The upcoming days will prove to be a virtual minefield of diet saboteurs and figure-fatteners, with holiday cheer all around. You'll encounter delicious cheese logs at the staff holiday party and be greeted by the sweet aroma of pumpkin spice at the coffee shop. There's no escaping it.
We're not necessarily saying you need to give up wine, bread, and cheese -- although it certainly wouldn't hurt after eating your body's weight in pumpkin pie over Thanksgiving. But if you don't want to give yourself an early Christmas present (we're talking an extra 5 pounds), then do yourself a favor and at least avoid these calorically-laden food offenders.
Green Bean Casserole
Earlier on HuffPost50:
Do Not Eat: Breakfast Sandwiches
Eggs, meat and cheese on a bun, sounds simple enough, right? If you buy your breakfast sandwiches at a fast food chain like Dunkin' Donuts or McDonalds, the cheese is often processed, and the meat often greasy, which can leave you feeling drowsy and lethargic by lunch. Moreover, according to Dr. Todd Anderson of the <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/hasf-bsi102212.php">Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada</a>, "just one day of eating a fat-laden breakfast sandwich ... and 'your blood vessels become unhappy.'"
Try This Instead: Toast With Almond Butter
Many midlifers neglect to eat well simply because they are always on the go, according to Bonnie Taub-Dix. While it is easy to grab a breakfast sandwich or muffin when in a rush, these items are high in fat and calories. A quick, easy and healthy replacement is toast with almond butter.
Do Not Eat: Chunks Of Cheese
Chunks of cheese often seem like a great addition to a boring salad. However, you will have to add more than just a few pieces to get that savory taste, overtaking the health benefits of eating a salad.
Try This Instead: Shredded Cheese
You can get the consistent taste of cheese throughout your salad while using less when you trade out chunks of cheese for shredded cheese.
Do Not Eat: Cereal Bars
While cereal bars are tasty and low in calories, they are often low in protein, leaving one hungry and de-energized.
Try This Instead: Protein Bar
Protein bars are a quick, easy and convenient way to keep yourself energized and full throughout the day. Bonnie Taub-Dix suggests keeping protein bars in the glove compartment of your car so you can stay healthy, even while on-the-go.
Do Not Eat: Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise contains a high amount of fats and oils, and just one teaspoon can contain about 90 calories (<a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/440204-how-unhealthy-is-mayonnaise/">that's about 4.5 percent of your daily recommended caloric intake!</a>).
Try This Instead: Horseradish Sauce
Horseradish sauce has "the same creamy taste of mayonnaise, hardly any calories," according to Bonnie Taub-Dix. If you're looking to cut extra fat out of your diet, you can use a mayonnaise substitute like horseradish sauce, or dilute mayo with a less fatty condiment, like mustard.
Do Not Eat: White Pasta
Dinner is often our least healthy meal of the day, as many choose to eat out, or whip something together last minute, according to Bonnie Taub-Dix. An easy way to avoid the dangers of dinnertime is by cutting back on white pasta consumption. White pasta lacks fiber, vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, there are healthy, satiating white pasta alternatives.
Try This Instead: Whole Grain Pasta
Whole wheat pasta is much more natural than its white pasta counterpart. It is rich in fiber, which helps control cholesterol and blood sugar, and vitamin B, which helps promote a healthy nervous system and energy <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/281765-what-are-the-benefits-of-whole-grain-pasta/">metabolism</a>.
Do Not Eat: Ice Cream Sundaes
There is no doubt that ice cream sundaes are extremely tasty, but they are also very high in sugar, fat and lack nutrients.
Try This Instead: Yogurt With Warm Fruit
A healthy desert alternative to ice cream is yogurt with warm fruit. Yogurt is high in protein and calcium, which can prevent osteoporosis, while fruit has a great natural sugar taste, and is full of anti-oxidants, vitamin C and fiber.