Tis the season… to add cm to your waistline and jelly to your belly. It’s holiday time, a time for joy and festivities, and indulging in delicious albeit way-off-your-eating-plan foods. And while it is a time for relaxing, winding down and refreshing yourself for the year that lies ahead, getting slack on our healthy eating can be a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’ve picked up 5kg, and that climbing event you’ve got planned for January no longer seems like an easy feat.
Here are the 5 worst holiday foods, and why you should try your best to avoid them.
It’s sweet and creamy and it just screams festivities, but it’s also packed with empty calories and saturated fat. With ingredients like sugar, eggs, whipping cream, and bourbon, this drink is best avoided. Just one cup has 343 calories, 150 milligrams of cholesterol (half of the USDA’s suggested daily limit) and 21 grams of sugar. Yikes!
Instead go for: A glass of champagne, which contains roughly about 90 calories. One study found that the polyphenols found in red wine can also be found in champagne, which means a good dose of antioxidants. Try limit yourself to just one or two glasses though.
2. Dark meat turkey with skin
While it’s true that turkey is one of the leanest meats out there, you should be picky about which part of the bird you choose to eat. Dark meat with skin has 70 more calories and three times more fat per serving than plain white meat without skin. In fact, the skin alone can pack a whopping 44 grams of total fat.
Instead go for: A good helping of white meat turkey. Per 100g, turkey comes in at just under 100 calories and contains a good 17g of protein and only 2g of fat.
3. Glazed ham
Ham on its own is actually not that bad; it’s all the sugar and salt that goes into that delicious glazing that’ll trip you up. Each 4-ounce (115g) slice – a small serving – contains around 200 calories, 4 grams of fat, 9 grams of sugar and a frightening 1,040 milligrams of sodium.
Instead go for: The turkey. Or, if there’s chicken on the table, that’s also a good choice.
Trifle is one of our most traditional Christmas puddings, and while it may seem like the lighter option with all that fruit and jelly, in reality it still packs a good calorie-laden punch. Liqueur-soaked cake, sweet, syrupy canned fruits, and extras like condensed milk, chocolate and massive dollops of heavy cream all spell diet disaster.
Instead go for: Trifle, but a healthier, lightened up version. Serve in individual glasses so that you have control over the portion size (family-style dining always leads to bigger portions), and pile it high with fresh berries instead of canned fruit. Opt for low-fat ingredients where you can, for instance, Ultramel custard now comes in a light version that contains only 310kj per half cup serving.
Don’t be fooled by its name, this festive delight is laden with butter, sugar, and unhealthy corn syrups. Just one slice can rack up a good 400 calories, with around 13 grams of fat.
Instead go for: If you’ve already had dessert, skip it altogether. Or eat a Christmas cookie instead.