5 Smart Food & Drink Swaps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Smart eating this ChristmasSmart eating this Christmas

The holidays are an easy time to lose focus on eating healthy. You're in a festive mood, enjoying the company of your friends and family, and in close vicinity of way-too-many tempting finger foods and, my personal weakness, delicious drinks.

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Not to worry, mis amigos! It is possible to stave off seasonal weight gain by making the right choices. Pick smart between grandma's loaded eggnog or hot chocolate, as well as four other Christmas favorites, with our helpful holiday eating and drinking tips:

First up: eggnog vs. hot chocolate

egg nog vs. hot chocolate

The winner: hot chocolate
By a landslide! Whether or not you're loading up the eggnog with alcohol, the main ingredients for this holiday fave are eggs, cream, and milk, usually making it at least 350 calories. Keep your hot chocolate in the low-cal zone by opting to make it yourself instead of snagging it from Starbucks, using skim milk instead of whole, and avoiding mounds of whipped cream.

Dips: spinach artichoke vs. hummus

spinach artichoke dip vs. hummus

Winner: hummus
With not one but TWO vegetables in its name, the spinach artichoke dip sounds healthy, right? Sure, certain versions could be, but most of them are made with cream cheese, heavy cream, and loads of high-calorie cheese. At around 30 calories a tablespoon, stick to the hummus, and stock up on fiber instead of heavy cholesterol.

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The main course: honey glazed ham vs. prime rib

ham vs. prime rib

The winner: honey glazed ham
Hellloooooooooo fat! Prime rib comes from the part of the cow with the highest fat percentage, and has a high calorie count (around 750 calories per serving) to match.

Side dishes: green bean casserole vs. mashed potatoes

green bean casserole vs. mashed potatoes

Winner: green bean casserole
This one could be a toss up, depending on who made each dish and what's inside. Sure, mashed potatoes can be kept relatively healthy (especially if you opt for the "fake" ones!), but the creamier they are, the more butter is likely in the mix. While the taters will cost you at least 200 calories, the green bean casserole comes in at around 130 calories. Keep that number down by staying away from the crispy French-fried onion topping.

The sweet stuff: candy canes vs. chocolate truffles

candy canes vs. chocolate truffles

The winner: candy canes
Chocolate truffles may be absolutely delicious, but they pack a wallop when it comes to calorie content and added sugar. Pending what's inside, you can be looking at upward of 200 calories for just one truffle! SO not worth it! Enjoy candy canes for the seasonal treat they are, and you won't be regret it the next morning.

What do you plan on eating this Christmas?


Images via Dinner Series, Masatoshi_, janineomg, whitneyinchicago, @joefoodie, VirtualErn, Travis Isaacs, bordecia34, Pen Waggener, Amy Loves Yah/ Flickr


Written by Emily Abbate for CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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