The countdown is on until the Christmas festivities begin. With the holidays also comes a vast variety of food options. For many people, this means overeating despite the best intentions to keep on track. Believe it or not, Christmas food can be enjoyed without all the extra calories. Read on for some easy swaps when filling up your plate this holiday season.

The chart below highlights a higher calorie, popular Christmas food and a lower calorie option. The last column shows the approximate calorie difference between the two.

Calorie Difference:

1 cup eggnog

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1 cup apple cider

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103 calories

2 mozarella stick

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2 cheese mini quiche

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50 calories

Frosted vanilla cookie

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Gingerbread cookie

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60 calories

3 oz ham

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3 oz white turkey

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37 calories

1 cup mashed potato

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1 cup roasted potato

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129 calories

1 slice pecan pie

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1 slice apple pie

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225 calories

If only one of the above food swaps were made, the calorie difference wouldn’t be very significant. However, with multiple swaps, the calories can add up during the day. If you were to make all these changes, it would reduce the calories consumed by about 600 calories.

However, the calorie content shouldn’t be the main factor when making a food decision. As I’ve mentioned countless times, it’s important to be satisfied with what you eat. If you really want a frosted vanilla cookie, then eat one. If you don’t like gingerbread cookies, then it’s not worth a 60 calorie difference.  You’ll probably end up eating more in the long run because you’ll be less satisfied.

Other methods for reducing the extra calories consumed during the holidays include:

  • Not drinking your calories through juice, pop, alcohol or holiday drinks and opting to only drink calorie free beverages
  • Skipping out on appetizers like mozzarella sticks and sausage rolls that can easily provide a whole meal’s worth of calories
  • Limiting added fat, such as butter, cream, gravy and salad dressings, used at the main meal
  • Requesting a smaller portion of dessert and saying no to the added whip cream or ice cream that are often served alongside cakes and pies

Enjoy your food this holiday season, but also concentrate on socializing and having fun. Making a few small changes will allow you to enjoy Christmas foods, while also keeping on track with your healthy eating goals.


Categories: Megan Kuikman

Megan Kuikman

Hello! I’m Megan Kuikman. I’m a Registered Dietitian with specialized training in sports nutrition. My goal is to help athletes and active individuals achieve a healthy attitude towards health, training, and food. I empower athletes to fuel properly for training in order to restore their health and enhance performance. You can get in touch with me at:


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