Holiday Foods High in Calories
Main Course

Article by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Holiday Foods, Holiday Weight Gain

The next time that you're planning your holiday meal, while you want to present a table filled with tasty foods - some recipes can be excessive in caloric values.

Diet Bites has posted data charts below containing foods that are typically found on the holiday table - or close at hand amid the holiday season.

All excepting the chicken liver are fairly significant in energy values. The chicken liver makes an unhealthy selection due to its hearty cholesterol content.

Cholesterol Milligrams in Chicken & Turkey Liver

One raw chicken liver weighing 44 grams contains 152 milligrams of cholesterol. When simmered OR pan-fried  the values climb to 248 milligrams for a liver weighing 44 grams AFTER cooking.

One raw turkey liver which weighs 78 grams contains 324 milligrams of cholesterol. After simmering it weighs about 53 grams and contains 343 grams.

Both the chicken and turkey liver are commonly part of the giblet gravy in the southern regions of the United States. My father didn't think it was the holidays unless there was giblet gravy on the table.

Roasted Meats, Light in Calories Per Recommended Serving Size

Take note specially to the roasted meat; when consumed in three ounce servings - the damage is minimal. But when one enjoys a whole turkey leg with the skin, they are consuming about 800 kcals.

Cranberry Sauce Soars With Calories, Sugar Grams

While cranberries as a super food in their raw state, when turned into a sauce they require a lot of sugar in order for them to be sweet enough to eat. This results in a significant amount of calories. One small can of cranberry sauce contains about six servings at about 100 calories each. That means the can holds 600 calories.

Calories in a Traditional Holiday Meal

Based on one serving size.

Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, simmered and often used in the giblet gravy; data is based on one liver - and the Vitamin A content as well as the cholesterol values are off the hook. Use sparingly or not at all.  33 kcals

Turkey Gravy = 150 kcals

Stuffing, bread based = 400 kcals

Cranberry sauce, canned, sweetened = 100 kcals per serving with six servings to a can.

Turkey, all classes, giblets, cooked, simmered, some giblet fat = 289 kcals per three ounces.

Roasted Turkey Legs, per 1 that weighs one pound, counting the skin = about 800 calories .

Turkey Thigh, roasted with the skin on - one weighing 314 grams = 500 kcals

Turkey Breast - roasted meat and skin; based on 1 turkey breast weighing 1720 grams = 3,266 calories

Calories in Traditional Holiday Appetizers & Desserts

Holiday appetizer trays are luring because they are so beautifully prepared. All those tiny treats - they are so small that one would think that they wouldn't contain hardly any caloric values, much less fatty acid content.

Sad but so - many do. Some can contain more than the foods offered in the main course or for dessert. The following made our list.

Traditional Holiday Appetizer Foods, Caloric Content



Celery stuffed with cream cheese or pimento cheese - one piece which is generally 1/3 a stalk


Pecan Tassies; these are the smaller versions of pecan pie - and while one is much less in energy values than a slice or wedge of pie - they are still spiffy in caloric content. Based on one tassie.


Croissants wrapped around a tiny sausage. Based on one.


Prosciutto wrapped melon - one serving.


Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno's, deep fat fried - 1


Bacon-wrapped Chicken Tenders - one tender


Twice Baked Potato Skins - one


Crackers can add up quickly - particularly the butter flavored varieties; the data is based on four. Plain melba toast mirrors these energy values.


Chips - from cheese to nacho cheese to tortilla to corn to sour cream potato or bbq potato chips - for one ounce. A good rule of thumb that we've always recommended is that one chip generally contains about 10 kcals.


Dips - such as ranch, Italian, avocado, French, thousand island - all range significantly in caloric values. We'll base the values to the side on regular ranch, commercially prepared - 2 Tablespoons


Holiday desserts tend to be rich and decadent holding excessive amounts of energy and dietary fat values.

Although recipes prepared by the home chef can be modified to produce healthier, lower fat results - often the holidays call for magical memories like the pies and cakes and Grandmother used to make. And anyone who dares to tinker with that recipe may be apt to find coal in their stocking come Christmas morn....

Traditional Holiday Appetizer Foods, Caloric Content



pecan, prepared from recipe - 1 Whole Pie, 6 servings


pumpkin, homemade - per slice


coconut custard, 1 slice from a pie containing 8


plum pudding per 1/2 cup


mincemeat or raisin per slice based on 8-serving pie


apple, commercially prepared, enriched flour - based on a small pie containing 6 servings; 1 slice




chocolate, commercially prepared with chocolate frosting, in-store bakery; one slice of 12 servings


Cheesecake commercially prepared, one very small slice




plum pudding per 1/2 cup


Christmas cookie with frosting - one about 3" round


Holiday Punch to Weight Gain

Holiday punch can be a knockout where flavor is concerned - but it can also put a punch into your healthy weight loss plan.

All depends upon how the punch is prepared - which ingredients were used, the amount of sugar and alcohol, if any. When both sugary ingredients are paired with alcohol, the caloric values spike (pun intended).

Common Holiday Foods & Beverages High in Calories

These include roasted turkey with the skin still on, gravy - whether brown, giblet or country, asparagus covered with cheese sauce, egg nog, pies, cakes, cookies, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

As to the stuffing and cranberry sauce, the later contains 100 calories per small serving. The stuffing can hold as many as 600 calories per cup when prepared in great grandmother's kitchen [where's the big bad wolf when we really need him, eh?]. Other high calorie holiday selections include mixed drinks with an alcohol base - as well as 80% to 100% proof alcohol like whiskey, rum, vodka and gin.

Traditional Holiday Foods & Drinks High in Sugar Gram Content

Cranberry sauce also makes this list along with the egg nog. Pies, cakes and cookies are tremendously rich in sugar grams. Pies to avoid or to eat tiny amounts of include nut pies, cream pies such as coconut cream, and mincemeat or raisin pie. The cakes to limit or that are best avoided include cheesecake, coconut cake, heavily iced versions and carrot cake.

Holiday Foods High in Fat

The nut based pies such as pecan pie are higher in fat grams than fruit based pies. As to cakes, frosting containing cream cheese will serve to add more fat than frosting prepared with light margarine. Butter-based frostings are also quite high in fatty acid content.

Traditional Holiday Beverages, Caloric Content



wine, dessert, sweet - 3.5 fl oz


wine, dessert, dry - 3.5 fl oz


beer, regular, all for 12 fluid ounces (light beer contains 103 kcals for same amount)


daiquiri, prepared-from-recipe - 2 fl oz


Alcoholic beverage, distilled, all (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey) 90 Proof - 1.5 fl oz; 86 Proof reduces values to 105 kcals with 80 Proof at 90 kcals for same amount.




Orange, grape, strawberry flavors, root beer, cream soda, lemon lime varieties

150 - 179

Cola, pepper type varieties




Eggnog - per 1/2 cup


Wassail Bowls, Hot Apple Ciders, Punch per cup



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