Top 5 Healthy Holiday Foods

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 in Health & Wellness

Written by Gloria Tsang, RD
Published in Nov 2005; Updated in Nov 2006( On average, a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner can contain more than 2,000 calories. We often put our focus on what not to eat, but there are still many nutritional goodies in our traditional dinner that we should not overlook.

5 Healthy Holiday Foods
Pumpkin – Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A and also provides fiber. Pumpkin seeds are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (the good fats). Pumpkin itself is quite low in calories and is a healthy holiday food. Pumpkin pie, however, becomes a high-calorie food because it’s made with eggs, sugar, evaporated milk and baked in a high-fat pie crust. To make a lower-fat pumpkin pie, you may consider using an egg substitute, light cream or low-fat evaporated milk in your recipe. Go for a pie crust with the lowest amount of trans fat possible. Better yet, try a home-made pie crust recipe that is not made with shortening.
Cranberries – Cranberries are packed with Vitamin C and also provide a fair amount of dietary fiber and manganese. Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant that can prevent the adhesion of bacteria to the urinary tract sometimes causing urinary tract infections.
Sweet Potato – Sweet Potato is a rich source of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Similar to the banana, it is also an excellent source of potassium. If you eat the skin, you will also reap the health benefits of fiber, making the sweet potato a healthy holiday food.
Turkey – In addition to being an excellent source of protein, turkey offers the least amount of fat per serving, among all other meats, if you pass on the skin.
Green Beans – Green beans are probably one of the healthiest holiday foods out there. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K (important in bone health) and manganese. They also contain a good amount of vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. Green bean casserole in a traditional Thanksgiving meal is rather high in calories as it contains butter, cream of mushroom and cheese. Prepare this dish with lower-fat version of these ingredients such as fat-free cream of mushroom and light butter and you will be able to enjoy the yummy taste without the guilt!