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16 Best and Worst Christmas Themed Groceries

'Tis the season for all things peppermint and gingerbread. While they're all equally as tasty, they're not all created equal in terms of nutrition. Find out which limited-edition holiday treats you can feel good about indulging in.

Just because you can't always bring yourself to say "no" to the limited-edition gingerbread cookies and holiday candy you see at the store, it doesn't mean your belly must start resembling Santa's. It's totally possible to get in the spirit of the season while maintaining your trim waistline; you just need to know which packages to grab and which ones to leave at the grocery store.

Since no one wants to spend time reading nutrition panels in the supermarket's overcrowded holiday section (seriously, it's a scary place to linger), we've done all of the research for you. Commit some of our top picks to memory so you can get in and out of the store unscathed. Or better yet, snag them online! And if you're looking for some healthy-ish holiday treats to make from scratch, don't miss these Amazingly Delicious Holiday Desserts.

First, The Best…

LÄRABAR Snickerdoodle & Gingerbread

snickerdoodle & gingerbread lärabar

Nutrition: 1 bar, 190 calories 8-9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0-30 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 17-18 g sugar, 4 g protein

Thanks to Larabar, you can finally indulge in your favorite holiday cookie flavors without a massive sugar rush. While there are 17 to 18 grams of the sweet stuff per bar, the sugar is all the naturally occurring kind from things like dates and raisins. Plus, these things are beyond tasty—nab 'em while you still can!

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Birch Benders Gingerbread Spice Pancake Mix

birch benders gingerbread spice pancake mix

Nutrition: 1/4 cup mix (two 4" pancakes), 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 390 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 3 g protein

While this ginger-infused pancake mix is a bit high in sugar, thanks to the addition of cassava starch there's a bit fiber and protein, too. To even the fiber to sugar ratio a bit further, go light on the syrup and top your hotcakes with finely chopped pecans or walnuts (one of these 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss) and enjoy a scrambled egg or two on the side.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Goldfish Fun Holiday Colors Baked Cheddar Crackers

goldfish fun holiday colors baked cheddar crackers

Nutrition: 55 pieces, 140 calories 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 240 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 3 g protein

While these cute little crackers don't offer much in terms of nutrition, they won't do your body much harm, either. To give their tiny fish their vibrant holiday hues, Pepperidge Farms used things like turmeric extract and watermelon juice concentrate—not chemicals. With that in mind, this is definitely a salty snack that gets the green light. To boost its staying power of your snack, mix the fishys with some raw nuts and pair the mixture with a small piece of fibrous fruit. For even more healthy snack ideas, don't miss these 50 Snacks With 50 Calories or Less.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

KIND Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spice

kind dark chocolate hazelnut spice

Nutrition: 1 bar, 200 calories, 15 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 5 g protein

If you're an avid reader, you likely already know that our obsession with KIND bars runs deep. With so many delicious, low sugar bars on their roster, it's easy to see why—and this seasonal snack is no exception. Flavors of hazelnuts, cashews, chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon join together to create a snack bar that will delight your taste buds while fueling your body right. Get a box for you and a second one to use as healthy stocking stuffers. The gift of health is one that everyone on your list is sure to love.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Enjoy Life Foods Gingerbread Spice Cookies

enjoy life foods gingerbread spice cookies

Nutrition: 2 cookies, 120 calories, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 95 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 1 g protein

The healthiest gingerbread you'll have this season will likely be homemade. But in the packaged food realm, these come pretty darn close. Despite the fact that most of these cookies are filled with sugar (as is the case with almost every cookie), they still have less than 5 grams of the sweet stuff a pop—which is pretty impressive. We also love that Enjoy Life uses ingredients like millet and buckwheat flour to sneak in a bit of nutrition. And speaking of incorporating alternative flours into your baked goods, don't miss our report, 20 Gluten-Free Flours.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Tic Tac Christmas Candy Cane

tic tac christmas candy cane

Nutrition: 1 piece, 1.9 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

Since you have to constantly chomp, gum can make your tummy bloat. That's why here at Eat This, Not That! we rely on mints to freshen our breath. These super-cute candy cane Tic Tacs are sure to brighten your day and your smile every time you pop one into your mouth. And for less than 2 calories each, they can't be beat—so long as you don't down too many at once, at least.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

BoomChickaPop White Chocolate Peppermint

boomchickapop white chocolate peppermint

Nutrition: 1 1/4 cup, 140 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 75 mg sodium 18 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 1 g protein

Compared to things like candy and cookies, this peppermint and chocolate topped popcorn isn't half bad. And the divine flavor makes it totally worth its not-exactly-low sugar count. This is definitely a must-try but probably not something you want to go back for seconds of. Big fan of popcorn? You'll definitely want to try these 20 Delicious Ways to Dress Up Your Popcorn.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes Pure Butter Cookies

walkers shortbread festive shapes pure butter cookies

Nutrition: 2 pieces, 150 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein

The only things that go into these low-sugar cookies are wheat flour, butter, sugar, and salt making them an obvious Eat This!

