Jesse Brune is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, certified personal trainer, and founder of the non-profit spiritual community, Project: Service L.A. First seen on the Bravo reality series Workout, Brune currently appears on Food Network's Private Chefs of Beverly Hills (Tuesdays, 9 p.m./EST). Here, he provides recipes and entertaining tips for a healthy holiday season.
Around the holidays, we tend to make choosing what to eat and what not to eat as dramatic as Sophie's Choice. So, let's take a little drama out of the situation by looking at a few of the common foody decisions we are confronted with during the holidays. Here are my suggestions on what to eat and drink so you don't stress yourself out at the dinner table.
HOT COCOA VS. EGG NOG
Believe it or not, a typical 8 oz. (1 cup) glass of hot cocoa has an average of 190-210 calories per serving. Eggnog, on the other hand, packs in a whopping 340-360 calories per 8 oz serving (not counting any booze that's added to spike the "nog"). If you want to indulge, I'm going to recommend the hot cocoa.
Drink this: Hot Cocoa
MASHED POTATOES VS. STUFFING
There are so many variations that could be done with stuffing that it's near impossible to say which item is actually better for you. If you are truly concerned, have your mom call me with her recipe (kidding!). Here's what I can say: traditionally, stuffing is made with some sort of bread product, cooked down with chicken stock and other goodies. Very traditional stuffing averages about 400 calories per serving and contains gluten, which you may be concerned about. Mashed potatoes may seem harmless in nature, but when smashed with butter, cream and salt, these spuds pack a punch. However, they still have about half the calories on average than traditional stuffing and are gluten-free.
Eat this: Mashed Potatoes
LIGHT MEAT TURKEY VS. DARK MEAT TURKEY
Are you ready to be shocked? There's actually not that big of a caloric difference between the two. The light meat of the turkey breast has slightly fewer calories and a little more protein. The dark meat of the bird, like the drumstick, may have slightly less protein, but it compensates by having more iron. To get technical, the dark meat of the bird carries more Myogloblin proteins, which ship oxygen to the muscles so the turkeys can run around all day without getting tired. Myoglobins are what make the flesh darker. While choosing either meat is a safe bet, if we are being super calorie-savvy, then I would say go with the light meat.
Eat this: Light meat (but just barely!)