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‘Tis the season for Holiday parties!

Everyone enjoys a good holiday party. The kind of gathering with a tabletop full of finger food and perhaps some decadent cocktails where we mingle with friends both old and new! Holiday parties are a great tradition during this season. So FoodFacts.com thought we’d fill you in on how you can enjoy those great gatherings with less guilt by listing a few of the more common offerings in seasonal spreads that would probably be better to avoid.

Chocolate martinis
While specialty cocktails are especially fun during the holidays, a chocolate martini can weigh in at about 300 calories per drink when it includes vodka, chocolate liquor and syrup (which most do). Chocolate liquor can have as many as 103 calories per shot and 11 grams of sugar. Since there are probably other sweet treats you’ll be enjoying during a party, we’d suggest you stay away from the chocolate cocktail. You may want to stick with a glass of white wine. One five ounce glass is just 120 calories, with 1.4g of sugar.

Eggnog
This holiday classic is laden with calories, cholesterol and sugar. About 343 calories per cup, 150 mg of cholesterol and 21g of sugar. There are better ways to spend the calories this season. Perhaps your hosts are offering hard cider – just as festive, but with about 190 calories in 12 ounces, you’ll still be leaving some room for the other goodies gracing the table.

Cheese straws
These can be hard to resist, but to be honest you should try your best to stay away from them. Typically, cheese straws contain only about 160 calories per serving – but that same serving provides one third of your daily limit of saturated fat. That’s a lot for a snack. We’re sure you’ll find chips and salsa at just about any holiday gathering … not to mention pretzels or fresh vegetables and dip. Any of these would be better options.

Swedish meatballs
Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible that one serving (about five bite size pieces) of Swedish meatballs can contain about 400 calories, 47% of your daily allowance of saturated fat, 54% of your daily allowance of cholesterol and over half of your daily allowance of sodium.

We bet there’s some kind of ham on the table – a mini-spiral, perhaps. You can enjoy a serving of ham for 110 calories, about 9g of fat and believe it or not, waaay less sodium than those meatballs.

Spinach and artichoke dip
It’s spinach and artichokes … how can it NOT be good for you???? Sadly, that’s a pretty easy answer – mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese. Just a few tablespoons (enough to fit on just a few chips or crackers) of this rich dip can contain about 200 calories, 17g of fat and 7g of saturated fat. And let’s face it, most of us don’t stop at just a few chips worth of this very tasty dip.

If your host has included deviled eggs as a finger food option, you can easily substitute a few halves for the chips and dips. These will weigh in at about 64 calories per half-egg serving, 7% of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat, and only about 3% of your RDI for sodium.

These are a few ideas to help you navigate your nutritional way through the holiday season. FoodFacts.com knows that most of us will be attending more than a few gatherings through the new year. We all want to enjoy ourselves as much as we can, without overdoing. Go ahead, indulge a little … with a little thought behind our consumption those indulgences won’t hurt us as much as they could. And we won’t have the regrets we might have if we’d paid less attention!

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