Festive foods are fun and delicious, but they can be extremely caloric (bah-humbug!). Making a few easy tweaks to the most fattening fare can help you enjoy your favorite foods without overdoing it.
Check out some of the biggest calorie catastrophes below and slim swaps that can help you keep your weight—and your risk for heart disease—in check.
Calorie Catastrophe: Cheese tray
Slim Swap: Add a few reduced-fat cheeses to your tray and label your choices so guests know which are the lighter options. Serve with whole-grain crackers (for a dose of fiber) and plenty of fruit.
Calorie Catastrophe: Dips
Slim Swap: Substitute nonfat Greek or traditional yogurt for calorie-packed sour cream or mayo in your favorite dip recipes. It gives you the same consistency for significantly fewer calories. And bonus: It offers protein, too. Prefer mayo or sour cream? Opt for light versions.
Calorie Catastrophe: Mashed potatoes
Slim Swap: Replace full-fat dairy with low-fat buttermilk or 1% milk, and melt in just a tablespoon of butter or trans-fat-free spread. Fresh herbs, spices and other enhancers, such as sweet roasted garlic or even smoky hot chipotle peppers, can add flavor. Another trick: “Cut” your potatoes by replacing half the spuds with steamed cauliflower. You’ll get the same creamy consistency and flavor for a fraction of the calories and carbs.
Calorie Catastrophe: Prime rib
Slim Swap: Swap your standard rib roast for a lean beef tenderloin, which has about half the calories and less than a quarter of the fat. Or go for leaner meats, like roast turkey, Cornish game hens or pork tenderloin.
Calorie Catastrophe: Eggnog
Slim Swap: Swap out at least half the heavy cream for evaporated skim milk. (Try my Slim-Style Eggnog.) Have the store-bought stuff? Add some skim milk or soymilk to trim calories, fat and sugar.
Calorie Catastrophe: Pie
Slim Swap: Instantly cut 100 calories from pecan or apple pie by slicing off the outer crust. Simple! Also, skip the ice cream and go a la cream instead: Opting for a spray of aerated whipped cream instead of ice cream can save you another 130 calories.