They may be popular side dishes at holiday meals, but they’re also popular at any meals.
Mashed potatoes. Refrigerator-case mashed potatoes like Bob Evans Original and Simply Potatoes Traditional have around 150 calories in a half-cup serving. That’s how much—that is, how little—we should eat. Odds are, most people are downing closer to the 250-calorie serving you’d get in the plain mashed potatoes at a restaurant like Applebee’s or Boston Market.
Of course, those and other restaurants up the ante by also offering mashed potatoes that are “loaded” with cheese, bacon, and/or sour cream. Now the calories in your side dish are up to 310 (Boston Market), 340 (Marie Callender’s), or 460 (Applebee’s). And all have 9 to 12 grams of saturated fat (roughly half a day’s worth). Gravy, anyone?
Sweet potato casserole. Yes, a sweet potato has more vitamin A and fiber than a white potato. But a 7.6 oz. side of Boston Market’s Sweet Potato Casserole has 450 calories. Got room for that on your sides?
Macaroni & cheese. It’s a popular holiday side dish in the South, and it’s a hot item at restaurants. At Au Bon Pain, Bob Evans, and Boston Market, each serving (about 1 cup) has 280 to 350 calories.
Think that’s a lot? Panera’s small order (which you can get in a “You Pick 2”) packs 490 calories and 13 grams of saturated fat into 1 cup. That’s more than freezer-aisle mainstay Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese, with 330 calories and 7 grams of sat fat.
Biscuits. They may look like just another kind of dinner roll, but there’s a difference. Biscuits are made with palm oil or butter. So expect about 170 calories (and 3 grams of saturated fat) in each Pillsbury Grands!
The biscuits at Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Perkins, and Popeyes pack 260 to 320 calories (and 7 to 11 grams of saturated fat).
Creamed spinach. Frozen brands like Birds Eye, Green Giant, and Seabrook Farms have just 70 to 120 calories in half a cup. Stouffer’s Simple Dishes Creamed Spinach has 200 calories (and 4 grams of saturated fat). In contrast, you get 260 calories (and 12 grams of saturated fat) in Boston Market’s Creamed Spinach. Blame it on the cream cheese.
Other relevant links:
- How much damage are holiday buffets doing to your waistline? See: Holiday Party Hors d’Ouevres
- Should you rethink that cupcake tray at your holiday party? See: Holiday Cupcakes
- These holiday treats have way more fat and added sugar than pumpkin. See: Everything Pumpkin