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6 Party Foods to Avoid This Holiday Season

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/10/2009 11:25 AM   :  118 comments   :  14,986 Views

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Last weekend, my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful evening with many of his co-workers and their guests at their company holiday party. As drinks were enjoyed and the conversation flowed, friendly people roamed around serving appetizers. The most interesting appetizer we tried was the shrimp topped grits cake.

When it was time for the main course, we had our choice of two wonderfully prepared tables, one focusing on vegetarian pastas and the other which included meat entrées. Luckily, none of the worst holiday foods on this list were offered and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, great conversation and exciting entertainment thanks to the Rock Band set up in one of the dining areas.

Which foods should you watch out for and limit at your party events this season?

According to Health.com, here are 6 of the worst holiday foods to watch for this party season.

  • Swedish meatballs - These savory and creamy balls of ground beef show up in many heating trays or crock pots this time of year. Many see them as a good choice to control portion sizes. However, the creamy sauce should be a give away to the nutrition conscious that they are probably something that is best to limit to a serving size of one. If you want a more nutrition conscious portion controlled meat selection, look for the shrimp cocktail instead.

  • Eggnog - This rich, smooth, creamy drink is very calorie rich although delicious. With ingredients such as sugar, eggs, whipping cream and bourbon, there is very little nutrition for the calories and fat you are consuming. There certainly are ways to trim some of those fat and calories with lower calorie recipe options, however, if you are at a party, more than likely that is not the eggnog that is being served. Selecting club soda or spiced cider instead of eggnog, you will not only reduce your risk of food borne illness from contaminated raw eggs, but also limit your fat and calorie consumption, which will save room for the veggie tray.

  • Creamed vegetables - One of my favorite appetizers is Spinach and Artichoke dip and I have a hard time only enjoying a taste when it appears on the party buffet table. Creamed spinach or corn as well as cheesy broccoli or cauliflower take normally healthy and nutrient rich options and transform them into a tempting side dish full of saturated fat and calories. The veggie tray is obviously a much healthier choice. If you still want to enjoy a taste of the creamy option, finding a way to focus on the healthy fresh fruits and veggies with a taste of the creamy option as a dip is always a great choice.

  • Pot roast - No, say it isn't true, not the roast beast! Yep, unfortunately when we enjoy the meat nicely cut for us by the server in the tall white hat, many times we are selecting one of the fattier beef options. Of course, we accept the gravy when offered and walk away with an entrée with at least 7 grams of saturated fat and something that is not very heart friendly. The white meat of turkey or chicken would be a better meat selection if available as well as baked or broiled fish as long as it isn't roasted in butter.

  • Fruitcake - We probably have all heard a fruit cake joke or two over the years but regardless of the jokes, fruitcake remains a holiday favorite at many seasonal parties and gatherings. While the sweet treat does contain fruit, it isn't without loads of butter and sugar as well. Due to fruitcakes density, it is much more of a dessert than bread. Of course selecting fresh fruit is the best option as a nutrient rich, lower calorie alternative. If you were thinking about this cake or bread as a sweet treat for dessert, you would do just as well to select a small slice of pumpkin pie or a sugar cookie.

  • Pecan pie - Another of my holiday favorites. Many nuts provide healthy fats along with filling protein but when you add them to sugar, butter, and corn syrup, you get a high calorie dessert. Many delicious pecan pie recipes provide you with a slice that contains more than 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. When enjoyed at the end of your meal, it can totally ruin all your smart choices you made throughout the evening. A handful of mixed nuts would be a better protein choice and if it is sweets you desire, a slice of pumpkin pie provides about half the calories and fat of pecan pie and would be your better pie choice when available.


What party foods will you be watching out for and limiting at your gatherings this season?


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Comments

  • 118
    I know I couldn't Christmas dinner with my nearest relatives on Christmas - so we scheduled it for today. My uncle makes this Sweet Potato Supreme with the brown sugar, pecans and then a Broccoli, cheese, bacon salad, and then mashed potatoes, Hawaiian Sweet bread rolls, butter, gravy, cranberry sauce, TURKEY, dressing and we even had wine (a blush niagra), apple pie with ice cream. So now it is time to restart or as someone else put it REBOOT! - 1/1/2010   9:28:58 PM
  • 117
    Oh, poor pecan pie. So wonderful yet so hated by the diet police.... - 12/25/2009   8:31:02 PM
  • BARBIEGURLYGIRL
    116
    Good thing I don't like and/or tried any of these Holiday treats :) - 12/21/2009   2:55:21 AM
  • 115
    Five of them I have no problem avoiding – especially the fruit cake. The sixth one (egg nog straight up), I absolutely love, so I haven't bought any yet. - 12/20/2009   6:32:20 PM
  • 114
    I'm with STRAWBERRY*MOON (Comment 109)... It's about moderation and limiting certain types of foods, not demonizing them. By saying avoid (in small print "limit") it's like perpetuating the idea of good vs. bad foods. Instead it's learning to incorporate "special occasion" foods into our broader, overall healthy lifestyle and make it a choice instead of out and out avoidance.

