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12 Most Fattening Comfort Foods Of Winter (#9 Has Got to Go!)
Winter weather will quickly be upon us. Holiday over-eating seems to get all the attention, but what about the rest of winter? All those warm, comforting foods that make even the coldest days seem bearable can pack on the pounds quicker than you can imagine.
When serious winter weather strikes, it can be super comforting to wrap up in a blanket, turn on Netflix and scarf down a big bowl of hot, homemade mac and cheese, but eating like this every time a cold snap hits is not going to make you very happy come springtime.
There really are good reasons to keep eating healthy during the winter months. Those bright colored fruits and veggies and healthy fats in fish, avocados, and nuts can help your body deal with the coldest weather, fight seasonal depression, and prevent you from needing a larger wardrobe around Easter.
Which are the absolute worst foods for packing on the pounds that you should avoid this winter? Keep reading! We have made a list of 12 foods you should severely limit your consumption of.
1. Super Creamy Pot Pies
Who doesn’t love those creamy pot pies with the crust on the top and bottom? Many people try to make vegetable pies in hopes of making them healthier, but it’s really the filling and the crust that make these so bad for you. A typical chicken pot pie has 780 calories! Let’s not forget the 47 grams of fat, 17 of which are unhealthy saturated fat! They truly are scrumptious, but why not opt for a roast chicken breast, a whole-wheat roll, and perhaps even a side of clear soup such as chicken noodle?
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2. Tummy-Warming Drinks
Is there anything more heartwarming than flavored lattes, hot chocolate, eggnog, hot toddies, and apple cider? These are super delish, to be sure, but they also pack anywhere from 200 to 450 mostly empty calories you don’t need. Try herbal teas flavored with cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg or hot green tea.
3. Delish Cookies
From pumpkin spice cookies to ginger snaps, shortbread cookies to Christmas cookies, enjoying one cookie occasionally isn’t a real problem. An average 2-ounce cookie only has about 200 calories, more or less, but the danger lies in thinking we can eat just one, especially when there is an assortment of them to choose from. Also, many holiday cookies (like the ones decorated to look like Santa that are the size of a DVD) can have as many as 600 calories! The best option here is to try to split a large cookie into three or four servings, or split a cookie with a friend and then walk away from the cookie table!
4. Scrumptious Pies
No one can resist a mouthwatering winter pie. Although most pies start off pretty good, we turn a peach pie into a disaster with whip cream on top or ice cream on the side. We aren’t suggesting that you skip grandma’s pumpkin pie this Christmas. When it comes to pies, try to avoid most of the crust, get a small piece, and opt for a very small dollop of whipped cream or skip the topping altogether.
5. Warming Chili and Stews
These warm, hearty meals can be a great choice if you make them yourself. Most chilies and stews use tons of sausage or ground beef and tons of cheese. For example, a typical restaurant bowl of chili with cheese runs in the area of 500 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat. You can make your own for about half of those amounts by using lean cuts of meat (or substituting beans for meat), using lots of vegetables, and just a sprinkle of cheese. If you are out and about, believe it or not, Wendy’s makes a pretty good cup of chili with about 220 calories and only 203 grams of saturated fat, providing you skip the cheese and crackers, of course.
6. Comforting Casseroles
These are the old standbys when it comes to quick meals in the winter. Many people like assembling their casserole the night before, then they only need to pop it in the oven for 30 or 45 minutes when they get home. Who doesn’t love a hash brown casserole, topped with a thick layer of hot, gooey cheese? Creamed, au gratin, or scalloped dishes are so tasty, but they are also loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as fried breadcrumbs, sour cream, bacon, cream, and butter, and you are talking some serious calories. That hash brown casserole can have as much as 560 calories and 21 grams of saturated fat! Look online for makeover recipes of your favorite casserole to cut back on calories and fat.
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7. Creamy Soups and Chowders
A big hot bowl of soup is a great way to warm up after you have gotten a chill, and soup can be a really healthy option, if you avoid cream-based soups and chowders. Eat soups that have a clear broth base, such as vegetable, chicken, or beef broth. Load up on the veggies while skimping on the meat, and you have a “souper” healthy meal. Avoid cream soups such as cream of chicken, cream of asparagus, or cream of potato. This also goes for clam chowder, which also has its base in a cream sauce.
8. Seriously Satisfying Stuffing
Nothing says Thanksgiving or Christmas like a traditional stuffing. However, if you add butter, sausage, or bacon to that stuffing, you are creating a tasty but very fattening addition to your meal. Make your stuffing minus the cancer-causing processed meats, use lots of vegetables, and go easy on the butter.
9. Dreamy Cheesecake
We all love cheesecake, and having a small slice on a rare occasion won’t kill you, but eating cheesecake, and other treats made from cheesecake, is a recipe for a waistline disaster. Cheesecakes are loaded with artery-clogging saturated fats. One slice of a typical Oreo cookie cheesecake can have as much as 1,000 calories and 34 grams of saturated fat! Don’t forget those other cheesecake treats, such as cheesecake pumpkin spice muffins or those miniature cherry cheesecake pies your co-worker made for everyone. They may not have as many calories or fat, but eating them regularly will still pile on the pounds. Opt for low-fat ice cream for a tiny 150 calories or suck on a peppermint stick for a mere 25 calories.
10. Spicy Pumpkin Flavored Desserts
This starts as early as September: all those pumpkin spice flavored lattes, eggnogs, cookies, pies, and you name it. Pumpkin, in and of itself, is a great choice! However, we often turn a healthy pumpkin into unhealthy goodies such as pies, cakes, and cookies. Pumpkin custard or muffins are usually a much better option.
11. Marvelous Macaroni and Cheese
This is a staple for many kids, not to mention a guilty pleasure for most adults. Unfortunately, one cup, just 8 tiny ounces (most of us eat much more) can have as much as 400 calories. Try eating just 4 ounces as a side rather than making this your entire meal.
12. Perfect Mashed Potatoes
No winter meal seems complete without mashed potatoes, does it? However, if your favorite recipe calls for heavy cream, whole milk, or sour cream to bump up the flavor, you should find a new recipe. Mashed potatoes can be super tasty without all the fattening creams or dairy products. Try substituting mashed sweet potatoes instead!
With a bit of online research, you can find recipe substitutes so you can still enjoy your favorite comfort foods and not need a larger sized bathing suit this spring.