Naughty and Nice Holiday Foods

Some of your favorite holiday foods are actually good for you, if you prepare them right.

By Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Gorging on favorite holiday foods can widen your waistline, but they don't have to spell dietary disaster. In fact, some of your guiltiest pleasures may be good for you.

Putting Holiday Weight Gain in Perspective

At this time of year, you can hardly escape hearing that Americans gain about 5 pounds from the constant celebrating.

True, some people probably pack on that much, or more, with holiday foods. For the rest of us, the weight increase is actually a lot less, however.

That's the conclusion from a New England Journal of Medicine study, which found most people gained about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

But that's no reason to eat with wild abandon during the holidays.

"Putting on a pound or so every year makes a big difference when you never get around to losing it," says Pat Vasconcellos, RD, a Massachusetts-based spokeswoman for The American Dietetic Association.

In a decade's time, the effects of nibbling a few cookies here and there may easily add 10 pounds to your frame.

"The trick is to minimize the damage from holiday foods and have fun at the same time," says Janice Bissex, MS, RD, co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain