Rock Springs Retreat Center / November 30, 2022 / rockspringsrc / 0
Tis the season… to stick with your fitness and weight loss goals! Notoriously, the holidays are a time for indulgence, and it can be tempting to put your goals on pause. But you’ve worked hard this year, and you owe it to yourself to stay focused. In this blog, we will highlight the worst holiday foods to avoid when trying to lose weight AND introduce you to lighter versions that still feel indulgent. Let’s dig in!
The danger lurking in festive foods
The worst thing about festive foods are the additives. Rich ingredients like butter, salt, sugar, corn syrup, and toppings can easily double or triple the calorie count and sugar intake of a single dish! As a good rule of thumb, the simpler the recipe, the better it is for you. The same goes for processed food products in the center aisles of the grocery store: the fewer the ingredients on the label and the more ingredients you can actually pronounce, the more healthful that product will be (there are exceptions, of course, which we talk about here).
The worst suspects – holiday foods to avoid
Now that you’re reading labels and paying attention to additives, let’s explore some of the worst suspects you’re likely to run into this holiday season. Don’t worry – it’s not all bad news! We’ve got you covered with healthier alternatives.
Sugar, eggs, whipped cream, and bourbon—there is certainly no diet version of this (we checked). The homemade version of this rich, creamy drink is loaded with sugar, and the store-bought version typically adds high fructose corn syrup too. The average recipe yields between 300-400 calories and over 7 grams of fat per 8-ounce serving with booze added. If you’re looking for a lighter version, we love this recipe from SkinnyTaste: 106 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving. Now we’re talking.
With copious amounts of butter, sugar, and corn syrup, it comes as no surprise to find this popular dessert on our list. A single slice of this pie packs over 500 calories, 37 grams of fat, 26 grams of sugar—shut the front door! Amazingly, we found a clean pecan pie recipe that is only 171 calories and 13 grams of sugar per slice. The Gracious Pantry deserves a round of applause for this truly difficult feat.
Yams, and their close relative the sweet potato, are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But, as holiday recipes tend to do, we often go and ruin a good thing by smothering it in sugary, cinnamon goodness. The serving size for candied yams is usually 0.5 cups and averages 100 calories, without the marshmallows. And yes, you’re visualizing that correctly; half a cup serving is not very much. Thankfully, Weight Watchers has a super simple recipe that will satisfy your craving.
Canned cranberry sauce
Emphasis on “canned.” This processed cranberry sauce averages 105 grams of sugar! It’s criminal, considering the overwhelming nutritional benefits of cranberries, like vitamins E, K, and C, and dietary fiber. You’re much better off making your cranberry sauce at home, with fresh cranberries sweetened with natural sugars, courtesy of wellnessmama.com. If you’re looking for something sugar-free and low-carb, try this recipe from wholesomeyum.com.
Green bean casserole
As a favorite holiday recipe, by far, this one hurts a little bit, but we can’t say we’re surprised. With butter, heavy cream, cheese, and salt, this holiday classic is a nutritional disaster. Let’s start with the good news: Great source of Vitamins A and C. Now, for the bad news: 8 grams of fat, a whopping 431 grams of sodium, AND the serving size is a measly .75 cups. Eating Well saves the day with this lighter green bean casserole recipe that has us breathing a sigh of relief: 188 calories, 348 grams of sodium per one-cup serving.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
This may be a heartbreaker for some. You’ve waited all year for this seasonal treat only to find out that a grande pumpkin spice latte contains 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar, and that’s with 2% milk. The worst part: It’s straight liquid calories and zero sustenance. In general, the average adult would have to do burpees for 35 minutes to burn off this one drink. Insanity! Even the skinny grande is 230 calories and those sugar-free syrups are loaded with ingredients you can’t pronounce. For a healthy alternative that’s significantly less expensive, try our Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake recipe. If you’re looking for that caffeine kick, add your desired espresso to your shake!
The Sparkly Good News
The good news is that you don’t have to deprive yourself in order to stay on track and not gain weight this holiday season. Think ahead about which holiday foods to avoid and have an alternate plan. With a little preparation, you’ll be ready with delicious and fun food and drink options that will keep you feeling festive. And every once in a while, treat yourself. Just remember everything in moderation. Which recipe will you try first?