Just when you thought Grandma's Christmas sugar cookies and hot buttered rum were the worst waistline wreckers out there, these 12 holiday foods from around the world may, er, take the cake. Full of butter, sugar, and notoriously fatty ingredients, the only thing these international foods are giving this holiday season is the gift of girth. See what deep-fried, gravy-layered dish takes first prize for the worst holiday food in the world.
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1. Germany: Schäufele
It's no secret that Germans love their meat, and Schäufele, a southern German dish, does this country proud. This fatty, often cured, pork shoulder dish is made at least two different ways: In Franconia, it's seasoned with salt, pepper, and spices, put in a casserole dish, and covered with root vegetables, onions, and beer. Afterward, it's smothered with gravy and served with potato dumplings and cabbage. In Baden, it's simmered in a bath of wine, water, vinegar, onions, and herbs for hours, then served with potato salad. Six ounces of roasted pork shoulder contain more than 450 calories and 14 grams of saturated fat, so this dish starts off with a high artery-clogging factor, but then add gravy and potato dumplings (a mere 300 calories per serving), and you're looking at a Christmas calorie bomb.
undefined2. Greece: Loukoumades
Though the Greeks are known for their heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, they seem to make an exception for the holidays. Loukoumades are pastries made of fried dough, soaked in sugary syrup or honey, then covered with cinnamon, and sometimes powdered sugar. According to authentic recipes, just one of these Greek doughnuts will cost you between 200 to 300 calories and more than 30 grams of sugar!
3. Finland: Karjalanpaisti, or Karelian Hot Pot
This meaty dish combines beef, pork, and sometimes lamb, plus salt, water, onions, and bay leaves. The result is a hearty meat dish that will set you back about 450 calories per serving, not to mention hefty doses of saturated fat from the not-so-lean stew meat! Often served with potatoes, this dish could easily put a dent in your calorie intake for the day. Be sure to save room for reindeer, another popular Finnish dish!
4. Cuba: Crema de Vie
Forget buttered rum! Cubans have their own form of eggnog, made with condensed milk, rum, sugar, cinnamon or vanilla, lemon rind, and egg yolk. This frothy drink is like Christmas in a cup, but it will also cost you in calories. Some of the richest versions contain up to 500 calories per glass, plus two cups of sugar per recipe!
Roast duck5. China: Peking Duck
Even though it's not a public holiday, some regions in China celebrate Christmas-like traditions. One of the unhealthiest: Eating Peking duck. A Beijing specialty, Peking duck is a rich roasted duck dish that is covered in a tangy mixture of honey, ginger, and sometimes Hoisin sauce. Just six ounces of duck alone contains 354 calories and almost 10 grams of saturated fat! Add in the sodium-filled sauce and the common side dish of Mandarin pancakes, and you have a meal that won't go swimmingly with your diet.
South Americans don't mess around when it comes to indulging throughout the holidays. The pan de jamon is simple enough--it's a sandwich made of ham, bacon, raisins, and pimento-stuffed olives wrapped up in sweet, flaky dough. With about 1,000 mg of sodium in just three ounces of cured ham, your blood pressure will spike just looking at it! The nearly 500 calories in a small sandwich won't help you look svelte come New Year's Eve, either.
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7. New Zealand: Christmas Mince Pies
As if ground beef wasn't fatty enough, New Zealanders added gravy and baked it in pie dough to make a truly gut-busting holiday feast. Two mini pies contain at least 370 calories, plus a hefty chunk of sodium from the broth used in the filling and fat from the butter used to make the pastry exterior.
8. Phillipines: Bibingka
Filipinos make use of natural ingredients like coconut milk to make rich desserts. Bibingka is a type of rice cake made with sweet rice flour, sugar, clarified butter, and coconut milk, as well as eggs and vanilla extract, depending on the recipe. It's then baked and topped with butter and sugar. One serving will cost you more than 600 calories and 33 grams of fat!
9. Portugal: Bolo Rei
This Portuguese fruitcake is typically eaten from Christmastime until the Dia Dos Reis-Day of Kings-on January 6. But don't let the fruit fool you-it's crystallized, meaning it's covered in sugary syrup. Certain versions, like the bolo rei de chocolate, up the calorie count with the addition of chocolate chips. A serving of traditional bolo rei is 1/20 of a cake, and this miniscule portion will cost you close to 300 calories! Just be sure you don't get the slice with the raw broad bean, or you'll have to buy the bolo rei next year.
10. France: Goose
Dating back several centuries, roast goose is a Christmas Eve tradition in France, as well as other parts of Europe (and even America!). A goose is all dark meat, meaning it's significantly fattier than other holiday birds like turkey. Just six ounces of roasted goose with the skin on contains more than 300 calories and 22 grams of fat--and that's without the stuffing or gravy. Tack on those two and you'll be the one who's stuffed.
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undefined11. South Africa: Malvapoeding (Marshmallow Pudding)
Settled by Europeans, it's no surprise that South Africans kept up the tradition of serving deliciously creamy pudding as a Christmas dessert. Malvapoeding, or marshmallow pudding, combines sugar, butter, milk, and flour to make a pudding, then smothers it with a heavy cream and sugar-filled sauce, creating the spongy texture that gives it its name. One cup of this dessert contains a not-unusual 400 calories, but what'll wreck your diet are the whopping 13 grams of saturated fat and 30 grams of sugar.
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12. Japan: Kentucky Fried Chicken
An old fashioned bucket of KFC is Japan's Christmas "specialty." Though Christmas is not a national holiday, and a very small percentage of the population is Christian, the Japanese join Americans in setting up Christmas trees, hosting parties, and feasting on fattening foods! The KFC craze started because Japanese citizens couldn't find whole turkeys or chickens at other markets. With some strategic marketing, Kentucky Fried Chicken launched its first Christmas meal in 1974, and last year, the company estimates they sold 240,000 Christmas party barrels--which include fried chicken, a salad, and chocolate cake. They're so popular, in fact, people often have to order them months in advance! With 510 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, and more than 1,000 mg of sodium in an extra crispy chicken breast, this meal is a heart attack in a bucket.