Holiday Calorie Equations

It's that gluttonous time of year again. But just which foods pack on the most pounds? See how 30 holiday favorites stack up, from brisket to gingerbread cookies, matzo ball soup to candy canes.

1. Apples of Our…Gut

Large slice apple pie = Grande Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider with whipped cream (16 oz.) = 420 calories

In the mood for a warm apple treat? You’re not doing yourself any favors by choosing fancy apple cider over an old-fashioned dessert. One medium-size Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider with whipped cream packs the same caloric punch as a heaping slice of apple pie. Then again, few people can walk and eat pie at the same time.

2. You Say Potato

3 fried potato latkes (with 2 tbsp sour cream) = 2.4 cups mashed potatoes (with butter and whole milk) = 660 calories

Most folks don’t need a nutritionist to tell them that eating a carb-based patty fried in oil—with a side of sour cream—isn’t so healthy. But when you consider that, for the caloric price of three potato latkes with the garnish, you can eat a hefty 2.4 cups of creamy mashed potatoes, you may be inspired to think twice about that second matzo ball.

3. Meaty Decisions

8 oz. beef brisket = 10.25 oz. filet mignon = 615 calories

From holiday meals to New Year’s Eve dinners, both brisket and filet often make an appearance on the December menu—and both are caloric, as expected. Then again, to equal the amount of calories in a respectable 8 ounces of brisket, you’d have to eat a hearty 10.25-oz. hunk of filet. Isn’t it nice when New Year’s resolutions write themselves?

4. Drown Your Sorrows

Cup (8 oz.) eggnog = 4 servings (16 oz.) red wine = 345 calories

When choosing your poison, as the saying goes, you might choose red wine over eggnog. For one non-alcoholic serving of the ’nog, you can drink four servings of red wine. Then again, the former doesn’t come with a hangover.

5. Sweet Cheeks

Slice pecan pie = 5 candy canes = 500 calories

Raiding the kitchen for a sweet holiday snack? Step away from the pecan pie. For one slice of the gooey goodness, you could eat about five candy canes. Not that we recommend this.

6. Morning Glory

4 servings (1.5 cups dry) Old Fashioned Quaker Oatmeal = 2 pancakes with butter and syrup = 450 calories

Come Christmas morning, many of us will be celebrating with festive breakfasts of pancakes and the like. But if you’re looking to save some calories for later, you might consider a bowl of oats instead. For the amount of calories in two pancakes with butter and syrup, you can eat a whole lot of oatmeal. Or you could just eat the pancakes.

7. How You Slice It

3 slices (3 oz.) HoneyBaked Glazed Ham = 4½ slices (4.5 oz.) roasted turkey (white and dark meat, with skin) = 375 calories

Good news! Calorie-wise, HoneyBaked ham isn’t that much worse for us than roast turkey. So, go ahead—pig out.

8. Chocolate Crush

Homemade brownie = 3 packets instant hot chocolate = 300 calories

Want something warm and chocolate-y? You may want to pass on the brownie. For one 4-in. chocolate square, you could drink three or more packets of instant hot chocolate. Maybe just go for one packet—your digestive tract will thank you.

9. Easy Being Green

Serving green bean casserole (with cream of mushroom soup and French’s fried onions) = 5.5 servings green beans with lemon Dijon sauce = 240 calories

A scoop of green bean casserole is pretty caloric, as side dishes go—so why not eat the beans themselves, with a mustard-based or other low-calorie sauce? (Don’t answer that.) If you’re considering going for the pecan pie later, the plainer option might be a wise choice.

R: tabounds / flickr

10. Good Spirits

Cup Whiskey = 2¾ bottles Sam Adams Winter Lager = 515 calories

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that some family get-togethers require an alcoholic remedy. To preserve some holes on your belt, reach for the beer over the hard stuff.

R: stevegarfield / flickr

11. Showtime

Large movie theater popcorn = 6½ boxes Junior Mints = 1,100 calories

When venturing to the movies this holiday season, remember: Movie theater popcorn gets two thumbs down. While its caloric horrors have been well publicized, consider the curious fact that you could eat more than six boxes of delicious Junior Mints for the same calorie count as a large bag of the yellow stuff.

12. A Spoonful

Serving beef stew = more than 2 servings Manischewitz Matzo Ball Soup = 230 calories

While eating matzo ball soup may result in a feeling of immobility, the Jewish holiday favorite packs fewer calories than a serving of beef stew (with potatoes and other vegetables). The latter, however, is beefier.

R: Pumpkin Passion / flickr

13. Orange You Glad You Asked?

Slice homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream = 4½ Archer Farms fat-free pumpkin pie yogurts = 400 calories

Craving pumpkin pie, but hoping to avoid the 400 calories found in a slice? Go for an Archer Farms fat-free pumpkin pie yogurt. The first time, at least.

L: Niina ♥ C / flickr

14. Cheers

Serving (37g) Bailey's Irish Cream = glass (120g) of Champagne = 94 calories

Serving for serving, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Champagne boast the same, rather reasonable caloric hit. But don’t get us wrong: If you were to fill a Champagne flute with the former, you’d be imbibing way more calories. Plus, your breath might smell a little funky when it came time to ring in the New Year with a kiss.

15. Run, Run as Fast as You Can…

2 gingerbread cookies with 1 cup whole milk = approx. 6 small bags milk chocolate Hanukkah gelt = 710 calories

You know Santa Claus? You know his big belly? Here’s one culprit: Two gingerbread cookies and a glass of whole milk add up to a whopping 710 calories. It seems unlikely, however, that old St. Nick would opt for (less caloric) Hanukkah gelt instead. That said, anything’s possible on Christmas.