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Holiday Foods Face-Off: Which is Healthier to Eat?


These two starters have a lot in common, starting with the fact that they’re both easy to overeat, as foods that are high in carbohydrates and sodium tend to be. Cheese and dips both pack a lot of sodium, and—unless you’re talking about vegetable- and bean-based dips like salsa, guacamole, or hummus—saturated fat.

Calorie-wise, the choices are even. Both five Ritz crackers with two cubes of Swiss cheese or an ounce of potato chips with 2 tablespoons of onion dip provide about 200 calories. 

But with cheese and crackers, you get a decent amount of calcium, says Lona Sandon, Ph.D., RDN, associate professor of nutrition at UT Southwestern.  Two cubes of Swiss cheese has 267 mg of calcium—about a quarter of the daily value (1,000 mg). The cheese also supplies 8 grams of satisfying protein from the Swiss cheese. And if you choose thin slices of cheese and eat them sandwiched with pieces of fruit like apples or pears in place of crackers, you’ll get filling fiber and loads of flavor. Better Pick: Cheese and Crackers.

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