Try as you might to stick to “just one bite” or “only a sliver” of these holiday favorites, even a tiny morsel of the stuff is packed with fat and calories. Here are 15 holiday foods that are unhealthier than you suspected.
1. Traditional mashed potatoes, 237 calories per cup
You might make these with olive oil and a pinch of black pepper yourself, but if you’re scooping them onto your plate at a buffet or restaurant, mashed potatoes usually come with whole milk and butter.
2. Swedish meatballs, 400 calories per serving
It’s so easy to pop a frozen tray of these in the oven and awe your guests with the aroma. But about 10 ounces of these can contain 400 calories! Remember that they’re made with white bread, heavy cream, butter and high-sodium beef broth.
3. Eggnog, 344 calories per cup
Just one measured cup of this stuff contains around 350 calories and 19 grams of fat, but let’s be honest, you’ll have more than one measly little cup.
4. Pecan pie, 456 calories per slice
If your excuse for eating this pie is because of the pecans that boast healthy fats and fiber, then just buy a bag of roasted pecans. The actual pie filling that is sweet and gelatinous is made with sugar, butter and corn syrup.
5. Spanakopita, 228 per pie
Spanakopita is just one of the many flaky, buttery pastry appetizers that show up at holiday party tables. Things like mushroom pastries and pigs in a blanket are dangerous too. Most things accompanied by this pastry wrap — which is made of basically just butter and flour — is a danger zone.
6. Caramel popcorn, 151 calories per cup
It’s so fun and festive to make this stuff and string it up on your tree, but while you’re stringing, you’re munching too. Look how quickly popcorn fills up a measuring cup—it’s barely a handful. And you most likely eat 6 or 7 handfuls in one sitting.
7. Sugar cookies, 113 calories per cookie
Sugar cookies in every form from reindeer to snowflake are everywhere during the holidays. And they’re each so cute! So you just have to have one shaped like a Christmas tree, one shaped like Santa’s hat, and one shaped like a star. And you just had almost 350 calories.
8. Creamed spinach, 260 calories per serving
In this case you shouldn’t eat your vegetables. To access the spinach, you have to work through cream, butter, cheese and probably a little indigestion. A small side of the stuff from Boston Market contains 260 calories, 189 of which are from fat.
9. Pot roast, 280 calories per serving
There are few smells more nostalgic than post roast, but this is not your average red meat dish. Just a 3-ounce serving of the stuff contains 280 calories. And we’re guessing you’re having at least two servings plus a nibble on the turkey.
10. Fruit cake, 410 calories per slice
No amount of fruit can make a treat this sugary and fatty healthy. While there may be some dried up fruit, there are also many of the same ingredients as pecan pie like corn syrup, butter and sugar.
11. Candied yams, 340 per cup
Candied yams do contain fiber and vitamin rich yams, but they’re coated in sometimes six cups of sugar per tray, not to mention tons of butter. If you’re craving sweetened yams, make yours with olive oil and sprinkles of brown sugar. Sprinkles. It’s sweet enough on its own.
12. Cranberry sauce, 440 calories per cup
Most canned varieties of cranberry sauce are going to list a ¼ cup serving sizes, so it looks like you’re only eating 110 calories. But you know you’re going back to add some to your turkey, and then your potatoes, and then your stuffing…you get the idea. The stuff is loaded with sugar and much more than innocent little cranberries.
13. Prime rib, 570 calories per slice
Prime Rib is often the centerpiece of a gorgeous holiday table, but it comes from the fattiest part of the cow and can add almost 600 calories to your plate. A slice from Omaha Steaks contains 570 calories, 405 of which are from fat.
14. Dark meat turkey, 212 calories per slice
There’s a very sad reason the dark part of the turkey is tastier than the light part: it’s fattier! Around three times as fatty as the white meat, actually. Nobody just puts one slice of turkey on their plate because it looks so lonely. You could consume 400 or 600 calories if you have two or three slices.
15. Green bean casserole, 166 calories per cup
A vegetable deceives us again! A traditional green been casserole with its cream and fried onions can contain 166 calories per cup, 108 of which are from fat. And you know you’re piling gravy on that.