Good Things to Eat This Holiday Season

‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ are phrases you frequently hear this time of year. They bring joy and cheer, but unfortunately, you also hear a lot of these phrases this time of year: 

“Don’t eat that!”

“Only take one bite!”

“That’s loaded with calories, so you better run 10 miles today if you’re going to eat that.”

“That’ll pack on the pounds!”

“If it tastes good, it will probably kill your diet!”

The truth is, for many holiday goodies, this is true. From holiday beverages to your grandma’s casserole, to your favorite Christmas pie, many holiday foods are filled with calories. But there is hope as there are some foods you CAN eat this time of year! In fact, they are foods that you can include at Christmas parties, family gatherings or as snacks that won’t pack on pounds or make you feel like you should live on the treadmill. 

If you think about it, many foods this time of year look the same color, a version of tan. Cookies, pastry pie tops, dressing, turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes, etc. – all are similar in nature color-wise. So this holiday season, let’s deck the halls (and your dining table) with color and nutrients by adding these five foods to your Christmas meals:

1. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is rich in fiber and an antioxidant called beta-carotene. Antioxidants help your body fight off disease, illness and other harmful things that attack your body. This makes them key for winter months when the flu and its friends hit hard! Most people think of pumpkin bread, which is loaded with calories. However, you can also roast pumpkin and eat it like a sweet potato or dice it into a salad. It can also be used in risotto or rice dishes. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted in the oven and taken on the road as a high-fiber snack.

2. Citrus Foods

Most people think oranges when they think of citrus, but the truth is that lemon, lime, strawberries, kiwi and more all fall into this category.  Citrus foods boast of vitamin C which is also an antioxidant.  You can eat citrus foods as a snack or incorporate them into salads, fruit cups or a yogurt parfait as a snack.  Strawberries had a splash of Christmas cheer into a salad, a bowl of oatmeal, or on top of fruit pie.

3. Winter Squash

Acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash are a fun addition to a platter of roasted veggies and spaghetti squash can serve as a lower-calorie version of spaghetti noodles too.   Loaded with vitamin A, C, K and folate, these are a nutrient-rich way to add some flavor in a unique way.  It may be hard to eat on the road, but a great addition for when you are home and enjoying the holidays.

4. Nuts

Most people think of nuts as being high in fat, and it is true they are a good source of poly and mono-unsaturated fat.  However, they are also rich in fiber, iron, and protein.  Dry roasted nuts can be added to salads or sprinkled in rice, quinoa or couscous dishes for crunch and flavor.  They can also replace flour as a crusting on salad or fish.  In addition, nuts are a filling snack.  Pair them with a fruit and you have a snack high in vitamins and minerals to take with you as you truck along the road. 

5. Dark Green Leafy Veggies

Not only do dark green leafy veggies add a plethora of color to your plate, they are rich in vitamin C, iron, fiber, B vitamins and the list goes on.  Whether you are making an appetizer salad, blending them into a breakfast smoothie or having them as a side at dinner, include them!  They will help you feel full faster at meals! 

These foods contain all the nutrients to help fight off illness and germs when traveling. Stock that truck up with color to strengthen your immune system and be safe out there!

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