Cue music: It’s the moooost wonderful time of the year…
There are twinkling lights, roaring fires, wrapped presents, hanging mistletoe and of course, those once-a-year treats that tempt even the healthiest peeps on the planet. But because we abide by the “everything in moderation” philosophy, we see no need to completely shun the sugar or send the punch packing. In fact, I’ll share the few items that I enjoy with no regrets each and every year.
Archway Cashew Nougat Cookies. These cookies start showing up in the grocery store every year in the weeks following Thanksgiving, and I always buy a pack or two during December. I’m a sucker for the sweet-and-salty combination of the sweet shortbread cookie and the salty cashews. Three little cookies clock in at 160 calories, a perfect nightly treat until the packs are gone.
A beverage or two. I typically don’t drink too many of my calories, but during the holidays I’m a little more liberal with this policy. Whether it’s a little egg nog, beer I can only get in the Midwest, a seasonal coffee on a cold day, or a glass or two of wine, I definitely allow myself a drink splurge here and there. This year I’ll have to bypass the alcohol, but I’ll still enjoy my drink treats. If you like seasonal beverages too, you’ve got options at Starbucks that won’t set you back too far. The 12-ounce Skinny Peppermint Mocha is made with espresso, nonfat milk, sugar-free bittersweet mocha sauce and peppermint syrup, and clocks in at just 100 calories. Totally doable!
Punchbowl cake. My aunt makes a cake each year at Christmas, and I always eat way too much of it—guilt-free. It’s made in a punchbowl (hence the name) and consists of layers of yellow cake, whipped cream, cherry-pie filling, vanilla pudding and nuts. It gets even better after a day or two as the cake softens and flavors blend. So good that calories simply don’t matter.
Mexican food. Mexican food seems like a weird holiday splurge, but for some reason, there is almost no delicious Mexican food near us in New Jersey. And many restaurants are bring-your-own-alcoholic-beverage (really). My hubby and I make sure to always hit up a yummy Mexican restaurant for at least one meal when we’re home for the holidays, and when I’m not pregnant, I get a jumbo super-tasty margarita. Margaritas are a big caloric splurge, but sometimes you just need the real thing (although low-cal margarita substitutes can get you a fix if you drink them often!)
There you have it! Just a few of the items I’m currently enjoying this week. What foods and beverages are your holiday musts, no matter the calorie count? —Erin