Quiz: Which Holiday Treats Are Naughty vs. Nice?

Healthy eating for the holidays
The holidays are a time for cheer and family get-togethers. They are a time for gift-giving and rejoicing. Unfortunately, they are also a time for parties that feature rich holiday fare like eggnog, sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. But not all treats are created equal. There are actually some savory and sweet treats that aren't laden with fat and calories. Test your holiday health savvy with these five questions and you just might learn something to help you avoid that holiday bulge.

1. While perusing the buffet table, which appetizing appetizer should you avoid because it has the most calories?

a.    Pigs in blankets (5, with mustard)
b.    Potato latkes with sour cream (3 fried latkes, each with 1 large Tbsp. sour cream)
c.    Crudités with artichoke dip (1/2 cup dip with vegetables)
d.    Shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce (1/4 lb. of shrimp with ¼ cup of cocktail sauce)

2. It’s time to ring in the New Year! Which beverage should you toast with if you want to the one with the fewest calories?

a.    A glass of red or white wine
b.    A bottle of beer
c.    A flute of champagne
d.    A margarita

3. Dinner time! Which is the best main dish to indulge in without guilt?

a.    Dark meat turkey
b.    White meat turkey
c.    Prime rib
d.    Eggplant parmesan

4. Mmmm … what is better than sweet potato casserole and homemade stuffing? You tell me: Which side dish is the healthiest choice?

a.    Cranberry sauce
b.    Candied sweet potatoes (with marshmallows, of course!)
c.    Stuffing
d.    Green bean casserole

5. Dessert is just too plentiful, tempting and delicious to turn down at this time of year — and you don’t have to! Guess which one of these sweet treats is lowest in calories.

a. Pumpkin pie
b. Pecan pie
c. Apple pie
d. Brownies


1. Believe it or not, that 1/2 cup of artichoke dip will set you back a whopping 600 calories, making those veggies sort of like sheep in wolves' clothing. The latkes with sour cream aren't much better at 410 calories. (Better options: Dip your veggies in hummus and top your latkes with applesauce or mustard. Get more healthy substitution ideas here.) And don’t pop too many little pigs in blankets in your mouth, because they go down fast and add up — at 310 calories per serving. At a mere 174 calories per serving, shrimp cocktail is shrimpy on calories but jumbo on taste. Another reason shrimp are a healthy choice: You can eat them slowly (or should eat them slowly).

2. A 4-oz. serving of bubbly at 90 calories is your best choice, not only because it has the lowest calories per standard serving, but because it’s the only time of year you'll probably be offered champagne at a party! Give yourself permission to indulge a little in the special treats offered during this time of year. You can have a 100-calorie 5-oz. glass of wine or a 150-calorie beer any ol' time of year. Margaritas, at 250 calories, and mixed drinks in general are the worst option because of their high sugar and calorie count. "Drink responsibly" has a health message, too.

3. At 150 calories per 4-oz. serving and 1 gram of fat, not only is turkey breast (without skin) your best bet at holiday dinners, it’s a healthy meat choice all year round. The same amount of dark meat with a little skin has about 250 calories and 13 grams of fat. Prime rib is high in calories at about 425 calories per serving, but if you’re a meat and potatoes type of gal it’s okay to indulge — just keep your portion small. Eggplant parmesan at about 300 calories per serving is a good choice for vegetarians — but, again, be sure to watch your portion size. Regardless, go easy on the gravy and sauces.

4. "Casserole" is almost always a caution word ... One cup of green bean casserole has about 175 calories, while a serving of cranberry sauce is 210 calories. Sweet potatoes on their own are a very healthy treat (with a lower glycemic index than white potatoes), but with the brown sugar and butter that usually goes into them this time of year, a serving of candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows packs a whopping 400 calories. And while it will be tough to pass up stuffing, remember that it averages around 340 calories a cup.

5. A slice of pumpkin pie is not only a delicious seasonal favorite, but also the lowest-calorie option at 320 calories. Apple pie, which can be found all year round, has about 420 calories a slice and pecan pie (my favorite) is 420 calories. Chocoholic? A 4-oz. brownie contains about 480 calories. Regardless of which one you choose, choose just one.

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