8 Holiday Foods That Are Ruining Your Diet

These eight holiday foods can sabotage your healthy diet.
Table with appetizers for guests reception

Table with appetizers for guests reception

Photo by: Alex Tihonov ©Photo by Alex Tihonov (www.alextihonov.com)

Alex Tihonov, Photo by Alex Tihonov (www.alextihonov.com)

The holidays are filled with an overwhelming amount of food. It may seem fun at the beginning, but after indulging at party after party, you might find that these foods can quickly bust your waistline. Here are eight foods to watch out for at your next holiday shindig.


This holiday favorite is made with eggs, cream and sugar. At 50 calories per tablespoon of heavy cream, you get the calorie picture for this bad boy. Add a shot of booze and that’s about an additional 150 calories.

Instead: Lighten up this classic toddy by swapping low-fat milk for heavy cream. Skip the alcohol, if possible, or measure out a maximum of 1.5 fluid ounces.

Tortilla Chips

That bowl of tortilla chips is the one everyone runs for before the food comes out, and you just keep going back for more. At about 140 calories per ounce, you’re probably looking at a minimum of 420 calories just from the chips.

Instead: Take a handful of about 15 chips and step away from the bowl. If you need something to keep munching on, go for the crudite platter. With most Americans falling short on their vegetable intake, you can’t go wrong there.

Cheesy Dips

Artichoke and other cheese dips are absolutely delicious, but they can set you back hundreds of calories, especially if you’re using tortilla chips to scoop your dip.

Instead: Salsa and yogurt-based dips are a better-for-you choice sans the oodles of cheese.

Chicken Wings

The bite-size appetizers may seem harmless, but did you know that chicken wings average about 100 calories per piece? If you have six or seven, that’s more calories than you should be eating in one meal.

Instead: Choose lower-calorie appetizers like bruschetta or chicken satay.

Creamed Spinach

You’ll usually find some sort of creamed veggie like spinach or corn at the holiday fiesta. Many call for heavy cream, cheese and butter.

Instead: Choose steamed or roasted vegetables made with little oil or butter.

Special Holiday Cocktails

Many parties serve up a special holiday cocktail that’s usually made with some source of sugar like juice, soda or a packaged cocktail mix. These cocktails tend to also be overloaded with alcohol, which can add hundreds of unnecessary calories plus get you tipsy so your ability to make healthy choices goes right out the window.

Instead: Stick with beer or wine, neither of which has hidden calories. One 12-ounce bottle of beer or 5 ounces of wine has about 150 calories.


That mouthwatering toffee that you’ve been waiting the entire year to sink your teeth into can easily ruin your chances of fitting into your little black New Year’s dress. Made from butter, sugar and add-ins like nuts and chocolate, it can easily let you rack up hundreds of calories in a flash — especially since it’s very tough to just have one piece.

Instead: If you can’t control yourself, then just stay away.

Icing Overload

Cookies and cupcakes may seem harmless, but when they’re topped with mountains of sugary icing you can end up with sugar overload.

Instead: Choose mini cupcakes when available, and curb the rest of your sugar craving with a side of fruit.

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.

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