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December 15, 2016
Healthy Holiday Foods: 6 Alternatives for a Delicious December
What better time than the holidays to indulge in delicious food? Feasts are as much a touchstone of December as gift-wrapped presents and strings of multicolored lights; it simply wouldn't be a winter celebration without one. While they're extremely scrumptious, they can be dangerous to those of us invested in maintaining a healthy diet.
Nothing is more depressing than sitting on the sidelines with a plate of leafy greens while the rest of your family munches on stuffing, casserole, and pie. Fortunately, with some creative healthy recipes, you can partake in the festivities without worrying about breaking your diet. Here are six of the best healthy holiday foods that even you can enjoy!
Almost every holiday meal starts with appetizers to snack on while the bigger dishes are being prepared, and a lot of them are often served with dip of some kind. Dipping potato chips into French onion dip or sour cream may scratch that hors devours craving, but there are some healthy holiday foods that taste just as good: veggies and yogurt dip.
The calories found in full-fat sour cream add up quickly with every bite. Yogurt dip, meanwhile, tastes practically the same with a quarter of the calories. Ditching the potato chips and opting for celery instead makes for a smart and yummy snack alternative.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Candied yams are a sinfully scrumptious addition to any holiday plate, but it shouldn't take you long to understand why they're not healthy holiday foods. The word "candy" is literally right in the name, after all. Instead of munching on these fattening sweets, break out the sweet potatoes, which are half the calories! If you decide to roast them, you'll not only be rewarded with the vitamins and minerals found within, but also the natural sweetness that is only enhanced by the roasting process.
Turkey is the go-to bird for the holidays, and it's one of our favorite healthy holiday foods for good reason: large enough for even larger families to help themselves to multiple servings, while the white meat is low in calories and high in protein. If you're staying aware of your weight, however, it would be best to avoid the dark meat, which has nearly twice the amount of fat and practically 50% more calories than the white. It's a simple, healthy, and delicious choice to be aware of as you're carving the holiday bird.
Many people assume that vegetable casseroles are already healthy holiday foods due to the fact that vitamin-rich veggies are such a huge part of the recipe, but looks can be deceiving. No matter how many vegetables you cook into your casserole, their benefits will be countered by the fattening amounts of butter, broth, and fried onions added.
If you simply need to make a casserole, replace the full-fat soup with a low-fat counterpart. If you really want to stay health conscious, skip it altogether and simply enjoy a plate of cooked green beans. They're low in calories, high in vitamins, and, when topped with slivered almonds, positively delicious.
When it comes to winter holidays, there seems to be only one drink of choice: eggnog. It's easy to prepare, fun to customize, and a joy to drink with others. Of course, just looking at the recipe for eggnog should help you understand why most people watching their weight should avoid it altogether: eggs, whole milk, sugar, and even alcohol all mixed together makes for one of the most fattening drinks one could sip this holiday season.
While it's possible to make a slightly healthier version using fat-free milk, sugar substitutes, and omitting the alcohol altogether, the easier option is sipping on a mug of warm apple cider instead. Swapping out eggnog for cider immediately saves you up to 200 calories and all of the fat.
Can it really be a holiday feast without pie? Now, no pie is really that good for you, but the healthiest option is arguably pumpkin. A slice is still around 300 calories (versus the 500+ found in various other pies), but you at least get the added bonus of high vitamin A, calcium, and iron in every bite. If you skip out on the crust, which is where a majority of the fat is located, you'll also immediately shave around 100 calories off of this dessert.
The holidays are rapidly approaching, and there's no need to exclude yourself from the family feast. Prepare some of these healthy alternative recipes so you can enjoy the celebrations without the guilt. If your family get-together requires you to travel, our original meal management bags, gym totes, and messenger bags are stylish enough that you can bring your own healthy holiday foods to the party!