By Neda Varbanova, Physique 57’s Food Coach


Between holiday treats, office parties and extended vacations, Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be a time when people see their most unwanted weight gain. As a foodie, I understand that this is hard to avoid, but fortunately staying healthy during this time just requires a little extra awareness. If you maintain a regular exercise schedule (I love doing Physique 57 On-Demand when I’m on vacation and traveling), keep an eye on portion sizes and make sure to fill up on vegetables, you’ll be on the right track. It is also important to keep an eye out for sneaky dishes that may seem healthy, but are actually very high in calories, I’ve listed some of the common culprits below. Try not to overthink it, though! If you’re craving chocolate cake, eat a few bites of chocolate cake and then put it down. It’s much better than depriving yourself and losing control later.


Here are my top 5 foods to avoid during the holidays: 

1. Eggnog


Stay away from the eggnog! While it may scream holiday season, Eggnog can contain up to 300-350 calories and 20 grams of sugar per serving. A serving can also contain approximately 50% of the daily cholesterol value! Instead, try a warming apple cider with cinnamon.

2. Stuffed Potatoes


A baked potato is not always as healthy as it may seem. When prepared in a restaurant or by a caterer, stuffed potatoes are often loaded with high calorie ingredients like sour cream, butter, cheese and bacon. One stuffed potato can contain approximately 310 calories and 8 grams of saturated fat, half of the suggested daily limit. Lighten up your holiday potatoes by making these roasted sweet potato fries instead!

3. Green Bean Casserole


Just because it sounds like vegetables, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many casseroles contain fried onions, cream, and butter which could cause this casserole dish to contain over 750 calories and more than 4,000 milligrams of sodium. Yuck! That’s twice the size of sodium you should consume in a day. Next time you are hosting a gathering, try these green beans with garlic and tomato sauce that are not only lower in calories, but also packed with copper, iron, and protein.

4. Potato Pancakes


Potato pancakes are a favorite holiday dish. Unfortunately, not all are figure-friendly. Most potato pancake recipes include breadcrumbs and flour, and are fried in oil! On average, one pancake has 200 calories and 11 grams of fat, and who can stop just after one? I know I can’t. Instead try these fluffy gluten-free zucchini pancakes.


5. Cranberry Sauce


For many the Holidays wouldn’t be complete without cranberry sauce. But beware! The cranberry sauces you buy from the store are loaded with so much sugar and carbs, you might as well eat a pumpkin pie. One cup of cranberry sauce can contain over 400 calories. Try making your own cranberry sauce at home by boiling fresh cranberries and adding a little bit of stevia or raw honey.


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