Food Fight! Holiday Desserts
If hosting or attending a holiday party, should you bake gingerbread cookies, or reach for the sugar cookies instead? Should you bake a traditional pumpkin pie, or find a recipe with chocolate mousse? With a little help from some of our dietitians, see which traditional holiday desserts are healthier and which you should avoid completely in these food fights for holiday supremacy.
Round 1: Pumpkin Pie vs. Chocolate Mousse Pie
One of these favorites has more calories and fat than the other, and can take a huge toll on your weight loss this holiday if you aren’t careful.
“Chocolate mousse contains a ton of sugar, which really makes the caloric and fat content very high,” says Carrie Wissemeier, one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “In fact, some versions of chocolate mousse pie can have as much as 452 calories, and over 30 grams of fat.”
Even if you use real cocoa to make your “chocolatey” confection, the benefits of those antioxidants still don’t outweigh the damage a piece of this pie can have on your weight.
By far, pumpkin pie is the better option simply because it contains less sugar, and less “fatty” ingredients. Unlike pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse pie often includes ingredients like heavy whipping cream, which is a calorie and sugar catastrophe on its own.
Without the addition of a whipped topping, pumpkin pie is the clear winner of this food fight with an average of about 283 calories, and 12.1 grams of fat.
Round 2: The Gingerbread Man vs. the Sugar Cookie
Everyone loves to bake cookies during the holidays, and there is no two more popular varieties than gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies.
But, if you are trying to be smarter and wiser about the sweets you eat this holiday, which one should you be baking instead?
“In this food fight, gingerbread cookies are definitely the better choice,” says Carrie. “The average sugar cookie has about twice as many calories as a gingerbread cookie, simply because the ingredients call for twice the butter.”
A quick tip for measuring the caloric count of a cookie? “If something tastes buttery, and has a delicate texture to it, chances are, it’s high in calories,” says Carrie.
Even though the Gingerbread man may be a better option this holiday, his calories are still empty ones so eat with caution. Two cookies are plenty!
Round 3: Candy Canes or Chocolate Kisses?
If you have a sweet tooth for holiday candy this season, one choice may be better than the other when it comes to these two holiday favorites.
“Candy canes are pure sugar with no nutritional value, but when compared to chocolate kisses, they are the better option,” says Carrie.
A candy cane contains about 55 calories with no fat, while a serving of five chocolate kisses contains about 127 calories and seven grams of fat.
The only true benefits of chocolate kisses is if they are made with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate does contain flavonoids, which helps benefit heart health.
Candy canes are still the better option. For an even better option, try organic candy canes. They have very little artificial coloring and dyes, and they are a little healthier alternative.
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