What's Your Holiday Eating IQ?

Read this before you liberally pour gravy on those mashed potatoes.
plate filled with holiday food
Spike Mafford
plate filled with holiday food
Spike Mafford
1 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

1. A typical Thanksgiving meal contains how many calories?

A. 500

B. 1,000

C. 1,500

D. 3,000

a woman holding a raw turkey
WeAre Adventurers
2 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: D, a typical Thanksgiving meal contains more than 3,000 calories. The good news is that it takes 3,500 excess calories to gain a pound - so you might escape from your holiday feast with little to show for it.

Slim down in time for kissing under the mistletoe with our get-fit-fast exercise tips.

3 of 17

2. What percentage of your extra holiday calories likely come from fat?

A. 10%

B. 25%

C. 40%


D. 70%

plate of christmas treats including fruit nuts and cheese
John A. Rizzo
4 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: C, 40%, so make sure you snack on filling, high-fiber foods like greens and fruits before chowing down on the good stuff. Fat is the most calorically dense (nine calories a gram versus four for protein and carbohydrates), and it converts most easily into the fat on your hips.

Check out how cornbread, sweet potato casserole, and other favorites stack up.

woman stressed out by holiday eating
Jesse Frohman
5 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

3. How does eating with friends and family affect how much you consume?

A. You eat half of what you would normally eat alone

B. You consume 10% more than you would if you were alone

C. You eat about the same as you would if you were dining alone

D. You consume about 50% more than you would alone

two women eating a big ice cream sundae
Jesse Frohman
6 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: D. A study by Pennsylvania State University found that when people ate among friends or family, they consumed about 50 percent more than if they were alone or among strangers. Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Penn State, theorizes that drinking and watching others indulge lowers our resolve, and that conversation prolongs the meal and distracts us from calorie counting.

Keep temptation at bay even when you're family is pushing "just one more piece of pie!" on you with these strategies.

a man and woman toasting with glasses of red wine
Alloy Photography
8 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: C. First to be metabolized is alcohol, which is sent directly to the liver to burn up within minutes. Liquids follow, and over the next few hours the body breaks down solid foods, disposing first of carbohydrates, then protein, leaving fats for last. Why? Because fats are more complex to break down. This is another reason why, after overeating, it's so often the fat calories that will be left over.

So you ate a few too many helpings of stuffing or knocked back more cups of eggnog than you planned — what to do the day after to keep those fat calories from sticking around for good.

an assortment of cocktails and liquor
Dane Wirtzfeld
9 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

5. What's your best bet if you're trying to save calories on alcohol?

A. A 12-ounce glass of beer

B. A two-ounce vodka martini with an olive

C. An eight-ounce vodka tonic

D. A six-ounce glass of dry white wine

three bottles and a glass of wine
S. Brown
10 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: D - a six-ounce glass of wine will cost you only 114 calories, compared to the 138 in a 12-ounce beer, 149 in a vodka martini, and 169 in a vodka tonic.

Check our guide before indulging in your favorite drinks—it may pack in more calories than you think.

woman pulling bottle of white wine out of bucket
Scott and Zoe
11 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

6. True or False: Drinking a lot of alcohol makes it harder for your body to burn off fat.

slicing a cherry pie with lattice crust
Tammy Bryngelson
13 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

7. True or False: The more you pig out, the more likely you are to be ravenous when you wake up the next morning.

woman pressing tines of fork against red lips
Famke Backx
14 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: True. "Your gut is empty and begging for more food to fuel your body's daily functions," explains Bettye Nowlin, R.D., spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. A large meal also makes your digestive system work overtime, raising your blood sugar. Once the meal is digested - usually while you sleep - your blood sugar drops, triggering greater secretion of insulin, which further whets the early morning hungries.

Want to undo the damage on your waistline? Check out our four tips for getting back in your skinny jeans.

roast stuffed turkey
Tom Grill
15 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

8. What should you eat before the big Thanksgiving feast so that you're less likely to binge?

A. Nothing - you should skip breakfast and lunch the day of Thanksgiving so you're not loading up on extra calories.

B. Soup

C. A slice of pecan pie

D. Some dairy, like a few slices of cheese or a glass of milk.

bowl of tomato soup
Joe Biafore
16 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: B, Soup. A study conducted by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that people who consumed a bowl of hot soup before meals ate less, lost more weight, and kept it off longer. "It's hot, so you have to eat it slowly and pay attention," says John Foreyt, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Research Center at Baylor. "Soup also fills your stomach, so you eat less later."

Another trick for eating less? Massage your ears.

assorted holiday cookies
17 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

9. Which dessert is the less caloric option?

A. Pecan pie

B. Pumpkin pie

C. Apple Brown Betty

D. Bread pudding

apple crisp a la mode
Teresa Gueck
18 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: The Apple Brown Betty, followed by the bread pudding and pumpkin pie. Pecan pie takes last place, packing in over 500 calories per slice.

Skip the pie and try out our tasty cocktail recipes, including favorites like the Gingerbread Apple Cocktail and the French Kiss.

pensive woman licking a spoon
Wolfgang Lienbacher
20 of 17
Holiday Eating Habits

CORRECT ANSWER: B, 0%. Your stomach and intestines burn off about 20 percent of the calories in the process of converting excess carbohydrates and proteins into fat. However, your body doesn't burn a single calorie when it is converting nutritional fat into body fat. Your small intestine simply dumps it straight into your bloodstream.

Why getting enough sleep and switching from coffee to tea may help keep the pounds from creeping up.

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