By Tanya Jolliffe, for SparkPeople
Which foods should you watch out for and limit at your party events this season?
According to Health.com, here are 6 of the worst holiday foods to watch for this party season.
Swedish meatballs - These savory and creamy balls of ground beef show up in many heating trays or crock pots this time of year. Many see them as a good choice to control portion sizes. However, the creamy sauce should be a give away to the nutrition conscious that they are probably something that is best to limit to a serving size of one. If you want a more nutrition conscious portion controlled meat selection, look for the shrimp cocktail instead.
Eggnog - This rich, smooth, creamy drink is very calorie rich although delicious. With ingredients such as sugar, eggs, whipping cream and bourbon, there is very little nutrition for the calories and fat you are consuming. There certainly are ways to trim some of those fat and calories with lower calorie recipe options, however, if you are at a party, more than likely that is not the eggnog that is being served. Selecting club soda or spiced cider instead of eggnog, you will not only reduce your risk of food borne illness from contaminated raw eggs, but also limit your fat and calorie consumption, which will save room for the veggie tray.
Creamed vegetables - One of my favorite appetizers is Spinach and Artichoke dip and I have a hard time only enjoying a taste when it appears on the party buffet table. Creamed spinach or corn as well as cheesy broccoli or cauliflower take normally healthy and nutrient rich options and transform them into a tempting side dish full of saturated fat and calories. The veggie tray is obviously a much healthier choice. If you still want to enjoy a taste of the creamy option, finding a way to focus on the healthy fresh fruits and veggies with a taste of the creamy option as a dip is always a great choice.
Pot roast - No, say it isn't true, not the roast beast! Yep, unfortunately when we enjoy the meat nicely cut for us by the server in the tall white hat, many times we are selecting one of the fattier beef options. Of course, we accept the gravy when offered and walk away with an entrée with at least 7 grams of saturated fat and something that is not very heart friendly. The white meat of turkey or chicken would be a better meat selection if available as well as baked or broiled fish as long as it isn't roasted in butter.
Fruitcake - We probably have all heard a fruit cake joke or two over the years but regardless of the jokes, fruitcake remains a holiday favorite at many seasonal parties and gatherings. While the sweet treat does contain fruit, it isn't without loads of butter and sugar as well. Due to fruitcakes density, it is much more of a dessert than bread. Of course selecting fresh fruit is the best option as a nutrient rich, lower calorie alternative. If you were thinking about this cake or bread as a sweet treat for dessert, you would do just as well to select a small slice of pumpkin pie or a sugar cookie.
- Pecan pie - Another of my holiday favorites. Many nuts provide healthy fats along with filling protein but when you add them to sugar, butter, and corn syrup, you get a high calorie dessert. Many delicious pecan pie recipes provide you with a slice that contains more than 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. When enjoyed at the end of your meal, it can totally ruin all your smart choices you made throughout the evening. A handful of mixed nuts would be a better protein choice and if it is sweets you desire, a slice of pumpkin pie provides about half the calories and fat of pecan pie and would be your better pie choice when available.
What party foods will you be watching out for and limiting at your gatherings this season?
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