    I for one enjoyed the heck out of the homemade egg nog & schnitzel last night with friends and was back to my normal way of eating this morning. No guilt, only the warm fuzzy of time spent with friends. - 12/20/2009   3:27:49 PM
  • JETT356
    113
    I use "Cooking Light" magazine for all my recipes, though even still I cut down the sugar and substitute applesauce for butter, so I feel fairly virtuous as long as I can control my portion size--that's the hardest part for me. - 12/17/2009   2:00:41 PM
  • 112
    Cookies are the worst for me- I've been known to eat 10 cookies on Christmas Eve. Actually I'd rather eat cookies than any other party food. And Pecan pie! Well, this is Texas, there's no way we're giving that up. Better just once a year then :) - 12/17/2009   11:19:58 AM
  • 111
    I was worried about cookies and the swedish meatballs, actually. I really want to make cookies (I have an old family recipe for nut tossies... mmm)!!! I am going to make swedish meatballs for a new year's eve party, but I think that maybe by using ground turkey they will be better. - 12/17/2009   8:28:54 AM
  • 110
    Fortunately, I don't eat many of the things you listed, and I am not very fond of red meat, so I eat it sparingly. My downfall is, and always has been, chocolate. I'll be avoiding chocolate, because once I start eating it, I lose control. I can't just have one.

    I've just made it through too days of office parties. I'm happy to report that I stuck to the fresh fruit and vegetable platters, and I didn't even touch the dip. My deal with myself was that I could have some treats if I ate a whole plate of fruits and vegetables first. I did and had no appetite left for the sweets. Yeah! - 12/16/2009   11:33:57 PM
  • STRAWBERRY*MOON
    109
    My observation is that Spark isn't about demonizing food. For me what's it about is paying attention to what you eat, balancing your diet, and having "treats" (whatever that means to you) less often and in smaller quantities. So I go to a party and have Swedish meatballs and a bit of eggnog (neither of which is among my top favorites but let's use them for examples) then I just move on the next day, sliding easily into the everyday way of eating I've chosen. To me, that's control; that's being in charge; that's enjoying life. - 12/16/2009   9:51:04 PM
  • 108
    I am gonna try Rachel Ray's dip that uses ricotta and garlic, and other herbs in it; but you know, I always have to portion out no matter what, cause snackin' can get a way with me. :) - 12/16/2009   12:47:14 PM
  • LADY_SHERRA
    107
    OH MY! Where do I begin? Fresh out of the oven Yeast Roll with butter; freshly baked Cinnamon Buns with icing are the two I must resist at all cost this season. It is a little too late for the Christmas fudge..I made a couple of batches this week and they turned out delicious. To keep from over indulging, I have given a good portion of these goodies to my friends. There are still some left, so I am going through the next few weeks with caution and not take a fudge sabbatical. - 12/16/2009   12:45:09 PM
  • 106
    Oh, the best pie in the world- pecan is on the list. Actually I knew it had to be on the list. Will not make any here at home but might be tempted with a SLIVER if it is offered elsewhere. - 12/16/2009   8:47:08 AM
  • 105
    They are going to be serving barbecued chicken and cheesy potato hashbrowns. Lord, help me. I will have to choose a chicken breast, take off the skin, and I should avoid the cheesy potatoes, but they are so good. I will not deprive myself, but no more than 1/2 cup serving. - 12/16/2009   7:01:23 AM
  • 104
    Anything with peanut butter, hot buttered rolls and pecan pie! Those are the ones that get me! - 12/14/2009   1:33:43 PM
  • 103
    my issues are fudge and peanut brittle. For me peanut brittle is a food group all it's own. So I try to stay clear of both of those. I just can't seem to leave them alone. I made both to give away as gifts and it wasn't easy to not sample some. - 12/14/2009   8:45:09 AM
  • CHARGEDBOLT
    102
    Unfortunately I don't know most of the entries, being Italian.
    I had to read Wikipedia to know what an eggnog is, for instance, and I am not familiar with creamed vegetables also. For sure I know a lot of things I should avoid, and for me such a food is chocolate, or panettone, or torrone, a typical dessert made with nuts and sugar, also a disaster for tooth.
    What a pity for the pot roast..... ;0(
    - 12/14/2009   5:40:29 AM
  • NURSERAY1
    101
    Even though

