Beef tenderloin can supply a lean serving of protein to your plate, but add port wine syrup and puff pastry and you've got a recipe for diet disaster. One recipe says that a serving hosts 744 calories and 57 grams of fat. The rich entree also has 130 milligrams of cholesterol, about half of your upper limit for the whole day.
Packed with vitamins and fiber, sweet potatoes are a superfood. However, candied yams are a different story. Though the savory starch is the main component of this side dish, common recipes tell you to add up to six cups of sugar before you start baking, 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.
There's no way to avoid the fact that candy canes are pure sugar and vinegar. They're only 60 calories apiece but don't offer any nourishment. Rather than making them a mid-afternoon snack in the month of December, use the canes as Christmas-tree decorations.
Making caramel apples can be an entertaining holiday activity, and they are enjoyable to eat too. However, the caramel sauce is pure sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, melted with a bit of milk. Though apples are high in vitamins and dietary fiber, the treat packs about 320 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 28 grams of sugar (more than the 25 grams per day recommended by the American Heart Association).
Beware of this delectable dessert, a crowd favorite on any occasion. 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!
If cheesecake is one of your choice indulgences, select a light version that is garnished with fruit.
It's fun to get into the holiday spirit with sweet and sultry cocktails, but keep an eye on calorie counts. A chocolate martini has at least 300 calories per glass when you use vodka, chocolate liquor, and syrup. There are 103 calories and 11 grams of sugar in a shot of Godiva chocolate liquor alone!
If you're searching for a sweet treat to kick-start a day of holiday shopping, keep your distance from Cinnabon at the mall. A classic roll has 730 calories! And a Pecanbon roll has 1,100! With 25 grams of fat, this breakfast wastes almost half of your USDA-allotted daily calories and fat without any nutritional benefit.
Cranberries are a great source of vitamin E, K, and C, and dietary fiber. Still, pay close attention at the dinner table during the holidays. Typical canned cranberry sauce has 105 grams of sugar per serving, over four times the amount the AHA recommends per day for women. It also adds over 400 calories to your plate.
Incorporate fresh or frozen fruit and less sugar to make a healthier turkey topping.
What happens when you combine healthy veggies like corn and spinach with cream, butter, and cheese? A side dish with more than 75 percent of your saturated fat for the day. Boston Market's creamed spinach side has 280 calories (almost entirely from fat) and 15 grams of saturated fat.
If you love the creamy taste, make a healthier recipe using low-fat milk and light cream cheese instead of cream. This lowers the total fat per serving to 3.7 grams.
They are so light and fluffy we think croissants are low in fat and calories - perfect for a holiday brunch! But what makes them so mouth-watering? Sugar, salt, and butter between each and every layer of flour dough. A butter croissant from Starbucks has 310 calories and 18 grams of total fat. This pastry isn't as bad as a box of donuts, but it has almost no nutritional value.
Step...away...from the eggnog. With ingredients like sugar, eggs, whipping cream, and bourbon, this is a nutritional bullet smart revelers will dodge. One cup has 343 calories, 150 milligrams of cholesterol, half of the USDA's suggested daily limit, and 21 grams of sugar, almost a day's worth. Instead, enjoy spiced cider.
Popcorn can be a perfect light snack, but not when it comes to popcorn balls. What gives these treats a round shape, you might ask? Sugar and corn syrup act as glue - melted and hardened - holding the kernels together.
Stick with the plain air-popped variety for a healthy, filling bite to eat. A pinch of salt and light butter won't hurt either.
Gingerbread people and houses may look inviting with their smiles made of frosting and gumdrop decor, but don't be fooled! They're packing plenty of calories. Gingerbread cake is even worse, with large quantities of buttermilk, flour, and sugar. One small piece of cake has 260 calories, 36 carbs, and 12 grams of fat.
Stick with small cookies--you can still shape them into people! And use light icing to decorate. Most gingerbread is rich in fiber too!
Ham, on its own, is vitamin-rich lean meat. However, when it's cured with salt and then glazed with sugar, say good-bye to health benefits. Just 6 ounces contain 1,760 milligrams of sodium and 6 grams of sugar. This might not seem outrageous, but think about how many slices of ham you fork onto your plate. The numbers add up!
Gooseberries are a fine source of vitamin A and C, and potassium. However, the conventional pie recipe calls for over two cups of white sugar and a double pastry piecrust! Nutrition facts vary by recipe, but one slice can have over 500 calories and 30 grams of fat.
Reduce the sugar and use whole-wheat crust to lighten it up.
No matter how moist you make your holiday turkey, there's a good chance guests will think it's dry without gravy. Unfortunately, the only thing this sauce contributes to the dish are fat and salt. Measuring portions out of a ladle can also be difficult. One cup of canned turkey gravy has 1,373 milligrams of sodium, almost reaching the USDA's 2,300 milligrams recommended daily limit.
Green beans are a hearty vegetable, boasting dietary fiber and vitamins A and C. Still, this casserole is far from wholesome. Butter, cheese, salt, and fried onions take away from the health perks of the beans. One full batch has 785 calories and 4,128 milligrams of sodium. You probably won't take the entire dish for yourself, but it's still important to watch your portion size.
Mashing potatoes never hurt anyone, but 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. This count doesn't include added salt, butter, or sour cream!
If you can't live without this much-loved side dish, use low-fat milk and limit adding butter and salt.
On their own, pecans are a high-cal nut, 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. Still, there's no reason to skip dessert - try baking something lighter instead.
Often referred to as Christmas pudding, this dessert is dangerously heavy. Not only does the traditional recipe ask you to put molasses, brandy, and candied fruit in the batter, the concoction is also baked in a greased and sugared pudding mold. Recipes estimate that one serving of plum pudding contains about 360 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar (5 grams more than your daily upper limit).
Even though potato pancakes are a well-liked holiday substitute for mashed potatoes, they're battered with egg, flour, and breadcrumbs, and then fried in oil. This method makes them crisp and golden brown, but also rather unhealthy. An average pancake has over 200 calories and 11 grams of fat, plus extra saturated fat from cooking oil. And who can stop with just one?
Even the trimmed, lean version of this popular holiday meat contains 7 grams of saturated fat. One 3-ounce serving of traditional beef pot roast has 280 calories and 20 grams of total fat. But think about how many ounces you're actually adding to your plate, plus the calories from gravy. Much more!
White-meat turkey or even lean beef tenderloin is healthier for your heart.
Prime rib is a beloved cut of beef, especially during the holidays. Still, it happens to come from the fattest part of the cow. One piece of prime rib can house up to 750 calories and 45 grams of fat, without the added sauce or seasoning! Plus, 8 ounces have 450 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 mg more than the USDA recommends for men and women to consume per day.
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.
Think twice before stuffing your face with this ominous mixture. It could be harboring a ton of unhealthy foods. One recipe uses a pound of sweet Italian sausage, a stick of butter, a cup of toasted pecans, and maple syrup. Generic sausage stuffing has 345 calories, 235 from fat, setting you back about 26 grams of fat altogether.
The name of this popular appetizer can easily be misleading to the average partygoer. 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!
A Grande (16 oz.) serving of this seductive Starbucks beverage has 540 calories. And that's with only 2% milk! The white-chocolate- and peppermint-flavored syrups, whipped cream, and dark chocolate make up 76 grams of sugar, three times the amount of added sugar the American Heart Association suggests per day.
Baked potatoes are rich in vitamin C and fiber, but add in cheese, sour cream, and butter, and you've negated most of the health benefits. One medium stuffed potato has 316 calories and 8.25 grams of saturated fat. That's almost half of your suggested daily upper limit of saturated fat.
Lighten up your potatoes by using low-fat dairy products or adding low-cal veggies like onions and spinach. Or, you can roast sweet potatoes in the oven instead; each has less than half of the calories and only 2.4 grams of total fat.
Santa's health may be in jeopardy if you feed him too many sugar cookies this Christmas. The classic recipe is pretty simple, but the amount of all-purpose flour, butter, and egg used is unnecessary. An average cookie can contain over 200 calories and 14 grams of sugar.
For a healthier batch, use egg whites and less butter to keep saturated fat and cholesterol low, and a touch of whole-wheat flour to add fiber.
In general, turkey has more lean meat compared to other entree selections, but be careful when choosing which part of the bird you want to eat. Dark meat with skin has 70 more calories and three times more fat per serving than plain white meat without skin. The skin alone can hold up to 44 grams of total fat.
Though dark meat contains more iron, you'll get about the same amount of protein. So ditch the skin and opt for white meat!
With primary ingredients like chocolate, heavy cream, butter, and sponge cake, a slice of Yule log can account for half a day's worth of calories. Some recipes even toss in a cup of toasted pecans and coconut. One serving of Betty Crocker's Buche de Noel boasts 420 calories and 47 grams of sugar - almost double the amount the American Heart Association recommends eating per day.
Any pudding that requires flour, salt, and melted beef fat can't be good for your health, but this old-school side dish has been around since the 1700s. It was originally created to make use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pan while meat roasted. One serving has about 625 calories and 37 grams of total fat, over half of your upper limit for the entire day.