Holiday Foods to Eat Sparingly

Marie Miguel

By Marie Miguel

The holiday season brings many festive foods, but also a risk of gaining pounds. In a year where it’s hard to keep your body looking its best, it’s important not to fall in the trap of eating or drinking too much. 

This isn’t to say that you can’t have the occasional treat or feast, but be smart about it. Certain foods can be a calorie sinkhole, and we are going to show you some of the worst offenders. 

Alcohol (And Eggnog)

This is the biggest offender during the holidays. There’s always a time to drink and be merry, and alcohol is always there for that. The problem is that many drinks are packed with calories. Many alcohols also come in labels that do not tell you how many calories they have. 

One of the biggest alcoholic offenders has to be eggnog. While it can be consumed without alcohol, many of us like our eggnog hard. Eggnog can be a few hundred calories a serving, and a serving tends to not be too much. 

Control your drinking. Drink low-calorie seltzers, and try some apple cider instead of eggnog. 

Dark Meat Turkey and Turkey (And Other Meats)

White turkey can be a healthy food during the holidays, but the dark side is another person, especially if you like skin. This can be 300 calories, or possibly more, a serving. Make sure to be mindful of that whenever you are eating some turkey. 

Other meats can be a calorie sink, too. Country ham can have hundreds of calories for a measly two ounces a serving. Meanwhile, duck is a meat that is known for having too many calories. 


Dousing your turkey and mash potatoes with gravy may not be the smartest idea. It tends to have a couple hundred calories per serving, and many of us use more than just a single serving. Maybe hold the gravy this time? 

“Healthy” Veggies 

The holidays are known for taking healthy foods and making them not so healthy. A baked potato or sweet potato can be healthy. However, if you cover them with butter, sour cream, cheese, sugar, or other toppings, they are anything but. 

Green bean casserole is another offender, with it being hundreds of calories despite containing greens. Another example is corned doused in butter. 

Cranberry sauce is another example, going for hundreds of calories with lots of healthy sugars. 

Remember, just because you’re eating a veggie, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. 


Pretty much all sweets are a part of this list. Christmas cookies, candy canes, chocolates, pies, the list goes on. Pies are an especially big offender, with some of them having hundreds of calories for a teensy slice. Sweets are always something that you should eat sparingly, but especially during the holidays. 

Having One Feast Isn’t Going to Kill You 

With all that said, if you’ve been eating right all throughout the season and are sticking to your diet, don’t overthink Thanksgiving or Christmas too much. It’s okay to have some sweets or some soul foods this season. Have a glass of eggnog with a slice of pie. As long as you eat right the other days, you probably don’t have to worry too much about what you are eating. 

Why We Eat Too Much 

With all that said, many people have trouble keeping to their diet during the holidays. There are several reasons for this. 

One is out of tradition. It’s just a part of our culture to be festive during this time of year. With many unhealthy foods associated with the holidays, there’s no wonder. Being mindful of what you eat and saving the holiday festivities as a special treat is what you may want to consider.

Another reason is that we tend to be moving around less, which can cause us to be hungrier. During the holidays, it is important for you to stick to your exercise plan. Work out indoors if you have to. 

Finally, another reason why we eat too much this year is because of the wintertime blues. Also known as seasonal affective disorder, this is when we feel depressed when the days grow shorter and the temperature grows colder. One symptom of depression is eating too much. 

Seeking Help 

If you have depression, eating yourself into a food coma will only bring temporary relief. That’s why it’s important to speak to a therapist. This year, it can be a little challenging to speak to a therapist in person, which is why many are turning to online therapy. 

An online therapist will work on your schedule to bring you the best advice possible. For more information, visit By connecting to a therapist who is a good fit for your situation, you will be able to enjoy the holidays better.

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.