple of cookies will be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Better bet: Fresh or dried fruits, honey, or home-made sweets with healthy ingredients (probably even with no sugar at all, Google the recipes).
It’s okay to drink a glass of champagne or couple of glasses of wine, but most of alcohol drinks are loaded with sugar, not to mention cocktails, which can be made with whipped cream, sweet liquors, etc. Alcohol alone is high in calories, so there is no need to add more unhealthy ingredients in it. Even drinks you considered harmless, can pack lots of calories. For example, spiced cider contains 240 calories, and 1 cup of eggnog (yes, we know, it’s traditional for Christmas) made of sugar, eggs, whipping cream and bourbon has 343 calories, 21 gram of sugar and 150mg of cholesterol.
Better bet: Stick to natural juices, smoothies or dry wine.
6. Creamy sauces and dressings
Mayonnaise, spinach and artichoke dip, sour cream, cream cheese, Ranch dressing, and others are made with cream, which contains lots of saturated fat. If they are store-bought they are also typically loaded with sodium.
Better bet: Home-made salsa, guacamole or hummus will be a great alternative to these high-calories sauces.
7. Cranberry sauce
Cranberries are a great source of vitamin E, K, and C, and dietary fiber. But you still should pay close attention at the dinner table during the holidays. Typical canned cranberry sauce has 105 grams of sugar per serving. It also adds over 400 calories to your plate.
Better bet: Make your own cranberry sauce with honey instead of sugar.
8. Yorkshire pudding
This traditional Christmas dish contains flour, salt, and melted beef fat, so it obviously can’t be good for your health. One serving of Yorkshire pudding has about 625 calories and 37 grams of total fat, over half of your upper limit for the entire day.
Better bet: Try and make your own pudding using healthier ingredients.