As we know from past experiences, staying on track with our diet can be extremely hard when it comes to the holiday season. We tend to know the choices that we should make when it comes to eating during the holidays, but it’s just so hard to give up some of our holiday favorites. After all, we only get them a few times a year! However, what most people don’t know is that we can still enjoy some of our holiday favorites, with just a few minor changes. So instead of having to completely feel like you need to get rid of them, you can make some slight modifications and still enjoy your holiday favorites.
Here are some healthier options for our well-known favorites:
1. Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Making homemade cranberry sauce will allow you to still enjoy your beloved cranberry sauce, yet without all of the high fructose corn syrup. Making the cranberry sauce homemade will also provide you with some amazing nutritional benefits. The fresh cranberries that you use to make the cranberry sauce are full of vitamins E, K, and C. In addition to that, they are also a really good source of fiber. Along with those benefits, making the cranberry sauce at home will allow you to control the amount of sugar that is put into the cranberry sauce which will help you control your sugar intake levels. All of that will help save you just over 50 calories and 20 grams of sugar per ¼ cup serving of cranberry sauce.
2. Plain Sweet Potatoes
Sometimes simple is just better. This is the case when it comes down to what we decided to do with our sweet potatoes during the holidays. We tend to see sweet potatoes in the form of candied yams, which takes away most of the benefits that sweet potatoes have for us. This is why it’s a better option for us to keep our sweet potatoes plain, instead of adding all of the extras to sweeten them. Sweet potatoes alone are high in vitamins such as A, B, E, as well as high in potassium and manganese. In addition to those benefits, sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber. If that information doesn’t help make the swap for you easier, here’s a little bit more. Switching over to plain sweet potatoes will help save you over 150 calories and 15 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving. Just imagine how much more sweet potatoes you can eat now without feeling all of the guilt!
3. Green Bean Almondine
Although green bean casserole is a big staple item at most holiday gatherings, it’s one that isn’t good for us from a nutritional standpoint. Due to all of the added ingredients, it is high in both sodium and fat. Instead of indulging in green bean casserole and hurting our diets more than they’ve already been damaged, we can swap the green bean casserole out for green bean almondine. This is going to be a food that will allow us to get all of our benefits from green beans like containing vitamins C and K, as well as being a good source of fiber. In addition to now fully receiving the benefits of the green beans, we are also adding the benefits of the almonds as well. Some of the nutritional benefits that we find from almonds are they contain healthy fats, protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. This means that these can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Along with now eating a food that provides us with many nutritional benefits, we are also saving ourselves on calories. By swapping our beloved green bean casserole out for green bean almondine we will be saving ourselves just under 80 calories per serving, 393 mg of sodium, and 3 grams of fat.
4. Plain Baked Potatoes
As mentioned last week, baked potatoes just by themselves can provide us with numerous nutritional benefits. We get into trouble once we start adding all of the toppings onto them to make them into loaded baked potatoes. So this holiday season, instead of adding all of the toppings that make it unhealthy for us, try to enjoy the baked potato just by itself and enjoy it in all of its glory. A plain baked potato can provide us with many benefits like helping to lower blood pressure, help us maintain our neurological health, help strengthen our immune system, and help us with digestion due to their high fiber content. By eating our baked potatoes plain we will save ourselves up to 320 calories, up to 17 grams of fat, and 140 mg of sodium. That alone can help save you from the dreaded food coma.
5. Homemade Eggnog
Just like how making our cranberry sauce at home will allow us to make a healthier version of it, the same holds true for eggnog. This is a staple item for most people, seeing as it’s usually only around during the holiday season. With that being said, it’s something that we can still have but it will take a little bit more work for us before we can enjoy it. We can make some homemade eggnog with 6 simple ingredients: eggs, sugar, vanilla, low fat milk, nutmeg, and optional rum. By making our eggnog with these household items it will help save us 245 calories, as well as greatly cutting down both the high cholesterol and sugar amounts.
Even though some of our holiday favorites might be very unbeneficial to us nutritionally, we have other healthier options that we can choose from. Making some of these healthier swaps are a way that we can help ourselves stay on track during the craziness of the holidays. Who knows maybe you will find that you end up liking the new recipe just as much, if not better, than the old one. In that case it’s a win-win!
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