Diet Diary: Best and Worst Holiday Foods to Eat or Avoid Before the New Year

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By: Siddiqu The Personal Trainer

It’s that time of the year where everyone is putting on a few extra pounds. It seems the common phrase to use is, “I will lose it once the holidays are over”. Well, why not just skip gaining it all together? It’s a very simple truth that most will overlook, but here is our attempt to give people some foods to eat and some foods to avoid to make it out of this year without being in the red.

Foods to Avoid:

Swedish meatballs – This food seems like it wouldn’t be that bad, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I read that each ball can be at least 400 calories of white bread, butter, heavy cream, and sodium-laden beef broth.

Eggnog – This is actually one of my favorites, but I have to stay away from this drink because of my No Excuse Bootcamp in January. One cup of eggnog has 343 calories, 150 milligrams of cholesterol (half of the USDA’s suggested daily limit), and 21 grams of sugar (almost a day’s worth).

Stuffed potatoes – Baked potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and fiber, but add in cheese, sour cream, and butter, and you’ve negated most of the health benefits. One medium stuffed potato has 316 calories and 8.25 grams of saturated fat.

Creamed spinach – Spinach is healthy, but you are not eating spinach here, you are eating spinach with cream and butter. It’s a side dish with more than 75% of your saturated fat for the day. Boston Market’s creamed spinach side has 280 calories (almost entirely from fat) and 15 grams of saturated fat.

Pecan pie – On their own, pecans are a high-cal nut, but combine them with sugar, butter, and corn syrup, and you’ve got a potentially deadly dessert. A single slice will cost you more than 500 calories, 37 grams of fat, and 26 grams of sugar.

Foods to Eat:

Turkey (white meat) – White meat turkey is a great protein source — unless it’s deep fried and slathered with gravy. A serving of turkey provides almost half of the recommended daily allowance of Folic Acid, and is a good source of Vitamin B, Zinc and Potassium.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. They have got over 400% of your daily needs for Vitamin A in one medium spud, as well as loads of fiber and potassium. An excellent source of Beta-Carotene, a powerful antioxidant, they’re also a good source of Vitamin C.

Cranberries – Over the past five years, scientists have identified an increasing number of mechanisms that help explain the anti-cancer properties of cranberries. An excellent source of free-radical scavenging antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, the berries may help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases like stroke and heart disease. Solid research also backs up their role in preventing urinary tract infections.

Green beans – Instead of coating your green beans with butter and crunchy fried noodles, try green beans steamed and sautéed in olive oil, a bit of garlic, and sliced almonds as a healthy holiday side. Green beans are high in fiber and deliciously low in calories, making them the go-to food to fill up on at the holiday table.

Winter squash – A 100g (3.5oz) serving of winter squash is just 45 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, and it is a rich source of dietary fiber and phytonutrients. Squash is one of the vegetables that is often recommended by dietitians in cholesterol-controlling and weight-reduction programs. Seeds from winter squash make a great snack food, just like pumpkin seeds.

About Author

Siddiqu The Personal Trainer

Siddiqu is an International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA, ACE (American Council of Exercise), NFPT (National Federation of Personal Training) Certified Personal Trainer, IHSA certified coach, as well as a Boxing Fitness Trainer. Siddiqu is a regular guest on You, Me, and the Morning on WCIU and was also featured on R&B Divas Atlanta. A contributor to The Gospel Tribune, Final Call Newspaper, diet.com and many more publications. Siddiqu’s clientele ranges from professional athletes to CEO’s. His educational background includes a B.A. in Marketing from DePaul University, and he is currently pursuing an MBA/MS from Loyola University Chicago.