Eating healthy around the holidays can be a challenge. The homemade sour cream mashed potatoes, the rich eggnog, and the chocolate bread pudding with whipped cream all add up from a calorie standpoint – not to mention they have limited nutritional value. The good news is there are some holiday foods you can eat without a twinge of guilt. When your sweet tooth acts up, consider indulging in one of these healthy holiday fruits.
Healthy Fruit for the Holidays: Pumpkin
It may be loaded with sugar, but all isn’t lost from a nutrition standpoint when you bite into mom’s homemade pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene – a carotenoid which reduces the risk of macular degeneration of the eye. Not only that, but eating pumpkin may lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. When it comes to dessert, pumpkin pie is one of the healthier options on the holiday table. To reduce the calorie and fat content, leave behind the crust, or have pumpkin mousse or pumpkin pudding instead. You’ll still get the great taste of pumpkin without all the fat and calories.
Healthy Fruit for the Holidays: Cranberries
Cranberries have the highest levels of antioxidant phenols of any of the common fruits. Some studies show that cranberries lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Not only that, but they also have anti-viral activity and may help to fight off some of the common wintertime viruses. In addition, eating cranberries helps to acidify the urine which can reduce the risk of painful kidney stone formation. Cranberries also have beneficial effects on blood lipids and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. If that’s not enough, they may also lower the risk of developing stomach ulcers by helping to wipe out H. pylori, a bacteria responsible for digestive problems. These benefits should make you feel less guilty about having that second serving of cranberry sauce; but don’t overdo it cranberry sauce is notoriously high in sugar.
Healthy Fruit for the Holidays: Apples
Apples are an excellent source of quercetin, a phytochemical with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s true that an apple a day may keep the doctor away – particularly the cancer doctor. The phytochemicals in apples help to protect the cell’s DNA from mutations that can lead to malignancies. Plus, the quercetin in apples has anti-histamine properties which makes it a natural allergy fighter. Apples are also quite filling which reduces the risk of overeating For maximal health benefits, eat them whole and stay away from apple juice and apple pie which is usually too high in sugar.
Brighten up the season with some of these healthy holiday fruits and you won’t miss the chocolate layer cake – and neither will your waistline.