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Enjoy the Holidays, Cut Out the Guilt

Each year the holiday season leads many Americans to put on excess weight. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, indulgent foods are abundant. This holiday season, lessen your odds of putting on those extra pounds by eating in moderation, trying alternatives when possible and staying active.

The following seven foods are at the top of the holiday bad list. When possible avoid these calorie filled treats by trying healthier alternatives and recipe modifications.

1. Cheese Straws: Just one cheese straw can contain up to a third of your daily saturated fat limit. For a healthier option, try snacking on pretzels or popcorn.

2. Pecan Pie: A single slice of pecan pie can contain upwards of 500 calories. Pecans alone are high in calories before the butter and sugar are added. This season enjoy a slice of pumpkin or apple pie instead. Both contain fewer calories and fat. If you can’t resist pecan pie, have a small slice and avoid the crust to cut some of the calories. 

3. Finger Foods: Appetizers at holiday parties are often high in fat and calories. Even though they are bite sized, the calories can add up quickly. One pig-in-a-blanket contains about 6 grams of fat and lots of sodium. To avoid the appetizers on the bad list, enjoy chilled shrimp, vegetables and fresh fruits.

4. Potato Pancakes or Latkes: Before toppings are added, a single pancake contains more than 200 calories and lots of fat. To avoid the extra calories, use modest amounts of egg whites and olive oil.

5. Sweet Potato Casserole and Candied Yams: Sweet potatoes and yams are two of the most nutritious vegetables. However, when butter, marshmallows and sugar are added, much of their nutritional value is outweigh by the extra calories and fat. Try using mini marshmallows in your casserole and less sugar in your candied yams to make these holiday favorites a little healthier.

6. Fruitcake: Despite its name, there is very little that is healthy about fruitcake. A single slice can contain upwards of 400 calories and 10 grams of fat. Alternative recipes containing fresh fruits can cut some of the calories in this holiday favorite.

7. Cookies: Gingerbread and sugar cookies have lots of hidden calories and fat. A single cookie can contain up to 200 calories. To cut back this holiday season, make smaller cookies so you can still enjoy this holiday favorite.

By following these tips and avoiding the foods on the holiday bad list you can still enjoy this special time of year without the extra weight gain.