The holidays don’t have the best reputation from a health perspective. Rich tourtiere, cakes, panettone, and other seasonal specialties are calorically dense and don’t exactly offer a ton of nutritional value.
But hey, it’s once a year!
Of course, not all holiday food is “bad” for you. Much of it is nutrient-dense and can easily fall into the “superfood” category. How it gets cooked, however, is where nutritional degradation takes place.
Adding cups of sugar, pounds of butter, or dropping your turkey in a deep fryer can add a ton of calories and subtract the value from holiday foods.
You’re not going to be able to make your cakes and cookies “healthy.” Instead, focus on certain holiday staples in a way to help maximize nutrition.
Brussels sprouts are a great source of folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and compounds that help protect your liver. These nutrients help in a variety of ways like:
- Healing wounds
- Heart health
- Protecting cells from harmful free radicals
- Limiting inflammation
- Immune health
You can drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, or boil or steam for a few minutes.
Clementines are a holiday staple and serve as an excellent substitute for sweet baked goods when cravings hit. Rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, this healthy snack can also be added to savory dishes throughout the holidays.
Turkey is extremely healthful when it’s not deep-fried or draped in pounds of butter. This year, use less butter and more seasonings and try to avoid the skin. Turkey is an excellent source of:
- Vitamin B6 and B12
Chestnuts are a great source of healthy fats and fiber to help reduce “bad” cholesterol, encourage better digestion, and promote heart health. Sprinkle over Brussels sprouts, salads, or add to stuffing.
These are just four foods that, when cooked properly, can add a lot of nutritional value to help you feel your best during the holidays. Look for opportunities to snack smart and cook healthy to fill the space between holiday baking.