Top 10 Healthy Holiday Foods
White meat provides lean protein that helps build your body and control hunger. It also has niacin, Vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc. A generous 3.5-ounce serving of breast meat, without skin, has 30 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The pumpkin’s orange pigments are carotenoids, which help protect your heart and eyes and may help prevent cancer. Pumpkins also have fiber, Vitamins C and E, riboflavin, potassium and iron. Canned pumpkin is condensed so contains more nutrients than its fresh counterpart.
3. Sweet potato
The sweet potato is naturally sweet, but it’s not a potato—it’s a root. The more color in the vegetable, the more of the protective antioxidant beta-carotene it has. It also provides fiber; Vitamins B6, C and E; iron; and potassium. You don’t need to candy them; just add a touch of healthy margarine if you want and some nutmeg. Eat the skin for extra nutrition.
4. Green beans
Green beans provide Vitamin C, folate, iron, and beta-carotene. A cup of cooked green beans has a significant 4 grams of dietary fiber and about 43 calories. Steam them rather than boil to preserve nutrients.
This native fruit is loaded with antioxidants, especially phenols. Cranberries may help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering your bad LDL cholesterol. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) notes that cranberries may also help prevent urinary tract infections, certain cancers, gum disease and stomach ulcers.
Add walnuts to your stuffing for heart-healthy Omega 3s and a rich flavor. Or add a few to salads or your oatmeal. They make a healthy snack, but watch your portion size. Seven halves have about 93 calories, states the USDA.
Culinary herbs add flavor and nutrients to foods, so use them generously in your holiday recipes. High in antioxidants are oregano, dill, thyme, and rosemary. Parsley provides Vitamin C and folate. Chives and fresh mint also provide folate.
This red root provides folate, iron, potassium and fiber. You can buy beets fresh or canned, and enjoy them hot or cold (often pickled and added to salads).
9. Red wine
The antioxidants in red wine can be beneficial to your cardiovascular system. Most people can benefit from a glass or two a day (one glass for women, two for men). Savor a good wine with your holiday meals.
10. Leafy greens
A fresh salad with a variety of leafy greens can’t be beat. Romaine, endive, spinach, radicchio, arugula, butter lettuce, watercress, mesclun, mậche and many other greens are available in markets. They provide different textures, flavors and nutrients, often including beta-carotene, folate, calcium and iron. Generally, the darker the leaves, the more nutrients. Sprinkle your salad with extra virgin olive oil, or use canola oil, which is high in Omega 3s, along with fresh or dried herbs and a touch of red wine vinegar.