With the festive season upon us, we are all likely to end up indulging in our favorite holiday foods, maybe making a small effort to stay away from the unhealthiest dishes of them all. However, some of your favorite foods are absolutely packed with nutrition and health benefits, making them worth the extra helping! Let’s take a look at some of the traditional holiday foods that are actually good for you.
Turkey is a fantastic source of protein, with one serving providing half of the recommended daily amount of folic acid, as well as plenty of vitamin B, potassium and zinc. Eating a high-quality protein such as turkey also triggers satiety, meaning that you will feel fuller, faster, making you less likely to indulge in the unhealthier options. Unless your turkey is deep fried or smothered in gravy, this meat is actually quite good for you, although we would recommend trimming off some of the skin before eating, as this is where most of the fat and calories are contained.
Sweet potatoes, unless they’re covered in butter or marshmallows, are one of the healthiest vegetables out there. We suggest roasting them, as this gives them an intense flavor without the need for unhealthy fats. Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin A and phytochemicals, all of which help to keep aging, arthritis and cancer at bay. They are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant, so be sure to have a sweet potato dish on your table this year!
In addition to being low in calories and rich in fiber and potassium, cranberries also contain powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. They also contain unique compounds that have antibacterial properties, enabling them to prevent urinary tract infections. However, since cranberries are naturally low in sugar and have quite a tart taste, most recipes that utilize them require quite a large quantity of sugar to be included. We suggest replacing the sugar with a healthier alternative, such as honey or even other fruits.
There is nothing quite like a mug of hot cocoa on a cold winter night, and this experience is now going to be even more enjoyable with the knowledge that cocoa is actually good for you. Experts advise that a small piece of chocolate each day, usually about 30 calories worth, significantly lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. We recommend using dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, as these contain much higher levels of the antioxidants that bring about these brilliant health benefits.
Now that you are aware of the holiday foods that are actually good for you, you won’t need to feel bad about that extra slice of turkey or that extra helping of sweet potatoes. Don’t forget that there are many other popular holiday foods that also have some great health benefits, from cinnamon to pecans to green beans, and with a little bit of planning, it won’t be too difficult to make your holiday feast the healthiest, but tastiest, one you’ve had yet!