Saturday, 22 December 2018

10 Holiday Foods That Won’t Give You a Santa Belly

Throughout the holidays, many of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by delicious, decadent foods. And come January, our waistlines are paying for it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat your fill at holiday parties. Here are 10 healthy holiday foods that won’t give you that Santa belly.


  • Calories46 per cup of raw, whole berries
Cranberry sauce may be a bit high in sugar, but the cranberries themselves are an incredibly healthy, low-calorie fruit. According to Healthline, they’re rich in vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K1 and copper. They’re also very high in antioxidants and effective against urinary tract infections, stomach cancer, ulcers and cardiovascular issues. So grab a handful of dried berries, add some to a smoothie or incorporate them into a healthy baked good for some holiday color and nutrition.


  • Calories145 in one average baked potato
Potatoes manage to make their way onto holiday tables in many forms. And even though we might diminish their health value a bit by adding salt, oils and other fixings, the root veggie itself is a great source of vitamins and minerals (especially if you eat the skin). They’re also rich in antioxidants, can help manage blood sugar and might improve digestive health, according to Healthline. Plus, they don’t pack a huge caloric punch, but they’re notoriously filling. So have some on your table to help prevent holiday overeating.


  • Calories68 per half cup of seeds
The holidays fall right in the middle of pomegranate season, so it’s the perfect time to make the most of this fruit. According to Cleveland Clinic, pomegranates are high in antioxidants, which can help to prevent cancer. Research also has found they might benefit prostate health and suppress prostate cancer. They also help to manage cholesterol and promote heart health. It’s best to eat the pomegranate seeds instead of purchasing bottled juice to lessen your sugar consumption and keep the calories low.


  • Calories7 in one almond
Chestnuts roasting over an open fire? Grab a few for a holiday snack. Nuts aren’t a low-calorie food, but when you eat the proper portions, they’re an excellent addition to your diet that can prevent you from overindulging in empty calories. Nuts are healthy sources of protein, unsaturated fats and fiber, which all help your body feel satiated. In fact, “frequent nut eaters are less likely to gain weight,” according to Harvard Medical School. And the benefits don’t stop there. “Regular nut eaters are less likely to die of any cause — particularly heart disease — than people who rarely eat nuts,” Harvard says.


  • Calories63 per cup of chopped greens
Eating collard greens and black-eyed peas is a New Year’s tradition for many, especially in the Southern states. And though it depends on how you prepare your dish, the greens are a very nutritious choice. One cup of chopped and boiled collard greens contains 7.6 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. The greens also are very high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. And combined with black-eyed peas, you can have yourself a low-calorie, filling meal.


  • Calories69 in an average orange
Many people follow the tradition of putting oranges in stockings at Christmas. And besides being an obviously healthier alternative to candy, oranges also are good sources of vitamin C, thiamin, folate, potassium and fiber, according to Healthline. Research has shown oranges can help to fight heart disease, prevent kidney stones and even increase the absorption of iron to combat anemia. Choose the whole fruit over the juice for more healthy, filling fiber with less sugar.


  • Calories28 per half cup of boiled sprouts
They might make the kids (and some adults) say “Gross!” but Brussels sprouts are a superb low-calorie, high-fiber side dish to have at a holiday gathering. According to Healthline, they’re closely related to kale, cauliflower and mustard greens — and thus have similar health benefits. They’re high in vitamins K and C, as well as antioxidants. And they’re “one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids,” which can “reduce blood triglycerides, slow cognitive decline, reduce insulin resistance and decrease inflammation,” Healthline says.


  • Calories31 in a cup of 1/2-inch pieces
High in fiber and low in calories is the name of the game for green beans, too. Plus, they contain protein and have practically no fat and very little sugar — all of which help you maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, people with digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, might find green beans easier to eat than some other vegetables, according to Cleveland Clinic. So they’re a good belly food all around.


  • Calories95 in one medium apple with skin
Is it even the holidays if you don’t smell apple-cinnamon something? While apple pie isn’t so great for your waistline, research has shown apples might actually help people lose weight. “Apples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling,” according to Healthline. Plus, they might have some natural compounds that help to promote weight loss and reduce bad cholesterol, though more research still must be done on that front.


  • Calories12 per tablespoon (on average)
It’s just not possible to get through the holidays without indulging in some sweets. And one holiday treat you can feel good about is a steaming mug of hot cocoa. Now, this certainly depends on your recipe — the quality of your cocoa, the liquid you use, etc. But cocoa itself might actually help you control your weight. “It’s thought that cocoa may help by regulating the use of energy, reducing appetite and inflammation and increasing fat oxidation and feelings of fullness,” according to Healthline. More research still must be done on exactly which types of cocoa work best. But for now, it’s a pretty good reason to sit back and sip your hot cocoa guilt-free.

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