December–Healthy Holiday Eating Tips


Just a few tips to make your holiday food choices a little healthier!

Picking a baked treat

  • A homemade chocolate chip, sugar or peanut butter cookie will cost you about 70 calories; that’s about 300 calories less than your typical slice of fruit cake.
  • Pick sugar cookies with sprinkles (148 calories for two) over sugar cookies with frosting (322 calories for two).

Picking your chocolate fix

Have three chocolate dipped strawberries (135 calories), six dark Hershey’s Kisses (150 calories) or three small peppermint patties (159 calories).

Picking a finger food

  • Shrimp cocktail (145 calories for 10 large shrimp with sauce) is always a safe bet.
  • Choose steamed dumplings (about 130 calories for three) over fried dumplings or fried spring rolls (about 480 calories for three).
  • Mini crab cakes (150 calories for four) are a smarter pick than the same serving of chicken nuggets (220 calories) or pigs in a blanket (270 calories). Dip them in cocktail sauce, not tarter, and save 65 calories per tablespoon.

Choosing meat

  • Any type of turkey is best. While skinless white meat is the healthiest choice (193 calories per 5-oz. serving), even dark meat with the skin has a reasonable 260 calories. The same portion of honey-baked ham has about 340 calories. And the prime rib? It has about 400 calories and five times the fat that’s in skinless turkey breast.
  • Eat your meat with gravy (80 calories per half cup) instead of cranberry sauce (180 calories per half cup.)




Choosing dessert

When it comes to pies, pumpkin (270 calories per slice) wins, but even apple pie (350 calories) looks like a bargain compared with the dietary disaster that is pecan pie (700 calories). Add 270 calories if you have your pie a la mode.

Choosing sides

Have the mashed potatoes (240 to 300 calories per cup, depending on how much butter, milk, or cream is used) instead of the candied sweet potatoes (up to 500 calories per cup), which have butter plus lots of sweet stuff-brown sugar and sometimes even marmalade, honey, maple syrup, marshmallows or pecans

I want a sandwich or a burger!

Opt for lettuce, tomato and onion on your sandwich or burger instead of cheese. Taking of just one slice can save you somewhere between 50 and 85 calories.

Smart meals at McDonald’s

Regular hamburger or any snack wrap with grilled chicken, paired with a side salad and low fat balsamic vinaigrette (310-330 calories).

Smart meals at Chick-Fil-A

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich with honey mustard or barbecue dipping sauce and a side with light Italian (390 calories); Chargrilled Chicken Salad with Fat-free honey mustard dressing and Chicken Soup (380 calories).

Smart meals at Arby’s

Regular Roast Beef Sandwich (320 calories) or Martha’s Vineyard salad with Light Buttermilk Ranch (389 calories).

Picking a drink

Best nonalcoholic option: Apple cider (120 calories per 8-oz. glass) saves you a few calories over cranberry juice (137 calories).

Best everyday drink: At about 100 calories per 12-oz. bottle of light beer or 4-oz. glass of wine, take your pick. Just know that today’s wineglasses can hold twice that much, leading you to down more calories without realizing it.

Best special occasion cocktail: A glass of champagne (85 calories per 4-oz.) trumps just about everything else.

Best toddy: Have hot buttered rum (220 calories per 80oz. glass). It’s better than eggnog with brandy, which can pack up to 460 calories.

Best mixers: Have our vodka or rum (96 calories per 1.5 oz. serving) with diet soda, or sweeten seltzer with a slice of lemon or lime-both are practically no-cal. And stay away from sour mix: It packs 27 calories an ounce-that’s more than twice as much as soda!

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