Christmas time is one of the best times of the year to try out new recipes and enjoy great meals with friends and family. Before you run off to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients, we’d like to offer a few ideas of what to enjoy and what to avoid.
The Good Stuff
While you might think that Christmas time is littered with unhealthy dessert-like items that make it almost impossible to stay healthy throughout the month, there are actually plenty of beneficial options to consider. Turkey, for instance, is relatively low in fat and calories when compared to other meats, and can even provide good amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. Cranberries are a great source of antioxidants, so cranberry sauce can be a friendly item as long as you make it yourself with fresh berries rather than buy the pre-made stuff with all that added sugar. Of course, veggies and nuts shouldn’t be overlooked. Parsnips, steamed or roasted brussel sprouts, and roasted chestnuts can offer you fibre, vitamins, and more.
The Not-So-Good Stuff
Despite the wiser options you have at hand, there’s a fair amount of stuff to steer clear of or have in moderation. The more obvious items are things like Christmas cookies, gingerbread items, boxes of chocolate, and caramel popcorn. In small amounts, they add to the fun and spirit of the holidays, but going overboard will work against you significantly. Fruitcake may seem harmless, but it’s usually packed with excess sugar and can rack up the calorie count faster than you think. Meanwhile, Christmas ham that has been cured and glazed may contain a considerable amount of sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat.
Things to Keep in Mind
Of course, certain considerations may not be as simple as they seem. It’s often wiser to pay close attention to individual ingredients or parts of the food, as well as how the food is sourced, than it is to broadly rule out or include items altogether. Turkey and ham are two good examples of this. If you’ve opted for a roast turkey, keep in mind that while the lean white meat is a good option, it’s often recommended to avoid eating the skin, which can add more cholesterol than is advisable. When it comes to that Christmas ham, be deliberate about whether or not you’re opting for a glazed and cured one. Exploring healthier glaze recipes, or just going with a regular roast ham, can offer you some advantages. Think in detail about your food and you’ll have a healthier holiday season!
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