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The 5 worst holiday foods you can eat

The holidays wouldn’t be the same without a delicious feast, but avoiding these five foods will help keep you healthy during the holiday season

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christmas

A healthier holiday feast

Holiday cheer has the ability to boost your mood on even the coldest, darkest days of winter. Bright decorations, happy music, the chatter of friends and family-it’s a simple and satisfying way to spend your precious days off.

Having a decadent feast is an important part of the festivities-but that doesn’t mean it has to be an unhealthy one. We talked to Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based dietitian and the author of Leslie Beck’s Healthy Kitchen to get the scoop on which holiday foods to avoid (or limit) to stay healthy during a holiday feast.

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eggnog drinks holiday

Eggnog

This frothy holiday drink may be a symbol of the season for many people, but it’s also packed with cream, sugar and eggs-not exactly a nutritious combination.

“Traditional homemade eggnog is high in cholesterol, high in saturated fat and it’s high in calories,” says Beck. In fact, at 400 calories and 20 grams of fat for just one serving, Beck compares it to eating two glazed doughnuts.

Not only that, but when it’s made at home, it could be a food safety issue. “It’s dangerous to eat foods with raw egg,” says Beck.

For a comforting holiday drink, try this Hot Chili Chocolate instead.

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stuffing dressing

Stuffing

Stuffing is certainly a quintessential holiday food, but it can also be high in fat and calories.

“Usually you use lots of butter and margarine. Then if you’re cooking it inside the turkey, you also get all those drippings from the turkey, so that’s adding to the fat,” says Beck.

Not only that, but it can pose an immediate risk to your health. “There’s a chance you’re at a higher risk for food poisoning if you cook it inside the turkey, so it’s safer to cook your stuffing in a separate dish,” says Beck.

Try this Wild Blueberry Cornbread Stuffing for a healthier alternative.

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Candy cane

Candy canes

It’s not hard to see why candy canes are a much-loved holiday treat-they’re colourful, festive and cute. Unfortunately, they’re also made of sugar and high fructose corn syrup-and offer no nutritional value.

While Beck cautions that they are pure sugar, and also not good for your teeth-she also says “one won’t harm your waistline.”

For the flavor of mint without the sugar, try this Holiday Peppermint Smoothie instead.

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mincemeat pie

Mincemeat pie

Despite the name, this pie isn’t made of meat-but it has a list of ingredients including sugar, butter, shortening and eggs that make it a high calorie dessert option.

“One slice is 477 calories, 18 grams of fat and 12 teaspoons of sugar,” says Beck.

Get the flavor of mincemeat without all the calories, fat and sugar, with these Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

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raw pecan pie

Pecan pie

As the name implies, pecan pie does have a healthy does of pecans-unfortunately, those pecans are about the only ingredient with any nutritional value. The rest of pecan pie is made of sugar, sugar and more sugar-and lots of butter and milk.

“A typical slice of pecan pie will set you back 500 calories, 27 grams of fat and 15 teaspoons worth of sugar,” says Beck. “Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and it’s 650 calories.”

Get your pecan pie fix-minus the refined sugars and flours-with this Raw Pecan Pie that’s made of nuts, coconut, dates and raisins.

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pumpkin pie

Smarter holiday options

It’s not all bad news when it comes to holiday foods. Those who love gingerbread are in luck.

“Gingerbread is great. It’s low fat, a lower-calorie cookie,” says Beck. “Because it’s made with molasses it’s a source of iron as well.”

The quintessential holiday dessert, pumpkin pie, is also a smarter seasonal sweet. “It offers beta carotene, and half your daily value of vitamin A,” says Beck.

Related:
5 healthier holiday treats
Healthy holiday treats to have at your table
8 ways to avoid holiday weight gain