Calories in A Holiday Meal

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Happy Holidays from Diet Bites

How to Trim Your Holiday Calories While Trimming Your Tree

The average holiday dinner contains about 4,000 calories and enough fat to raise the Titanic - and your weight scales.

To compound matters, the traditional holiday meal is filled with gassy objects such as sweet potatoes, turkey, ham, fruit salad, nuts, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and Aunt Freda's homemade baked beans. That's enough gas to blow up the Titanic - and your weight scales.

If we only consumed one extremely-loaded-in-calories-and-fat meal on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day, it wouldn't be so bad. Naughty? Oh yes. Bad? Yes, a teensy bad - but if followed by a few days of 'I'm watching what I eat today to make up for the holiday' - then everything can be brought into balance.

However, most of us are very naughty, and eating one meal on a glorious holiday is just unthinkable. In turn, those 4,000+ calories end up doubling into 8,000 calories for those who enjoy a Titanic Lunch & Dinner.

And we can't forget all those slices of luscious pies and cakes we munch on throughout the day - not to mention, all the rich candies, nuts, cheese balls and cookies. It's enough to make a grown dieter cry. Twice. 

Especially when the calories from our breakfast meal are heaped onto the daily calorie intake. Who can resist homemade cranberry nut bread hot out of the oven on Christmas morning?

But don't panic just yet!  This is how to trim your holiday calories while trimming your tree.

Calories in a Holiday Meal - A Sample of a Traditional Holiday Meal

Here is how to save three-fourth's the calories on the following foods:


Roasted Turkey - 6 Ounces Dark + White Meat, Untrimmed = 450 kcals

Roasted Turkey - 3 Ounces White Meat - Trimmed (no skin, no fat). White meat contains a little less calories than dark.  Add 30 more calories if you prefer dark meat. 130 kcals


1 Cup of homemade stuffing = 400 kcals
1/2 Cup of boxed stuffing prepared with light margarine = 110 kcals

Giblet Gravy

1 Cup of Giblet Gravy = 300 kcals
1/3 Cup of Giblet Gravy = 100 kcals

Mashed Potatoes

1 Cup of homemade Mashed Potatoes prepared with butter and whole milk = 350 kcals
1/2 Cup of Mashed Potatoes prepared with skim milk, light margarine = 100 kcals

Stuffed Celery

1 stick stuffed with cream cheese = 100 kcals
1 Stick of stuffed celery prepared with reduced fat cream cheese = 40 kcals

Relish Tray

2 Sweet Pickles, 10 Black/Green Olives = 125 kcals
2 Black Olives, 2 Green Olives = 25 kcals

Sweet Potatoes

1 Cup of Candied Sweet Potatoes = 400 kcals
1/2 Baked Sweet Potato with a small pat of margarine, dash of cinnamon, a couple of packs of no calorie sweetener = 100 kcals

Cranberry Sauce

1/2 Cup of Cranberry Sauce = 200 kcals
 1/6 Can of Cranberry Sauce - Jelled or Whole Cranberries = 100 kcals

Dinner Rolls

2 Rolls With Butter = 300 kcals
1 Roll With 1/2 Pat of Butter = 125 kcals and even less when using light margarine or reduced fat spreads.

English Peas

1 Cup of English Peas with Butter = 150 kcals
1/2 Cup of English Peas with refrigerated no calorie butter spray = 60 kcals


Holiday Beverages

2 Glasses Sweetened Tea, Wine, Punch or Cider = 300 kcals
Unsweetened Beverages - Unlimited = 0 calories

Fruit-Based Pie

1 Slice of Pumpkin Pie With Topping = 450 kcals
1 Slice of
Autumn Pumpkin Pie - 150 kcals

Nut-Based Pie

1 Slice of Pecan Pie = 650 kcals
1 Cup of Fruit Salad = 100 kcals

Egg Nog

1 Cup of Egg Nog = 400 kcals
1 Cup of
Holiday Egg Nog = 100 kcals

Grand Total of higher calorie selections: 4,575 kcals
Grand Total of lower, healthier calorie selections: 1,240 kcals

WOW!  We trimmed our mega meal down to about 1/4 the original calories!  

Diet Tips for the Holidays

Here are some more tips that will help keep you from tipping the scales this holiday season:

Skip those tempting appetizers.  

Each luscious and sinful bite contains about 100 calories or more a pop!  It's not worth it. Instead, focus on enjoying an entire slice of pie with your holiday meal.

Opt for unsweetened beverages.

Sweeten with no calorie packets.  A lemon or lime will add beauty to your beverage without spiking up the calories.

Speaking of spiking - trot away from the holiday spirits and save a ton of calories (and hiccups to boot!).

Allow the no calorie butter sprays to become your very comfortable crutch!  If you opt for real butter/margarine, try to use sparingly - about one half the amount you usually use.

Cranberry sauce is very high in calories.  It's very deceiving because it's made from fruit (the cranberry).  In fact, the innocent looking cranberry was probably the culprit in the Garden of Eden rather than the good apple.

Pecan pie. "Just say NO."  

It's pure unadulterated sugar!  White sugar, brown sugar, and syrup AND nuts.  So, steer clear if you are watching your waistline.

Leave the cheese balls and the nut dish alone.  Let your skinny Aunt Freda devour at will.  As for the nuts, they contain about 400 calories per cup and are extremely high in fat.

Don't feel obligated to eat anything that you don't want to.  Many times, people innocently concoct a holiday goody that's loaded with so much sugar that it would give an army of bats rotten teeth.  

If you find yourself locked in a situation where you just can't say no, then take the treat and discretely find a method of disposal.  (Don't give kitty or puppy anything containing chocolate.) (Don't flush large objects down the toilet.)

Eat very slowly and savor each and every bite.  It takes about 20 minutes before your stomach registers what your mouth put inside.

Dinner - try to eat very light OR skip entirely.

Although 1,240 calories is nothing to brag about, it's a lot better than 4,575, isn't it? You can cut the calorie/fat content further still by omitting items from your holiday meal. 

For instance, settle for just one dessert or omit either the mashed potato or the sweet potato. Forego the cranberry sauce, or have a small Tablespoon instead.

If you find yourself just wanting to enjoy the day without the stress of dieting, then enjoy! 

Yes, there aren't many diet sites that will tell you that, are there?  This is the tradeoff.....  If you decide to let loose, you MUST get very serious the following day. Plan to gain about 1-3 pounds, depending on how 'ape' you decide to go.  Promise yourself that you'll be very good during the next week by watching your daily food intake, and by exercising every other day (walking at least 1 mile every other day should do).

If you need to lose weight, or if you would simply like to get fit, please plan to hit the weight loss trail with me when the New Year strikes in.

It's very easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and before we know what has happened, we have eaten far too much.

Then we are seized with feelings of guilt, with insecurity, and sometimes with a feeling of hopelessness because we think it's impossible to lose all the unwanted weight.

So please plan to join us at Diet Bites during the coming year. We'll show you how to manage your weight, how to lose unwanted pounds safely, and tricks and tips that really work. Your cost? It's free! You won't find that at a lot of other diet sites, either.

On that note, Happy Holidays - and thank you very much for visiting Diet Bites!

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