11/13/2014 06:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Calculate the Holiday Season's Extra Calories


According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat, from snacking and from a traditional holiday dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. And these figures don't include breakfast or the late evening munching on leftovers!

Every American holiday revolves around food. Thanksgiving is the food event of the year and the kickoff to the holiday eating season. Do you think there is a need to consume 4,500 calories in one day? Only you have that answer.

Before you consider your menu for Thanksgiving, reflect on what the day signifies to you. Think about the memories you have of past Thanksgivings, and people who are no longer with you. Appreciate everything you are thankful for, and the loved ones you will share your holiday with. Plan your menu with these thoughts in the forefront and consider how you'd like to feel after the holiday.

Within a month there will be festive parties to attend and more holidays to consume another 4,500 calories. December is the month people gain the most weight. As the last month of the year unfolds, make smart eating choices and you'll find more energy to accomplish all the extra holiday activities.

It is in your best interest on Thanksgiving, and at each holiday or party to follow, to calculate the extra calories and make educated choices.

  • People tend to drink more alcohol during the holiday season. Alcoholic beverages carry a calorie count anywhere from 120 calories to 300 calories. Alcohol also reduces your resistance to temptation and may cause you to eat items mindlessly or indulge in another drink, adding to your calorie intake.
  • One cup of cider will be about 120 calories while one cup of eggnog is approximately 350 calories. Again, the key word here is "one."
  • One half cup of mixed nuts is about 400 calories. One ounce of potato chips and a tablespoon of dip will give you 200 calories, and when was the last time you stopped at one ounce of chips?
  • While appetizers are being served, picture the item on a paper napkin. Consider the size of a stain the item would leave if placed on the napkin. If the stain would be larger than the item, it's full of grease or fat and there is no telling how many calories you'll be consuming.
  • Is there room for dessert? You'll be consuming an average of 400 to 800 calories for one slice of your favorite dessert.

These are just some of the foods where calories add quickly.

There is still the dinner, and I refer you to my "8 Holiday Eating Survival Tips" where I suggest you rate all food being served from 1 to 10, with 10 being your favorite. Choose only what you would rate an 8, 9, or 10 and leave out what you rate lower.

You are bound to eat more on holidays and party days than you would eat normally; this is your holiday eating. Pay attention, calories add up quickly. Knowledge is power, and armed with this knowledge, you can make smarter choices.

Less eating takes place with more conversation. Converse, move, enjoy, and celebrate!