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A Guide to Holiday Eating

By Jill Feilmeier on December 10, 2013 in Healthy Living


Avoid cavities this holiday season – and stay healthy – by choosing nice alternatives to the naughty sugary offenders. While it's fine to occasionally splurge on your favorite traditional treat, these healthier options will keep your teeth healthy (and your waistline in check).

Eggnog vs. Hot Chocolate
Eggnog has a very high calorie count. With the main ingredients being milk, cream, sugar and eggs, this thick mixture can be pretty harmful for your teeth. A traditional mix has around 22 grams of sugar and 19 grams of fat, making it a very sweet beverage that's sure to add on the calories. Hot chocolate is a lower-calorie alternative that can satisfy your sweet tooth without destroying the rest of your teeth. Minus the marshmallows, this drink is only 15 grams of sugar and less than half the calories of eggnog, giving you a warm treat to cozy up to. Of course, low-fat and sugar-free varieties are also available for both eggnog and hot chocolate.

Meatballs vs. Shrimp
If you have a choice between meatballs and shrimp, definitely opt for the seafood. Meatballs are typically made with fatty cuts of beef or pork, which clog arteries and raises cholesterol. Adding the traditional sugary barbecue sauce to this appetizer makes it a tasty but potentially destructive recipe that will stick to your teeth long after the snack is gone. To avoid the calories and tooth decay, try eating shrimp instead. It's a delicious alternative that's easy to prepare. Shrimp has almost no fat in it and is only 10 calories versus the 85 calorie meatball. Bonus: Shrimp has virtually no sugar, another plus for your teeth. Skip the cocktail sauce to make it extra healthy this holiday season.

Pecan Pie a la Mode vs. Chocolate Fondue
Desserts like pecan pie a la mode will always hold a traditional place at the dinner table, but try some chocolate fondue instead. While pecans are relatively healthy nuts, the pie filling is a syrupy, sugar-packed mixture at 810 calories and 55 grams of sugar per serving. Choose an alternative that will keep your teeth and body healthier this season. Chocolate fondue is a fun substitute that works both as food and entertainment. This dish will satisfy your sweet tooth with 28 grams of sugar – and with half the calories of pecan pie, your body and teeth will thank you. Use fruit for dipping to give this dessert an extra healthy kick, and remember to brush and floss after you eat to maximize the holiday cheer.

If you do decide to splurge, it is important to brush your teeth afterwards to clean your mouth of the sugary stuff. Remember, you can use these healthy alternatives to keep decay away and tip the scales in your favor. Enjoy your holiday season by being smart about what you eat!