One of the reasons we lose control during the holidays is because we relegate certain foods to the “holiday foods” category, when in fact, we can enjoy these foods and ingredients year round. A holiday food is almost synonymous with “binge” food, because it means we eat it rarely. For someone with food issues rarely eaten, special foods tend to instigate overindulgence. The moment we decide it is an infrequently enjoyed food, we want it more and usually in unreasonable portions. A bonus is that many of these holiday treat foods can be quite healthy and they offer nutritional benefits along with good taste. Here are some:
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple, but consider including cranberries in your diet, year round. Add these berries to morning cereal, a yogurt parfait, tossed green salads, or healthy, high fiber muffins you bake at home. Homemade cranberry relish can be low calorie and a delicious topping on a baked sweet potato. Cranberries are rich in vitamin C and they are also a source of fiber and vitamin E. They may help to prevent gastric ulcers and urinary tract infections. Available fresh September through December, you can also find frozen bags of them year round.
Why do you only eat pumpkin as in pumpkin pie during the holidays? Canned pumpkin is on your supermarket shelves year round. Adding pumpkin to Greek yogurt and blending is delicious (top with shaved dark chocolate for extra decadence). You can use evaporated milk and egg substitute to cut the calories in your pie recipe, or add yogurt or soymilk to cream it up for a pumpkin soup. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene. When you can get your hands on fresh pumpkin, clean and roast the seeds for a healthy snack or topping.
Pecan pie and candied pecans are holiday staples. Pecans are high in antioxidants and a great source of fiber, protein, mono and polyunsaturated fat, magnesium and copper. Sprinkled with cinnamon and a tiny bit of sugar they are a delicious and filling snack. Add roasted pecans to green salads, chop and add them to yogurt and muffins, or use it to crust fish.
Figs and cheese are popular holiday appetizers or desserts, but figs (dried or fresh) are anti-oxidant rich, and full of fiber, potassium and calcium. You can add diced figs to traditional stuffing, but why not include them in fruit compote, or dip them in dark chocolate, like strawberries, for a decadent dessert.
Roasted turkey, high in protein and leaner than red meats (once you remove the skin) and green beans, steamed or sautéed with garlic and a little olive oil, are also two year-round foods that can be part of your menu rotations. Create another delicious and nutritious side dish by roasting root vegetables in the oven. Place them on a lined baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. These are not just for holiday eating!!
Published On: January 01, 2013