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The Top Holiday Foods That Contribute to Winter Weight Gain

Whenever the yuletide season swings by, most of us end up struggling with excess winter weight. Holidays will not be the same without those golden-roasted poultry, candied treats, creamy goodies and hordes of delectable desserts. Though it's common practice to shun the existence of a diet come winter season, it's still good to know what scrumptious culinary adversaries you face.

What Winter Food Brings

The season of winter is notorious for heavy, creamy, filling types of food. Though they're meant to keep you warm and protect you from the harsh cold, they're also meant to be stored in your love handles to serve as a natural insulation for you. Besides, braving the cold also makes you want to reach for nice, hot meals that make you feel warm and fuzzy. This is why celebratory dishes are not really high up on the healthy menu, and have a tendency to add winter weight. These dishes are coated with sugars, sodium, starch and calories, elements that you've worked so hard to avoid all year round. In winter, your metabolism is also slower and the harsh weather tends to interrupt a fitness regimen, making it easier for those pounds to pile up.

Holiday Calorie Culprits

Though it would be nearly impossible to avoid these types of foods altogether, one way you can avoid putting on winter weight is to say no to seconds. Regulate your intake of these types of foods, and you might be lucky enough to maintain your summer weight.

  • Eggnog – A drink packed with cream, sugar, eggs and alcohol. One serving can be a whopping 350 calories and over 20 grams of fat.  
    The Alternative: Pour skim milk instead of cream, and go easy on the sugar and alcohol. Better yet, pour yourself a glass of red wine. It will also give you that special holiday flush.
  • Cookies – It's so easy to reach for one of grandma's special Christmas cookies. And since there's an abundance of them around this time, it feels like you've been munching on them forever. Each one can set you back by 250 calories.
    The Alternative: Ask grandma to make it sugar-free and to use low-fat ingredients. Or maybe she would like to revert to a healthy oatmeal recipe. Also, try to stop at one cookie.
  • Cheesecakes – These sinful, rich, creamy, delectable desserts are a mainstay on the holiday table. They'll also be a mainstay on your waist if you don't watch it. A slice can contain a staggering 600 calories and 40 grams of fat.  
    The Alternative: Opt for low-fat cheesecakes, or even pumpkin pie would be a slightly better alternative. If your willpower is a little stronger, enjoy a scoop of cheesecake-flavored ice cream instead.
  • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – A fixed side dish all year round, holidays mean more eating, which means reaching for that side dish more often. Mashed potatoes are rich with cream and butter, of which a cup alone is over 230 calories. Top that off with gravy and you might be looking at 350 calories per serving.
    The Alternative: Use low-fat butter and skim milk in making the mashed potatoes, and use less than the recipe calls for. Also, hold the gravy.

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