Do you know the scene in the rom-com movie where the family all gather for a beautiful holiday dinner? The table is decorated beautifully, and the food smells amazing? Or maybe your family makes delicious tamales for the holidays. Or maybe you have a tradition of take out? Whatever your holiday foods consist of, the holidays always have a bad reputation of being unhealthy. Delicious and indulging. Holiday foods have deep-rooted traditions and meaning behind them. It’s not necessarily about the food itself, but the memories behind them. So while it is so important to enjoy your delicious holiday meals, we can also add some healthy traditions to the mix.
Nuts are known to be full of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. Salty or sweet, roasted or raw, these snacks are perfect appetizers to have on hand for the holidays!
One of the hard parts about holiday foods is that it a lot of it is low on protein. Turkey is usually a staple in holiday meals, so this is a great healthy option to get some protein in. Protein not only helps support your muscles and fitness, but it also helps keep your body satisfied and helps keep those sugar cravings at bay.
3. Sweet Potato
High in fiber, vitamins A, C, and antioxidants, sweet potatoes are a tasty and excellent healthy holiday food choice. Sweet or savory sweet potatoes are so versatile. You can bake them, steam them or air fry them. Pro-tip* when making sweet potato dishes, try to avoid canned sweet potatoes packed in heavy syrup.
A nice holiday breakfast with a side of eggs is a perfect way to make sure you get that protein in. Remember, just because you know you are going to be eating more sweets or a heavier holiday meal, you still need to eat breakfast! Plus getting a good breakfast with plenty of protein will give you plenty of energy for the day and will help your body regulate its hunger levels throughout the day.
Cranberries are high in fiber and contain something called “polyphenols.” This can help your body's ability to process glucose. Caution! While it is easy and convenient to get cranberry sauce from the can, pay special attention to the sugar per serving! A healthier ( and more fun) option is making your own sauce. This can cut the sugar content.
Speaking of sugar and fruit… fruit will go beautifully with a holiday charcuterie board! Sliced fruit would also pair well with dessert.
The holiday season is where all kinds of squash THRIVE. Pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata squash… All of these are delicious and nutritious holiday foods. Squash is full of fiber, vitamin A and C, and antioxidants. It’s perfect for side dishes or for vegans and vegetarians, and squash casseroles make an amazing main dish!
8. Cruciferous Vegetables
What are cruciferous veggies? To name a few, we have Kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. These fibrous dishes will keep you happy and full.
9. Whole Grains
If you have been designated the roll or bread designee for your holiday dinner, consider bringing something that is whole grain. They will be just as yummy, promise!
10. Protein Peppermint Latte
Okay, I know I am not the only one who loves the holidays because of seasonal coffee drinks! Let’s give peppermint lattes a makeover by adding protein to them! You can add protein to your drink or give this recipe a try! Collagen protein, chocolate protein, or even vanilla.
2 cups of oat milk
1 cup of strong brewed espresso
2 scoops of protein of choice
½ tsp of peppermint extract
½ cup whip cream