The holiday season comes with seemingly endless parties, dinners, and brunches that involve decadent main courses, sugary beverages and calorie-packed desserts — and that’s not even getting into the snacks! Consuming these delicious, but high in calorie foods, can be tempting in the moment, but they can definitely pose a threat to a healthy diet. And while your intention might be to indulge just a little this holiday season, it can be difficult to stay on course.
So to make things a bit easier for you, here are 6 holidays treats you should stay away from (or at least be aware of), this holiday season.
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?” Definitely delicious, but candied nuts can seriously derail your diet. Nuts without added sugar are one of the healthiest snacks you can eat. While high-calorie, they are packed with nutrients and healthy natural fats. The story isn’t quite the same for candied pecans, walnuts, and other nuts. These nuts are loaded with sugar, with a quarter cup serving containing approximately 10 grams of carbs, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and clocking in at over 200 calories. That’s a lot for a small handful! Even more dangerous, nuts are a great snack food and they are often at parties and events for people to consume mindlessly. Mindless eating usually leads to more eating.
So while having a few candied nuts will cause no harm, indulging in this treat will set you off course if you’re watching your weight or trying to cut back on sugary, high-carb snacks.
This delicious drink is made with eggs, cream, milk, and sugar and is loaded with calories, fat and added sugar. Depending on the brand, the nutritional value of eggnog is generally 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, and around 20 grams of sugar per serving, and that’s without alcohol! Just for comparison, you can have a delicious potato salad with anchovies for around the same amount of calories.
If you are making eggnog at home, these numbers can be even higher. A traditional eggnog recipe spiked with bourbon or rum contains 265 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugars per 1/2 cup serving. Just like with any other treat, you have nothing to worry about if you have the odd eggnog drink. Just be aware that it does not nutritionally serve you and is calorie, sugar and fat dense.
The name might contain the word fruit but don’t let it fool you. Having slice after slice of a fruitcake is nothing like eating actual fruit. If you look into fruit cake recipes, you’ll notice that many of them use dried fruit instead of fresh. Dried fruits are made with added sugars and juices , then the recipe requires you to add even more sugar, butter, flour, molasses, etc. With 1 slice of fruit cake containing 139 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, and 12 grams of sugar and fruits with no real benefits, you are better off eating something else – dare we suggest a fresh piece of fruit?
A normal glass of red wine is only 85 calories and is full of antioxidants, which means it can actually be great for you…in moderation of course. Mulled wine is a whole other story. This drink is a combination of wine, which is gently heated with sugar and additional spices as well as fruit juice, vanilla and star anise. The wine, and sugar all combine to give mulled wine up to 400 calories per glass. We’d also like to take this opportunity to highlight that alcohol, especially when sugary mixers and syrups added in, can cause weight gain. This happens because of the metabolic priority that your body places on alcohol. Your body wants to process alcohol before anything else, as it’s essentially simple carbs. This creates a metabolic environment almost opposite to that following exercise, one of inhibited fat burning.
It’s delicious, we know. But did you know, that one slice of pecan pie can add up to more calories than your entire dinner? A slice contains 599 calories, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 41.7 grams of sugar and 31.3 grams of fat. Pecans are a healthy snack but a calorie-dense one, and a slice of pecan pie has way more pecans than your recommended handful serving, and candied ones at that! Add sugar, butter and flour to the mix and you’ve got a dessert that’s higher in sugar and fat than any fruit pie.
Holiday parties and events often have delicious and exotic holiday drinks, from chocolate martinis to spiked punch. But these cocktails can be loaded with extra sugar and calories that may surprise you. Drinking alcohol is essentially like consuming pure carbohydrates, so while a drink or two can be ok, there are definitely better options than a cocktail. While a glass of champagne is about 100 calories, a chocolate martini, according to MyFitnessPal, has about 400 calories for just one! Similarly, spike your eggnog with alcohol and you’re easily looking at over 400 calories per small glass. Better to stick with a glass of champagne or wine when out on the town for the holidays.
We all love those holiday drinks. But from pumpkin spice lattes to peppermint frappuccinos, these sugary drinks can contain as many calories as a decent sized meal! Take a grande peppermint mocha with 2 percent milk. That will land you 440 calories, 63 grams of carbs, and 54 grams of sugar! Add on whipped cream and you can add a whopping 82 calories to your 440 calorie drink. If you really can’t resist a holiday coffee, a better alternative is a skim milk peppermint mocha which is only 130 calories.
The holiday season is a special time to enjoy with loved ones over delicious food. So make sure you are aware of what you put on your plate to avoid feeling uncomfortably full, having sugar highs or a negative impact on your waistline.
Have a happy and healthy holiday season!