The Holiday Treats Are Here: Learn What You’re Up Against!

Gingerbread Cookie
Photo by wrestlingentropy via Flickr

The holidays have arrived. It is time for festivities with family and friends, gift giving and, of course, food. For many people the holiday season is when the gingerbread cookies, candy canes and fruit cakes start coming out of the pantry and the eggnog flows freely. Yummy as we might think these treats are, a lot of us may not be aware how much sugar, saturated fat and calories are packed into them. Moderation is the key with these items if you are trying to lose weight, or just trying not to pack on any extra pounds while staying healthy. But, how can you know what is a reasonable amount of these items to eat, if you don’t know how good or bad for you they might be?

Know what you are eating
A lot of times we are not aware how bad things are for us until someone tells us.  When it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss.  Like G.I. Joe said in those old cartoons, “Knowing is half the battle.”  Once you have the facts, you’re halfway there.  Then it is time to implement what you have learned, right?  Here is some nutritional information on a few traditional holiday items to help you with the first half of the battle.

  1. Eggnog: This holiday beverage is high in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar.  One cup (8 ounces or 237mL) contains 343 calories, 56% of your daily saturated fat, 50% of your daily cholesterol and 24.1 grams of sugar.  This festive drink, although it may taste good, is not a healthy beverage.  So, if you were planning on drinking a lot of eggnog this year, I would rethink that plan if I were you. Keep the amount of this drink you consume low because it is one of the least healthy holiday items you can consume.
  2. Gingerbread Cookies: It is easy to go on a cookie binge when gingerbread cookies are around because it is such a tasty holiday treat and we don’t get them the rest of the year.  But, did you know that one of these cookies can run you up to 60 calories?  If you ate 10 of those, that would be 600 calories.  That’s probably more calories than you were expecting in just one sitting.  So, spend your calories wisely and go easy on the plate of gingerbread cookies that your neighbors or co-workers brought.  Try to limit yourself to 1-2 a day instead of the whole plate.  I know it’s hard.  Those things are tasty!
  3. Candy Canes: These iconic red and white Christmas candies are everywhere during the holidays. They’re seen in window displays, used to decorate Christmas trees and are, of course, eventually eaten.  They are best known as being tasty candies.  But, did you know that each candy cane contains about 45 calories?  While these are less frightening as far as caloric intake goes; if eaten in excess they can still swell your daily calorie intake.  Plus, they can load you up with way too much sugar if you eat them all day.  So, by all means have some of these during the holidays, but keep how many you eat on a given day under control.  It’s amazing how easy it can be to devour a few while doing something else and not realize how many you had until you see the wrappers sitting on the table.
  4. Fruit Cakes: Even though it is the butt of many jokes and might not please everyone’s taste buds, it is an ingrained holiday tradition found in many households.  Fruitcake is a very dense cake, full of dried fruits and nuts.  Sounds healthy, right?  You get fruits and nuts!  Well a moderate slice can also run you over 200 and sometimes even 300 calories.  So, if fruit cake is part of your holiday fun, eat small portions of it this holiday season and savor every bite.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday treats.  But you should consume everything in moderation.  Although these holiday goodies might be very tasty, in excess they start becoming unhealthy.  So forewarned is forearmed.  You now have the knowledge and “Knowing is half the battle!”

Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone.  Be healthy, but don’t deprive yourself completely of the holiday foods you enjoy.

Comments (5)

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  1. Mark says:

    Thank goodness I am not into sweets! Whew! My downfall are the carbs! Great post Talli!

  2. Rosy says:

    Great post, Talli! I do have a 1/2 cup of eggnog at christmas dinner. That goodness, I don’t like Fruit Cake. Ginger cookies, I love, but not around enough to make a difference.

  3. Shawno says:

    I thought all food was magically healthy during the holidays? Oh, well. I don’t eat any of those things, anyway.

  4. Blake says:

    Luckily the other thing on this list I like (a little) are gingerbread cookies. I gotta go easy on the regular cookies though!

  5. […] acceptable and recommended. Rather than depriving yourself of your favorite treats enjoy them in moderation. With deserts I often take one or two bites maximum which is satisfying without destroying my […]

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