The Worst Foods to Eat at Holiday Parties
Pecan pie aside, here's what's best left on the buffet table and what's just fine to add to your plate.
The Passed-Apps Party
What You Already Know to Avoid
- Pigs in a blanket: Just one can have 100 calories, and we envy your willpower if you can stop at just one.
- Crab cakes: Preparation makes the difference here, and it can range from baked (okay to snack on sparingly) to fried (avoid).
- Fried cheese balls: The name says all you need to know about how nutritious they are.
- Cheese straws: Delicious and addictive. The puff pastry alone can be upwards of 100 calories per straw—plus, the cheese.
But Be Careful With These Too
- Buffalo chicken bites: Buffalo-everything is big right now, so you'll probably see some creative takes on the trend come holiday time. The chicken and hot sauce that make these classic bites "buffalo" are fine—it's the breading and frying that are the problem. Baked versions are a healthier choice. Skip the blue cheese dip either way.
- Potato pancakes: They're high-calorie because they're fried in oil. Same goes for other veggie-fied takes on pancakes, like zucchini fritters.
- Caprese bites: Fresh mozzarella is one of your best cheese options, says Jackie Topol, RD, MS, clinical dietician at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and a culinary nutritionist, because it's lower in fat than other cheeses (just over 6 grams for 1 ounce of whole-milk mozzarella, compared with almost 9.5 grams for the same amount of cheddar) and has a high water content.
- Deviled eggs: Don't be put off by the mayonnaise. "Eggs are high in protein, so half of a deviled egg can help fill you up a bit," says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, MS, founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York.
- Bruschetta: You're unlikely to binge on these bread bites because the crustiness gives you a sense of fullness, says Middleberg. Plus, they're topped with fresh herbs and fresh tomatoes, an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene.
- Sliders: Each one will run you about 110 calories, says Middleberg, but they're heartier than a pig in a blanket so you'll feel more satisfied with just one. A 3-ounce patty will also give you almost 13 percent of your recommended daily intake of iron. Remove the top bun for a lower-calorie open-faced option.