    I don't eat most of these things on the list I do like them,except for the fruit cake. - 12/14/2009   1:53:51 AM
  • 100
    I love pecan pie and know that I have to avoid it since it is really high in calories and fat. I am committed to not eating any of these things since I know the outcome. - 12/13/2009   10:54:17 PM
  • KARINDAB
    99
    I'll add my dad's homemade chex mix to that list...too much butter and tons of nuts. - 12/13/2009   9:51:51 PM
  • JAY75REY
    98
    Tamales. They are delicious and a part of my Christmas tradition. When we make them, we make LOTS of them, then I eat lots of them! I'm going to buy some instead of making them, and only buy a dozen for me and my husband, and when they're gone, they're GONE!
    I also LOVE cookies so Christmas is challenging since so many people bring homemade cookies to work.
    I'm just working to keep up my exercising during the holidays, and my goal is to gain no more than 3 lbs if I gain at all. This is realistic. I'm going to work hard to make this a reasonable holiday season, food-wise. - 12/13/2009   8:04:36 PM
  • 97
    Well the good news is I don't like any of the 6 foods on the list. Well gravy and stuffing are the two things I need to watch out for. Well, I guess cookies too. I do have a sweet tooth. - 12/13/2009   5:38:39 PM
  • 96
    gravy invites extra potatoes, stuffing, meat etc. to join it on my plate - 12/13/2009   2:42:00 PM
  • 95
    Oh, thank goodness! I don't like anything on this list of 7 items! Of course, I know there are other things to avoid too, but at least one of my own top 7 aren't listed! - 12/13/2009   2:31:13 PM
  • 94
    Mookball i do the same .. and i love pot roast and roast beef i know that prime rib is bad i have that once a year for new years eve.. My dad b-day .. - 12/13/2009   1:46:41 PM
  • 93
    Luckily for me, the only one of the listed foods I really like is pot roast, which we only have a couple of times a year. Unfortunately, I like lots of fattening foods not on this list. - 12/13/2009   11:35:34 AM
  • 92
    I've found that,for me, avoiding a food I like is impossible but if I can select a healthy alternative I do much better. If I can scan the food choices in advance my decision making is easier than just getting in a buffet line and going insane. - 12/13/2009   10:33:57 AM
  • 91
    So glad to see that latkes were not on this list! Seriously, the comment about pecan pie wiping out all the good choices made earlier really resonated. - 12/13/2009   10:00:20 AM
  • 90
    Big difference in eating about 1/2 of a Costco sized (12-14 inches) Pecan pie over the holiday season and allowing yourself one or two small pieces that you can budget in or be aware of. Sure there are things to avoid in an overall healthy balance, but pure abstinence seems to just lead people into being miserable. No one likes that person at the party that is so hard up on themselves that they almost break out into preaching about how bad something is for you and why it shouldn't even be available.

    Moderation in many cultures is the norm. I get really tired of this all or nothing mentality that seems to underlie the prudential American response to solution finding.

    Learning to adapt means sometimes you will fail. Cannot handle that other 2/3 of the pecan sitting around after the event? Throw it out or send it to an office or other residence where it will be appreciated. You *can* have your cake and eat it too! Just not the whole darn thing!

    Also, most people dont have battles with making these foods the norm in their diet the other 51 weeks out of the year. Making healthier choices during those weeks makes overindulgence during the 1 week or so much more difficult. You'd be surprised at how much more tempting that fresh fruit tray becomes over the cheese and meat one as you make it part of your life.

    Be strong but dont beat yourself up over foods during a holiday feast with family to the point where you become "that person." :)
    - 12/13/2009   2:15:24 AM
  • 89
    I made it through Thanksgiving and stayed more than 200 calories below my "allowance". I did it by "thinking small".

    While some around me piled their plates to overflowing, I went for small portions. Because Thanksgiving at our house is always a joint affair (my wife and I take care of the turkey and dressing, my wife bakes both a Pecan Pie and a Pumpkin Pie and other members bring their favorite dish (or dishes). Because of this, there are always multiple choices.

    I weighed everything (my family is used to my quirks) and I had one of everything - except the fresh yeast rolls my wife surprised us with this year. I had three of those.

    My breakfast was cut by about 50 calories, and at dinnertime I was still too stuffed to really eat, I forced myself to have some more turkey and crudites.

    That's my plan for Christmas, but I sometimes have to adjust for a couple of days before and after.

    We have a Christmas tradition that no one cooks on Christmas, so we go out Christmas Eve and get barbecue from the #1 Zaget rated barbecue restaurant in the country, Fiorello's Jack Stack in Martin City - just outside Kansas City, MO.

    Would you believe that our small family of 8 gets a gallon of their barbecued beans every Christmas? - 12/13/2009   1:36:27 AM
  • 88
    For me as a southern girl I will be avoiding cheese straws. the recipe calls for 2 pounds of sharp chedder cheese, 1 cup mayo, and 1 cup flour. - 12/13/2009   12:15:31 AM
  • 87
    I will be avoiding pecan pie and fruitcake ... two of my favorites!!! - 12/12/2009   10:05:30 PM
  • 86
    I guess I'm lucky that none of those items are my faves! - 12/12/2009   6:50:25 PM
  • 85
    As I've said before, I'm older & will not cut out anything I like to eat! I will however eat things in moderation. I'm to be a guest at a party next week & will be taking a turtle cheesecake made by a local bakery. Most people at the party will never have had anything like that & I want them to experience at least a small piece of it! And I don't feel guilty at taking it!!! - 12/12/2009   10:13:52 AM
  • 84
    I love pecan pie and usually indulge in a piece at Christmas.. I don't think that one piece a year will totally do me in.
    Most of the other items on the list don't interest me that much. I like beef roast but I make my own pot roast in my crock pot from a shoulder beef roast--one of the leaner cuts of meat.
    Fortunately having retired last year I don't have parties to attend so that cuts the temptation as if I want any of these items I have to make them myself. - 12/12/2009   9:00:10 AM
  • MORGNSGRL
    83
    Um... creamed corn doesn't actually contain cream, or dairy products of any kind...? - 12/12/2009   7:57:38 AM
  • 82
    There are so many holiday foods I love--stuffing and gravy and chocolates and fruitcake and pie and sweet potatoes and trifle and . . . . I will eat it all. In small portions, and only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then I will send all my guests home with packages. And get up the day after Christmas and eat egg whites for breakfast. Feasts are part of the celebration. They are special because they are feasts. It is feasting on non-feast days that got me into trouble. I don't do that anymore. And you know what? Saving feasting for special days makes every bite all the more enjoyable. Because it is special. - 12/12/2009   12:26:21 AM
  • 81
    Unfortunately, one of my biggest weaknesses isn't seasonal ~ I love veggies and dip. - 12/11/2009   9:43:46 PM
  • CRACKERMOM
    80
    This article makes me realize NOT having a single Christmas party to attend is not such a bad thing after all! - 12/11/2009   9:03:59 PM
  • 79
    I have already asked the Chef at our Clubhouse to remove Pecan Pie from the menu - for the health & welfare of all residents in our community! - 12/11/2009   7:54:11 PM
  • 78
    Thanksgiving and Christmas I use as reward days, although Christmas parties other than the family celebration, I limit or exclude all the above mentioned NO NO's. - 12/11/2009   3:37:33 PM
  • 77
    At least Xmas cookies did not make the list!

    LOL - 12/11/2009   3:33:27 PM
  • RDY2LOOSE
    76
    Luckily I don't like most of these foods only the sweedish meatballs, long as I eat in moderation I think I should be fine though it's the holidays splurge a little! :) - 12/11/2009   3:31:56 PM
  • 75
    I don't believe in totally avoiding a food, if it is on my comfort or traditions list. I will definitely decrease the portion size and compensate by eating less of other items I don't care for as much. For example: Pecan Pie... our family favorite and recently departed father's favorite. I will be partaking. I will not have alcohol and other sweets to compensate. Merry Christmas to all! - 12/11/2009   3:01:57 PM
  • 74
    Luckily I have never liked anything on this list! I prefer my veggies plain and don't like the taste of anything else. - 12/11/2009   2:49:48 PM
  • GEODAWG
    73
    I watch the SIZE of things I eat and I know I have to avoid high sugar desserts. That said, I do have a taste (or two) of some. - 12/11/2009   2:10:06 PM
  • 72
    cheesecake, and I will be the one making it. - 12/11/2009   1:45:04 PM
  • 71
    I'm low-carb & I dont worry either.. I'm not interested anymore & even alcohol NOPE!!! - 12/11/2009   1:33:24 PM
  • 70
    I CAN'T LIVE without egg nog at Christmas, my downfall for sure. It is like liquid extra tasty ice cream. I like, but don't need the rest. Pecan pie is good, or even easier, pecan butter tarts, I have to make a major effort to stay away from them. - 12/11/2009   1:26:09 PM
  • 69
    I like to enjoy the good things, just not too much or too often.

    And if something rich isn't one of my absolute, to-die-for, only-at-Christmas favorites, I'll skip it. - 12/11/2009   1:24:22 PM

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