Avoiding great tasting holiday food can be difficult. For those with great self-control who can avoid these–we applaud you!  For those who realistically can’t, here are some healthy tips to keep those holiday pounds to a minimum:

1. Sweet potato casserole – Sweet potatoes (alone) pack a nutritional punch, being loaded with vitamin A, along with vitamin C, B6, manganese, potassium and other minerals. But when you pair this super food with tons of marshmallows, butter and sugar it basically offsets their benefits.

If you MUST have:  If you’re cooking, skip the butter, cut the sugar in half and top lightly with mini marshmallows.

2. Stuffing – Traditional stuffing is mainly a combination of white bread, butter, a high-fat meat like sausage and some herbs. A scoop of this can contain upwards of 550 calories!

If you MUST have:  Replace the butter with some chicken broth. Skip the sausage or replace with cherries/raisins or diced chicken breast.  

3. Turkey (poultry) skin – Poultry skin is a minefield of artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising, saturated fats! This also means loads of calories for even a tiny piece.

If you MUST have:  Not worth it, skip the turkey skin–do it for your heart!

4. Pecan pie – Pecans are the fattiest of all nuts. I is healthy fat and better than saturated fat. But in pie formation, pecans are typically drowned in sugar and butter, owing to the more than 500 calories per slice.

If you MUST have: Have a tiny sliver of pie and skip the crust. Or just have a handful of candied pecans to satisfy your sweet tooth.

5. Egg nog – If cake could be a drink, this would be it. Made typically from heavy cream, eggs, sugar and topped with alcohol, a cup of this liquid treat contains around 340 calories.

If you MUST have: Use skim or non-dairy milk milk, egg substitutes and a sugar substitute like stevia to make a low calorie version.  Limit yourself to one glass and then switch to a lower calorie drink or water.

6. Sugary mixed drinks – Juice and soda mixers can easily add over 100 calories per drink on top of the calories from the alcohol (at least 100 calories per 1.5 ounce of vodka or spiced rum).

If you MUST have: Try mixing with soda water and a splash of citrus or a few muddled berries.  Alternate every drink with a glass of water.

Enjoy your holidays with great food and family, but remember moderation is the key, so happy holidays from Cajun Fitness, and always keep fitness first!