If you spend this season taking a step back from goodies, you may need to take a step forward instead. It’s ingrained in us that holiday treats are packed with everything we should be avoiding, when actually they have more redeeming qualities than you think.
That doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind and fill up on empty calories.
But we are here to surprise you with some festive foods that actually offer some good nutrition while satisfying those holiday cravings. Check out these flavorful dishes with a side of healthy.
Packed with dairy, this sweet, thick and indulgent holiday staple is really pretty good for you. An added benefit is the potassium it can provide. Add a little nutmeg for healthy goodness.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Fiber, vitamins and minerals are all found in these sweet vegetables. In addition to their cancer-fighting properties, the beta-carotene they provide supports healthy vision.
3. Apple Pie
When it comes to desserts, ones with fruit should be at the top of the list. Packed with fiber, apples fill you up and at 25% water, they can keep you hydrated.
Set out that bowl of mixed nuts and you’ve set out a bowl of minerals and vitamins. Pistachios are loaded with vitamin B6, chestnuts vitamin C, pecans provide you with zinc and walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Calcium comes to mind as the biggest score, as one and a half ounces of hard cheese (think cheddar or Gouda) provides as much calcium as 8 ounces of milk.
Packed with antioxidants, these tart red berries wear their bright holiday color from anthocyanins, which help out your eyesight and they also have an anti-inflammatory effect in your body.
7. Green Beans
A holiday favorite, these skinny veggies are fat with fiber, vitamins A & K, and iron. Steam and drizzle with lemon juice and dig in for seconds.
8. Dark Chocolate
A good source of magnesium, these craving-satisfying bites play a major role in well-being. Mixing up some hot chocolate? Grab teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to mix in with your skim milk.
9. Beef Brisket
The protein and fiber in beef are a dynamic duo that help out with that full feeling before you have the chance to stuff yourself. Serve up a 3 ounce low-fat cut and you’ll gain 28 grams of protein.
Sprinkle away with this season’s powder. Its anti-inflammatory asset may also help lower your blood pressure, and we all can benefit from that at this stressful time of the year!
11. Brussel Sprouts
Boasting high levels of many nutrients, these little green cabbage-like balls are packed with more vitamin C than an orange! They are also a good source of protein.
Pumpkin Spice has its season and with reason! High in fiber, vitamins A & C and antioxidants, it packs a mere 30 calories per cup. Read the label and look for 100 percent pure pumpkin when grabbing that can off the store shelf.