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea

celestial seasonings candy cane lane green tea

Nutrition: 1 tea bag, 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

The only thing better than a cup of belly fat-incinerating green tea? One that's infused with orange peel, peppermint, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, that's what! The super cute box is definitely a bonus, too. Just look at those bears hard at work in Santa's workshop!

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Califia Farms Pure Almond Milk Egg Nog

califia farms pure almond milk egg nog

Nutrition: 4 fl oz, 50 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 1 g protein

Admittedly, we struggled to decide if this was an Eat This or a Not That! While it does have about fifty percent fewer calories than the typical eggnog, we can't deny that eggnog in general just isn't a great pick. Sip it if you must, but know that you're better off eating your calories than sipping them.

To buy it online or learn more, click here!

Now, The Worst…

Thomas' Cranberry Swirl Bread

Tomas' Cranberry Swirl bread

Nutrition: 1 slice, 130 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 3 g protein

A slice of sprouted grain bread has about 80 calories so we're not quite sure how Thomas managed to shove 130 big ones into this fancy bread of his. There are so many better ways to spend all those calories. Wouldn't you rather eat a cookie or maybe a big spoonful of almond butter? We know we would!

Coffee-Mate Peppermint Mocha Liquid Creamer

coffee-mate peppermint mocha liquid creamer
Courtesy of Coffee Mate

Nutrition: 1 tbsp, 35 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 5 g carbs, 0 g protein,

While generally speaking, coffee creamers have recently started to clean up their act, the same can't be said for all of the limited-edition flavors. This peppermint mocha creamer, for example, is made with artery clogging hydrogenated soybean oil (despite the fact that it claims to be trans-fat free) and stomach-irritating carrageenan. If you're looking for a delicious holiday-themed way to flavor your coffee consider pouring something from Coffee-Mate's Natural Bliss line instead. The cinnamon cream flavor is downright delicious and the pumpkin spice bottle is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas time. For more ways to get caffeinated—without derailing your diet—don't miss our report 20 Easy Ways to Stay Slim at Any Coffee Shop.

Cadbury Holiday Candy Coated Solid Milk Chocolate Snowballs

cadbury holiday candy coated solid milk chocolate snowballs

Nutrition: 16 pieces, 190 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 3 g protein

Anyone who's had the Easter version of these bad boys knows that they're impossible to stop eating once you've started. And with an entire day's worth of sugar in a single serving (not to mention tons of potentially dangerous additives), these treats can lead your belly down a slippery slope.

Swiss Miss Candy Cane with Peppermint Marshmallows

swiss miss candy cane with peppermint marshmallows

Nutrition: 1 envelope, 80 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 105 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, < 1 g protein

This isn't the worst hot cocoa we've ever seen but it's also far from the best. If you want to indulge in a cup of peppermint-flavored hot cocoa this season, we suggest picking up one of the winning brands from our report 19 Of Your Favorite Hot Cocoas—Ranked and stirring in the milk with an actual peppermint stick!

Peeps Hot Cocoa & Cream Marshmallow Chicks in White Fudge

peeps hot cocoa & cream marshmallow chicks in white fudge

Nutrition: 3 chicks, 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 1 g protein

The bulk of these Peeps are comprised of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin, so are you really that surprised to learn that they're on the Not That! side of the equation?

Archer Farms Rudolph's Mix

<img class='img-responsive' src='//' alt='archer farms rudolph's mix'>

Nutrition: 1 package, 270 calories, 13 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 26 g sugar, 4 g protein

Everything from hydrogenated oil to a rainbow of potentially dangerous food colorings seems to have found its way into this trail mix. If you don't want to blow an entire day's worth of sugar on a snack that offers next to no nutrition, you'll definitely want to steer clear. If you really feel the need to dig in, at least diminish the damage a bit my mixing the snack with an equal amount of raw, unsalted nuts and dividing it into three or four servings. And now that you know what to buy and what to skip, level up your shopping game with these 30 Culinary Stocking Stuffers Under $20!


Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh