Holiday Dining Tips

Did you know that the average person gains 6 - 8 pounds from Thanksgiving Day to the day after New Year's? To help put a stop to this weight gain, we need to be aware of how fast the calories can add up. Take a look at the calories of some common holiday foods:

1 oz. cheddar cheese---115 calories---9 grams of fat

3.5 oz. dark meat turkey with skin---215 calories---11 grams of fat

3.5 oz. white meat turkey with skin---190 calories---8 grams of fat

½ cup stuffing---220 calories---13 grams of fat

1 cup candied sweet potatoes---300 calories---6 grams of fat

1 cup mashed potatoes---225 calories---8 grams of fat

¼ cup turkey gravy---30 calories---2 grams of fat

½ cup cranberry sauce---200 calories---0 grams of fat

1/16 loaf pumpkin bread (with nuts)---155 calories---9 grams of fat

1/8 pecan pie---575 calories---25 grams of fat

1 Tbsp. butter---100 calories---11 grams of fat

1 hard roll---115 calories---1 gram of fat

1 cup eggnog---330 calories---18 grams of fat

1 oz. chocolate fudge---112 calories---3 grams of fat

Consuming these foods during one day's festivities is not uncommon for many people, the result of which is more than 3500 calories or 1 pound!

"You don't have to feel guilty about eating some of the foods that have become holiday tradition for you and your family," says CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital Heart Smart Dietitian, Kristie Evans.  "By making some simple changes, you can enjoy your favorite holiday foods without putting on those extra pounds."

Evans offers the following advice for cutting fat and calories during the holidays:

  • If you are in charge of any food preparation, make substitutions whenever possible to reduce the fat and calorie content -- and remember this does not mean that you have to give up taste.
  • Take a half portion of everything you love and ignore the rest.
  • Choose white meat turkey and remove the skin.
  • Bake your stuffing outside the turkey; it is lower in calories than stuffing cooked inside the bird.
  • Be sure to include dishes that are low in fat and calories on your holiday table. Steamed vegetables and fresh fruit salads are good choices.
  • Top your desserts with frozen yogurt or fat-free whipped topping instead of ice cream.
  • Eat slowly and sip water between bites. Focus on friends, family, and conversation instead of food.
  • Remember that exercise is a good way to offset the extra calories that you are consuming.

For more healthy holiday eating tips and recipes, log on to