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Ten Holiday Foods That Will Ruin Your Diet


Updated March 25, 2014

Every holiday season brings all the parties, delicious foods, beverages and treats. It's fun at first, but as the season wears on, you might find that your pants are too tight -- you're bloated and you've gained a couple of pounds. You could avoid the holiday parties altogether, but that would be sad and boring, so why not just avoid all or some of the worst offenders? Not sure what they are? Here's my list of the ten worst holiday foods.


Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

Yes, it’s rich and thick and creamy and delicious. That’s because it’s high in fat and calories. Plus you get extra calories if you add a little rum or bourbon. One cup has 225 calories and more than 10 grams of fat and lots of it is saturated fat. It also has more than 20 grams of sugar.

Pecan Pie

pecan pie
Veronica Moore

This dessert is mind-numbingly decadent. Sure, pecans are good for you, but not when they’re swaddled in sugar and fat. Each piece of pecan pie has more than 500 calories — that’s before you slap a scoop of ice cream on the side. It also has 27 grams of fat and 63 grams of carbohydrates, most of which are sugar.


holiday dressing
Maren Caruso/Getting Images

Two things with stuffing. One, if it’s cooked inside the bird, you run the risk of coming down with a food borne illness if it’s not prepared by the hands of an expert. And two, more calories and lots of sodium. One cup of stuffing has at least 350 calories and about 500 milligrams sodium.


ham on a cutting board
Annabelle Breakey/Getty Images

Ham is high in sodium and it might be one reason why you wake up with puffy eyes and feel like you’re dying of thirst. One 3-ounce slice of ham (that’s about the size of a deck of cards, so you’re probably eating more) has more than 1,000 milligrams sodium. 

Sweet Potato Pie

sweet potato pie
Preston Schlebusch/Getty Images

A plain boiled or baked sweet potato is a beautiful thing, but much like the pecans, when you dress it up with all the sugar and fat, it loses a lot of its goodness. One slice of sweet potato pie has 340 calories, 17 grams of fat and 25 grams of sugar. Compare that to one full baked sweet potato has about 80 calories.


gravy in a gravy boat
Robyn Mackensie

Once the turkey is well and truly cooked, it’s time to scrape the pan and drain the juices and use it to create the gravy. Which you’ll probably pour over your potatoes, your stuffing and your turkey. The thing is, gravy is high in fat and calories (about 125 per cup). 

Cheesy Casserole

cheesy casserole
Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

Usually this means a green bean casserole, but anything that involves cheese and cream of anything soup fits this description. Typically, one cup of a cheesy casserole has about 350 calories per cup, 16 grams of fat and 1,200 milligrams sodium.

Boozy Beverages

whiskey in a glass with ice
Chris Panteli

One shot of hard liquor has about 60 calories and the sweet liqueurs have even more. When you down a few cocktails, you’ll take in a lot of calories. And, possibly you’ll have a hang-over the next day. 

Spinach Dip

spinach dip and chip
Stok-Yard Studio/Getty Images

Here’s another superfood gone bad. Spinach is good for you because it’s low in calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, when you combine it with sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese, it loses it’s nutritious luster and gains about 120 calories per two-tablespoon serving. Plus, the chips you’re using to dip into that dip are probably high in calories, fat and sodium too.

Prime Rib

prime rib
Greg Nicholas

Here’s an old school cut of meat. It’s delicious — all covered in au jus, with that crispy fat around the edge. But it’s so high in fat that one piece of prime rib can run up to 600 to 700 calories. Plus the au jus is packed with sodium. 

Have a Healthy Holiday


Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26." Accessed November 26, 2013. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/​

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