The 7 Worst Calorie Offenders at Your Christmas Table
The holidays are flowing with food and drink, but Christmas dinner is the ultimate over-the-top meal of the season. Although you should enjoy delicious food at your Christmas feast, you don’t need to feel bloated and have indigestion at the end of the night. Certain dishes, however, rack up the calories more than others. Here are the seven worst calorie offenders at the Christmas table.
One cup of eggnog on average contains 340 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 56 percent of the daily recommended maximum of artery-clogging saturated fat. If you’re a heavy cream fan, know that it adds 50 extra calories per tablespoon. If you like your eggnog spiked, add about 150 calories per 1 1/2 fluid ounces. When all is said and done, you’re talking more like over 500 calories a drink.
Instead try: Food Network Kitchen’s Low-Fat Eggnog
Many holiday recipes call for 1 pound of prime rib per person, which can easily rack up over 700 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat. But let’s not forget the additional calories that will be consumed from the rest of the food on the table.
Three ounces of bone-in glazed ham contains about 190 calories and 11 grams of fat. A typical serving of ham recommends 1-pound servings per person, which ups the calories to 760 and grams of fat to 44. As traditional hams are smoked or cured, the sodium levels also are very high, with 1 pound containing about 4,300 milligrams, which is about double the recommended daily maximum.
Instead try: Orange Baked Ham (and stick to 3- to 4-ounce portions)
One serving can contain 400 calories, mainly from the butter and heavy cream. Mashed potato recipes typically call for one stick of butter, which runs about 816 calories. Use 1/2 cup of heavy cream and that’s 200 more calories. You have 1,000 calories in your dish without even including potatoes!
Instead try: Smashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives
Heavy cream and butter are the main culprits in this bad boy, jacking up the calories to more than 300 per 1/2-cup serving. Given that spinach contains 25 calories per cup, that’s a lot of extra calories from artery-clogging saturated fat.
Instead try: Parmesan Creamed Spinach
One slice of commercially prepared pecan pie contains close to 550 calories. Besides your traditional high-fat crust ingredients (butter), the nuts add a boatload of calories. Top your slice with 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream and this delicious dessert just hit a whopping 700 calories.
Instead try: Lighter pies like these (without the a la mode)
One regular-sized cookie contains about 100 calories. Mindlessly munch on these babies and you’re talking about hundreds (if not thousands) of extra calories.
Instead try: Any of these healthy holiday cookies (and be mindful of how many you eat)
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day .