Save Room On Your Plate For These 10 Healthy Holiday Foods
There are plenty of things you can eat this Christmas that will be both great-tasting and great-for you; you just have to know where to look!
Though turkey has a closer association with Thanksgiving than it does with Christmas, many families place this much-beloved bird on their menu for both holidays. Luckily, it's a pretty healthy one, offering up tons of protein, practically no carbs, and a slew of vitamins and minerals. However, we do advise you to stay away from the skin and go for the white meat rather than dark to avoid excess fat.
With their deep red color, pomegranates certainly look Christmassy! Better yet, they get their splashy color from anthocyanins and ellagitannins, two powerful antioxidants that can help fight diseases ranging from cancer to erectile dysfunction.
Pomegranates do have a relatively high sugar and calorie count, as far as fruit goes, but at least its natural sugar rather than the processed crud. A one cup serving of pomegranates also contains an impressive seven grams of fiber to help balance the out the sweetness and keep you full.Pomegranates also have high micronutrient levels and documented anti-inflammatory properties, so, all in all, it's still a better dessert choice than any conventional "dessert."
3. Sweet Potatoes
While sweet potatoes are indeed slightly higher in sugar and calories than their white cousins, they're also higher in a variety of micronutrients. For example, a hundred gram serving of the stuff offers you nearly three times your reccomended amount of Vitamin A!If you want to get all the fiber you can out of your sweet potato, eat it with the skin. Pairing sweet potato with a healthy fat like olive oil can also help you absorb more vitamins from it. There's no need, however, to add any more sugar as in those horrendous sweet potato and marshmallow concoctions!
4. Brussels Sprouts
Though they've often been upstaged by showier dishes, roasted brussels sprouts are a fairly common Christmastime offering.
A half-cup of cooked brussels sprouts only has 28 calories, but it also contains over a hundred percent of your recommended daily Vitamin K intake and eighty percent of your daily recommended Vitamin C.You'll also get two grams of fiber and smaller amounts of folate, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium and phosphorus. Plus, brussels sprouts contain the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been show to fight serious conditions like cancer and heart disease.
5. Healthy Dips
While you can't trust every sort of dip you might come across at a holiday gathering, there are a few that lean towards the healthy side. For instance, guacamole usually doesn't contain much besides mashed avocados, and healthy chickpeas are usually the main ingredient in hummus.Salsa also tends to be on the lighter side, and most any cream-based dip could be made into a healthier one if you use greek yogurt rather than sour cream or mayonnaise as a base. Save even more calories by dipping raw veggies instead of chips or crackers!
6. Green Beans
As long as you don't try baking them into one of those dastardly casseroles, green beans are a great holiday choice. They're nearly fat free and have only 31 calories and 3.6 grams of sugar per cup!
Plus, while green beans are high in fiber, they are FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) free, meaning that even those who are sensitive to these hard-to-digest carbohydrates can enjoy them.
Shrimp is a dependably healthy seafood you'll perhaps most likely encounter this season if you spy it in a shrimp cocktail. We've whipped up a special 123Diet recipe for it, but even the typical ones aren't likely to be terribly high-calorie.
Protein-packed shrimp will help you stay full much longer than any carb-based snack. It will also offer you generous doses of the antioxidant astaxanthin, the vitamin B12, and the minerals selenium, copper, choline, and iodine.
8. Herbs and Spices
You can give almost any meal a healthy kick by incorporating some healthy herbs and spices! Mint has been shown to help suppress appetite and improve digestion, while cinnamon can fight diseases ranging from PCOS to HIV!Another common winter spice, ginger, has astonishing anti-inflammatory properties, while nutmeg can boost mood, lower blood sugar, and improve heart health.
9. Hot Cocoa
While chocolate is no health food, cocoa is one of the healthiest foods there is. It's filled with heart-healthy antioxidants, minerals and electrolytes, and mood-boosting compounds like caffeine and theobromine.If you skip commercial sugar-added hot cocoa mixes and just use cocoa powder, stevia and your favorite milk alternative, you could end up with a sweet sip miles healthier than eggnog!
As with hot cocoa, you can't exactly put this one on your plate, but that doesn't mean tea shouldn't be a part of your Christmas day menu. They're tasty, have nearly zero calories, and can have tons of health and weight loss benefits. Plus, they can also help warm you up!
If you're the one in charge of cooking, cleaning, and/or keeping track of all those unruly nieces and nephews, you may enjoy amping up with a caffeine packed yerba mate
On the other hand, if your family is driving you up the walls and you just want some help chilling out, a stress-fighting cup of chamomile may be more your speed. Or, you can satisfy your mint cravings while skipping the calories of a candy cane by indulging in a nice cup of peppermint tea.
Whatever you eat or don't eat this Christmas, the 123Diet certainly hopes that you have a merry one!
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