Getting all geared up for the holiday season? If you're already starting to feel some of that festive spirit, you may have also taken to notice that many of the holiday festive goodies have also started to make their appearance.
There's no denying the fact that food has become a huge part of most people's Christmas tradition and in the same right, there's also no denying the fact that weight gain has also made its mark as an annual yearly event.
But do the holidays really have to spell dietary disaster? Or are you able to make it through with your flat stomach you've worked so hard to obtain intact?
If you understand which foods to avoid and which foods to go for, you're going to find this mission more possible. If you don't however, you could be in for some serious diet slip-ups that leave you taking in far more calories than you had bargained for.
Let's have a look at some of the worst diet offenders of the season and show you a corresponding smarter choice that you can replace it with.
Poor Picking: Chocolate Truffles (87 calories)
Smarter Selection: After Eight Mint Sticks (29 calories)
If there's one thing that quickly catches the eyes of most people, chocolate truffles are it. Whether they're coated with coconut, finely chopped nuts, or caramel drizzle, one thing's for certain and that is that you want one.
Don't be so fast! Most chocolate truffles will pack in upwards of 100 calories a pop so those two stop-offs you made when passing the front desk at work to pick up a couple could easily set you back 500 calories.
Do this every day for a week and you've just about added a solid pound of body fat to your body. Is it really worth it? Instead, go with an After Eight Mint Stick or some other small peppermint patty. These are much lower in calories as the inside is made of mint filling rather than calorie-dense chocolate mouse (or fudge) and the peppermint taste can actually promote you to stop after just one.
Most people find that the mint taste is rather refreshing and in a similar manner as gum will signal the end of the meal, an after dinner mint will signal you to stop eating as well.
Obviously if you consume enough of these they'll add up too, but if you can stop after just one, this won't have nearly the same impact on your waistline as the chocolate truffle will.
Calorie Savings: 58/piece
Poor Picking: Egg Nog (343 calories per cup)
Smarter Selection: Vodka-Cranberry Juice (or Diet Soda) (70-150
Second up on our list of holiday treats that you want to avoid is egg nog. Unfortunately this is a big favorite by many and since it does only come around once a year, many people do choose to indulge.
The problem here is that egg nog is not only high in calories but also high in saturated fat and sugar, which proves to be quite the deadly combination.
While you may be able to find a lighter option, typically it's still not going to be what you'd call healthy, so if you must drink a better choice would be vodka mixed with some cranberry juice. While no alcohol would be ideal, at least with that drink you'll only take in about 150 calories (assuming a 6 oz serving of cranberry juice) and you'll get some health benefits from the juice itself.
Or, if you're really looking to go low-calorie, mix your vodka with diet soda or tonic water instead.
If you're dead set on having egg nog, below is a healthier variation that you can make yourself.
splenda 1 cup
cinnamon 1/2 tsp
nutmeg 1/4 tsp
egg whites 3/4 cup
skim milk 2 cups
fat free half and half 2 cups
Vanilla Extract 2 tsp
rum 1/2 cup
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add in egg whites and beat until frothy.
- Warm the milk in a saucepan over low heat and then gradually stir in the egg mixture until the drink begins to thicken.
- Add in the vanilla and then allow to cool before stirring in the half and half and chilling. Before serving, add in alcohol and serve.
Calorie Savings: 193
Poor Picking: Cheesecake (500-800 calories depending on variety)
Smarter Selection: Angel Food Cake (129 calories)
Cheesecake is a dessert that you'll often find gracing the table as you attend social functions and dinner events but if you want to get out of that event without packing in close to a thousand calories, you're best off avoiding this one.
While there are some variations of cheesecake that can contain closer to 400 or so calories, most will easily add 600-900 calories per slice. It doesn't take much nutritional knowledge to realize just how damaging this can be.
Instead, opt for angel food cake. This lighter dessert will typically only come in at a couple hundred calories and won't leave you feeling weighed down.
Serve it with some fresh fruit for added flavor (if available) and you'll have a sweet treat to end your meal.
Calorie Savings: 371-671
Poor Picking: Fruit Cake (214 calories)
Smarter Selection: Trail Mix (140 calories)
Fruit cake is another option that is commonly located at work, office parties, or other places you happen to go and is yet another choice that's far too high in calories to consider. Worse is that it doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of actual nutrition so don't let the 'fruit' aspect of the name fool you.
If this cake is also covered in heavy icing then you're really in for some damage so you have to really watch out for this.
Instead, go for some trail mix instead. This way you'll still get to satisfy the craving for dried fruit bits but you'll also get some healthy fats and a moderate dose of protein from the nuts as well.
Trail mix is also higher in calories so you'll definitely want to watch how much you consume but as long as you're moderating your portion sizes, it can definitely be part of your healthy diet plan.
Calorie Savings: 74
Fruit Slice Gel Candy
Poor Picking: Fruit Slice Gel Candy (172 calories per 3.5 oz serving)
Smarter Selection: Candy Cane (55 calories per candy cane)
Finally, to the last big diet danger that you should avoid as you go about the holiday season are any of the fruit jelly candy slices that you come across. While they will be completely fat free being that they are entirely made of sugar, the drawback is that they're loaded with calories and will quickly spike your blood glucose levels.
Instead, opt for a candy cane. This too is entirely composed of sugar but one large candy cane only comes in at 50 calories so will hardly put the dent in your diet that you otherwise might have thought.
With so many different varieties of candy cane's available, you'll be hard pressed not to find one that you enjoy. If you must have something sweet for a treat, have this instead.
Calorie Savings: 117
So there you have a few of the top diet offenders of the holidays and some smarter options. Even the smarter options are not necessarily 'healthy' options from a fat loss standpoint so while you can feel better choosing them instead, you still must only have them on occasion.
Remember that the more often you do stick with your diet as the month progresses the better your overall success rate will be at maintaining your weight through to the New Year.