6 of the Worst Foods You Can Eat During the Holidays

Even if you have great willpower, the holidays pack a powerful punch. For starters, your favorite guilty pleasures seem to always make an appearance as they stare at you from the buffet table in their holiday cellophane wrapping. Then there’s the pressure to eat and eat and eat. And there is no way you can escape without trying your Great Aunt Karen’s award winning pecan pie.

It’s unlikely that anyone escapes the holidays without a few extra pounds, but it helps to pick and choose what you eat. The holidays are all about high-fat, high-calorie decadence, meaning there are certain foods that you should avoid altogether. Like these ones.

1. Eggnog

Cinnamon spice eggnog

Eggnog packs in so much saturated fat. | iStock.com

This holiday drink is sure to make an appearance this winter season. Eggnog is full of eggs, sugar, cream, and often a splash of bourbon or brandy. One serving contains well over 200 calories, which may be OK in moderation if it weren’t for the high levels of saturated fat and sugar. Adults should consume less than 20 grams of saturated fat a day and your one serving of eggnog doles out 7 grams. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

2. Latkes

Latkes frying in pan

Latkes can be grease bombs. | iStock.com

This Hanukkah treat is deep fried and served with sour cream, making it a holiday treat to avoid. One tiny 2-ounce serving of these seasoned potato pancakes has over 200 calories and 11 grams of fat, according to Good Housekeeping. When you see these as a side dish or snack at the buffet, skip over them for fresher, non-fried options. And you can make a healthier version at home by baking then with just a bit of olive oil. 

3. Pecan pie

Three personal pecan pies

Maybe it should be called sugar pie with pecans. | iStock.com

You may love pecan pie, but to beat the holiday bulge, you’ll need to skip this treat. WebMD says the high density of pecans and sugar hit hard with more than 500 calories a slice. The ingredients are the killer on this dessert, which is made with corn syrup, butter, and sugar. Choose pumpkin or a fruit pie, and go easy on the crust, which is full of butter.

4. Creamy gravy

Gravy on fried dough

Creamy gravy is a diet don’t. | iStock.com

This is an easy item to skip, and your heart will thank you for it. Good Housekeeping explains creamy gravy is made from the fat that drips off the meat, then mixed with butter and whole milk or cream to create a topping that is almost completely composed of fat. This heavy holiday staple is just a topping for meat and potatoes, so it can be skipped over without much notice. Choose darker meat for more flavor and put some cheese or a small pat of butter on your potatoes instead of the overly rich sauce. 

5. Homemade fudge

Chocolate fudge cubes

Homemade fudge doesn’t offer too many nutrients. | iStock.com

It may be your grandma’s specialty but homemade fudge is low on vitamins and minerals and high in fat and calories. One serving gives you almost 200 calories and over 7 grams of fat with not much else. Pack a piece of plain, dark chocolate instead.

6. Caramel popcorn

caramel popcorn in a paper cone

Caramel corn contains a whole lot of sugar. | iStock.com

Everyone loves those popcorn-filled tins that circulate during the holidays, but if there is one flavor to avoid for your health, it’s caramel. A 1-ounce portion of the coated treat contains 122 calories, primarily from fat and sugar. Stick to air-popped versions, which you can season yourself without all that butter.