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The holidays bring festivities and that means bountiful food and drink! Eat, drink, and be merry, but don't sacrifice your waistline for three months of feasting. Follow these guidelines for avoiding holiday heft.

The holidays always feel like a good time to splurge on food and drink since we are in good company and have much to be thankful for. We celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year with delightful foods and beverages back-to-back, and during the fall season of celebration we tend to pack on the pounds.

Statistically speaking, the average American only puts on one pound over the holidays even though it may feel like 5 or more. The real problem is that the one pound is never lost, and the years fly by allowing those pounds to add up. Fifteen to 20 years down the road, your belly starts looking like Santa’s!

Ho, ho, hold up…..

It’s time to get control of yourself over the holidays. Start by understanding what the worst and best holiday foods are, and then practice some portion control!

The Naughty List: Worst Foods

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • I’m going to be the first to say that my mom makes THE BEST sweet potato casserole. It’s the southern staple of holiday foods. However, it’s loaded with brown sugar, white sugar, and drenched in butter! Mom only makes it twice per year, and one taste makes me only want to eat the whole dish myself even though I know I’m destroying my figure. There are no marshmallows on top, but I don’t think that would make a much larger impact. This year, I think I will consider my one serving my dessert because it packs a whopping 300 calories per cup, 10 grams of fat, 49 g of carbs, and 31 grams of sugar. Holy holiday overload!!

Cranberry Sauce

  • The crimson color of cranberry sauce pulls us in. It’s delicious – because of the mad amounts of sugar that it gels in. Stop spreading this over your meals!!! If your granny makes it homemade like mine always did, it could have significantly more calories, sugar, and carbohydrates per serving than the canned variety that packs a 22 gram of sugar punch. Pass on the sauce so that you can enjoy one serving of your favorite dessert.

Stuffing

  • It seems that all the foods that really make the holiday meals are the worst ones for our health. Stuffing, for example, is one of the hallmark dishes that is the worst for you. It’s extremely high in calories, fat and carbohydrates. Go easy on your serving size!

Eggnog

  • Bring on the belly fat! If your goal is to look like Santa, then drink up. Otherwise, leave the eggnog at the grocery store. Eggnog is made of milk, sugar, cream, and eggs. BAD combo! One cup, measured with a measuring cup not at the rim of you drinking mugs, yields 223 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of fat, and 20 grams of sugar. YIKES! By having a serving, you are drinking in tons of empty calories. Avoid this drink at all cost.

Pecan Pie

  • “Aww…it’s healthy. It has pecans in it.” BRRRT…wrong. There is a sprinkling of pecans, but they come nowhere close to being one of the main ingredients despite the name of the pie. Instead, maybe we should call it sugar pie with pecan sprinkles. Pecan pie is tasty, but it will widen the waistline.

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