’Tis the season to be jolly—and pack on pounds indulging in rich, fattening fare. Here are 12 holiday diet hazards you and your family should avoid!
If you simply can’t resist a calorie-laden holiday favorite, here’s how much exercise–running, jump-roping, skiing, etc.–it’ll cost you.
What it’ll cost you: Though this sweet treat contains fruit, it can also have plenty of butter, sugar, and corn syrup. One slice we tried clocks in at 410 calories and 13 grams of fat.
How to burn it off: Do 30 minutes of vigorous spinning.
A better choice: Bake a lighter Banana Blueberry Bread loaf with grits, bananas, and blueberries; it has only 145 calories per slice.
What it’ll cost you: On their own, pecans are high in calories, but combine them with sugar, butter, and corn syrup, and you’ve got a potentially deadly dessert. A single slice will cost you more than 500 calories, 37 grams of fat, and 26 grams of sugar.
How to burn it off: Run for 40 minutes.
A better choice: Classic Apple Pie has less than a quarter of the fat per slice. And you’re getting additional fiber from the apples as a bonus.
What it’ll cost you: One piece of prime rib can house up to 750 calories and 45 grams of fat, without the added sauce or seasoning!
How to burn it off: Play tennis for about an hour and a half.
A better choice: If you’re a steak lover, there are other cuts to choose from that are just as appetizing if cooked properly. Beef tenderloin has one-fourth the calories.
What it’ll cost you: This classic cookie is pretty delicious, but the amount of all-purpose flour, butter, and eggs most recipes call for is unnecessary. An average cookie can contain over 200 calories and 14 grams of sugar.
How to burn it off: Do about 30 minutes of Pilates.
A better choice: A recipe for Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies uses egg whites and less butter to keep saturated fat and cholesterol low. A touch of whole-wheat flour adds filling fiber.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
What it’ll cost you: Spinach and artichokes alone are nutritious. However, generous amounts of mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese overpower the vitamin-packed veggies. One popular restaurant’s spinach and artichoke dip with tostada chips has 905 calories and 3,100 milligrams of sodium, over 1,000 more milligrams than the USDA recommends!
How to burn it off: Inline skate for 60 minutes.
A better choice: Try a healthier Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip and watch your portion size. One serving has just 59 calories and 183 milligrams of sodium.
What it’ll cost you: One serving of Betty Crocker’s Bûche de Noël boasts 420 calories and 47 grams of sugar—almost double the amount the American Heart Association recommends eating per day.
How to burn it off: Do power yoga for an hour.
A better choice: Looking for a lighter selection? Save over 100 calories by picking up a piece of Cranberry Upside-Down Cake With Cognac Cream instead.
What it’ll cost you: Though sweet potatoes are a superfood, common recipes tell you to add up to six cups of sugar before you start baking this side dish, racking up a total of 38 grams per serving. The American Heart Association suggests that added sugar intake be limited to 25 grams per day for women and 37 grams per day for men. The side also tacks on over 400 calories to your plate.
How to burn it off: Dance for 55 minutes.
A better choice: A lighter Sweet Potato Casserole has 7 less grams of sugar per serving, and butter is replaced with half-and-half, lowering the fat content.
What it’ll cost you: Whole milk, butter, and salt can cram in the calories, cholesterol, and fat. One serving clocks in at 237 calories with 9 grams of fat and 666 milligrams of sodium.
How to burn it off: Lift weights for an hour.
A better choice: Bake something new, like a side dish of Rosemary-Roasted New Potatoes . It has about half the calories and a third of the fat.
What it’ll cost you: Lurking within each tempting ball can be at least 400 calories of white bread, butter, heavy cream, and sodium-laden beef broth.
How to burn it off: Twirl a Hula-Hoop for 40 minutes.
A better choice: If you can’t resist this diet hazard, a recipe for lighter Swedish Meatballs has almost a fourth of the fat and 50% of the calories and sodium.
What it’ll cost you: With large quantities of buttermilk, flour, and sugar, gingerbread cake is even worse than gingerbread houses or people. One small piece of cake has 260 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, and 12 grams of fat.
How to burn it off: Walk vigorously for 45 minutes.
A better choice: Stick with small Gingerbread Cookies —you can still shape them into people! Use light icing to decorate.
What it’ll cost you: One slice of Cheesecake Factory’s original cheesecake has 707 calories and 29 grams of fat. That’s about half of the 65 grams the USDA recommends for the average woman eating 2,000 calories a day. And we haven’t even mentioned assorted flavors and toppings!
How to burn it off: Jump rope for an hour.
A better choice: If cheesecake is one of your choice indulgences, select a light version that is garnished with fruit.
What it’ll cost you: A 6-ounce slice contains 1,760 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of sugar, and 300 calories. This might not seem outrageous, but think about how many slices of ham you fork onto your plate. The numbers add up!
How to burn it off: Ski for 45 minutes.
A better choice: If you love to bake ham for your big holiday dinners, lighten up the recipe by making a Glazed Ham With Blackberry Sauce . The glaze is made mostly from mustard and jam, with only one tablespoon of added brown sugar.