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Naughty and Nice Holiday Foods

Avoid holiday weight gain, and still enjoy the feast.

'Good for You' Holiday Foods continued...

Cranberry Sauce (Unsweetened)

Cranberries spell trouble for bacteria that cause most urinary tract infections. If you like sweet cranberries, add a minimal amount of sugar, or artificial sweetener.

Dark Chocolate

Seventy percent dark chocolate contains the most flavonols -- helpful plant substances that help decrease cholesterol.

Green Beans

Naturally low in calories, string beans are loaded with vitamin K, which helps protect your bones. Also, a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A. But skip heavy sauces with this veggie. Try beans lightly tossed with olive oil and lemon.

Nuts

Nuts are chock-full of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Pumpkin Pie

This rich orange vegetable contains carotenoids for making vitamin A in the body and fighting free radicals. Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium and fiber. Beware: most pies are loaded with sugar. Use artificial sweetener instead of sugar for a lower calorie dessert.

Yams/Sweet Potatoes

Yams offer carotenoids, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Candied yams are high in sugar. Bake with a bit of brown sugar, or with artificial sweetener, for the taste without the calories.

Make Nice With Naughty Holiday Foods

Sure, they taste great and they tempt you to eat too much, but it rarely pays to avoid favorite holiday foods, no matter how caloric.

"Depriving yourself of a holiday treat can backfire and make you crave the food even more, leading to overeating," says Bissex.

Choose wisely, Bissex recommends.

"Pick what to splurge on rather than mindlessly nibbling on any party food that comes your way," she says.

Knowing the calorie counts of holiday foods may stop you from reaching for another ladle of gravy, a second piece of cheesecake, or another cup of egg nog.

Food

Calories

Egg nog with alcohol, 1 cup

360

Gravy, 1/4 cup

47

Pecan pie, 1/8 of 9-inch pie

503

Pumpkin pie, 1/8 of 9-inch pie

204

Cheesecake, 1/6 of cake

257

Cheddar cheese, 1 ounce

114

Snack chips, 1 ounce

138

Sugar cookies, 2 small

132

Hershey Kisses, 9 pieces

230

Fudge, 1 ounce

140

Potato latke, 1 medium

257

Stuffing, 1/2 cup

179

Mixed nuts, 1 ounce

175

Mashed potatoes (made with
milk and butter), 1 cup

238

The buffet table is groaning under the weight of holiday goodies, but food is not alone in packing on the pounds. Alternate alcoholic beverages with calorie-free drinks, such as water or diet soda, at parties or family gatherings. You'll feel better the next day, and take in far fewer calories.

Beverages

Calories

White Russian, 8 ounces

715

Gin and Tonic, 8 ounces

192

Rum, 1.5 ounces

116

Wine, 4 ounces

98

Wine spritzer, 4 ounces (made with 2 ounces wine and diet ginger ale)

49 

(Note: The white Russian is made with 1.5 ounces each vodka and coffee liqueur and 6.5 ounces light cream; gin and tonic has 1.5 ounces gin and 6.5 ounces tonic water.)

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