Everyone loves delicious holiday dishes. But before you pile up your plate, take our quiz and see if you can identify which of these festive favourites are your best bets – and which you should pass by.
Quiz developed with the advice and expertise of Toronto dietitian Ann Murphy, RD, CDE.
1. Can’t say no to those delicious appetizers? Which of these is your best choice when they pass the hors d’oeuvres?
Here’s why: Shrimp and cocktail sauce are relatively low in calories; only about six calories per medium shrimp and about 15 calories for a level tablespoon of cocktail sauce. Cheese and crackers are much higher in fat and calories: For example, a cubic-inch serving of cheddar cheese is about 69 calories; add a cracker and it jumps to 78 calories or more.
2. Toast the season with which of these holiday beverages?
Here’s why: Egg nog is high in fat and sugar, and runs a whopping 350 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving. In comparison, a serving of apple cider is 125 calories and contains no fat. But if you just love egg nog, look for a low-fat version to enjoy. Skip the rumâ¦and better make it just one!
3. Let’s talk turkey: which of these is your best choice?
Here’s why: It’s not surprising that white meat is lower in fat and calories than dark meat. But more importantly, skip the skin. Skin can bring the fat and calorie count of turkey up by as much as 20 percent.
4. Top your turkey with which of these holiday favourites?
Here’s why: Cranberry sauce is high in sugar, and spoon for spoon, higher in calories than gravy. Traditional cranberry sauce is about 28 calories per tablespoon vs. gravy at about six calories per tablespoon (depending on the thickness). However, since gravy portions tend to be bigger and since gravy is high in saturated fat, it may not be the best choice. A better plan is to make your own low- or no-sugar cranberry sauce, which can be substantially lower in calories.
5. You don’t want to pass up the potatoes, but which of these dishes should you choose?
Here’s why: Sweet potatoes are packed with healthy nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, iron and beta carotene. And the sweet taste means you don’t have to dress it up with butter or cream. A medium-sized sweet potato is less than 100 calories; a ½ cup of mashed potatoes is approximately 120 calories. However, if you absolutely can’t pass up the mashed potatoes, cut back on the calories by using skim milk and less butter.
6. Love stuffing? Can’t enjoy your meal without a dinner roll? Which should you select?
Here’s why: Most traditional turkey stuffings weigh in at around 100 calories for a ½-cup serving. A dinner roll with a pat of butter is about 120 calories. But most stuffing lovers indulge in more than a ½ cup serving. So take a small helping, and fill up your plate with healthy veggies to keep you from going back for seconds.
7. Time for dessert! It’s tough to pass up a delicious slice of pie, but which scores the lowest number of calories?
Here’s why: Pumpkin pie is lower in calories (about 240 calories per slice) than other holiday favourites like homemade apple pie (about 277 calories) or pecan pie (about 452 calories). Cut back even more by taking a half slice – and skip the whipped cream topping!
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