The Holiday Season is known for family, friends, cold weather and delicious though sometimes unhealthy food. Luckily, delicious doesn’t have to mean unhealthy. Keeping healthy habits alive during the Holiday Months is crucial in continuing a well balanced lifestyle. The Holidays make it too easy to drop healthy habits in favor of gorging on unhealthy foods and practicing physical inactivity. Here are a few healthier holiday options to enjoy.
1. Turkey. Good news: turkey is healthy. It’s high in protein, mostly low in saturated fat (except for the skin) and adds relatively little to overall calorie intake. The Thanksgiving Turkey sometimes gets a bad reputation because of all the food we eat with it. Stuffing, gravy and loaded mashed potatoes greatly increase the number of calories making the meal somewhat excessive. Turkey on its own is not the problem.
2. Vegetables. Vegetables are a perfect holiday side dish. They are low in calories but high in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Vegetables fill you up without adding a significant amount of calories to the bottom line. Vegetables are a great addition to stuffing, sauces or simply served as a side salad.
3. Oils. Though oils are high in calories, they add plenty of nutrients and healthy fats to a variety of dishes. One of the healthiest is olive oil. Try using olive oil in sauces, dips and dressings. Olive oil is loaded with unsaturated fats which decrease the risk of heart disease. Avoid using animal fats such as lard and butter as they are high in saturated (unhealthy) fats.
4. Herbs and Spices. Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to most dishes. They are calorie and sodium free making them healthy alternatives to other flavoring options such as salt, butter and heavy sauces.
5. Fruit. Fruit are a healthy alternative to calorie rich deserts such as pies and cakes. There’s no need to completely eliminate traditional deserts, but having a wide selection of fruit available next to the sugary options gives the health minded crowd more options.
The Bottom Line
Though holiday food is known for being unhealthy, taking a few small steps goes a long way in improving meal quality and keeping those important healthy habits alive through the New Year.