Check out these holiday food alternatives that will allow you to enjoy the festivities sans the guilt!
11 Holiday Foods to Avoid and Their Alternatives
1. Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are a common sight in almost every occasion, but it’s a holiday treat you should avoid munching on. Not only are they dense in sugar, but they are packed with calories, too.
An average sugar cookie packs 230 calories and 20 grams of sugar. Its processed white flour and bad fat content may also trigger inflammation.
Try this instead: Pumpkin pie is a healthier alternative for sugar-filled, high-calorie cookies. Apart from nutrients, pumpkins are also a good source of beta-carotene, which acts as an antioxidant.
2. Potato Chips with Sour Cream Dip
It’s difficult to resist crispy potato chips especially if it’s paired with an equally salivating sour cream dip. This savory holiday treat, though, is considered pro-inflammatory.
Potato chips are also high in calories and unhealthy fats and are usually processed. Potato chips, especially the ones you buy at grocery stores also contain artificial ingredients and refined carbs and encourage overeating.
Try this instead: Kale chips are a better and healthier alternative to sodium-dense processed potato chips. Even better, you can bake your own at home and flavor them with your favorite herbs!
3. Cheese Straws
While innocent-looking, this holiday snack is packed with saturated fat. Traditionally made with flour, butter, and salt, this savory snack is low in essential nutrients and high in sodium.
Try this instead: Popcorn is a healthier option than cheese straws as it contains fiber and nutrients such as potassium, vitamin A, and healthy fats. For a yummier, healthier spin, give healthy popcorn recipes a try such as dark chocolate popcorn with sea salt and apple cinnamon popcorn.
Festive celebrations also call for an eggnog fix, but you need to be careful about this creamy holiday drink. By simply looking at its ingredients—eggs, sugar, bourbon, and whipping cream—, you can tell it’s everything your body must dodge.
Chugging a cup of eggnog will fill you with 150 milligrams of cholesterol, 343 calories, and 21 grams of sugar. Taking too much of this drink may also lead to dehydration, which can cause other health problems.
Try this instead: Get yourself a spiced apple cider fix instead. This healthy sip boasts of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial powers your body will thank you for.
5. Pot Roast
While a staple in many holiday celebrations, pot roast doesn’t commonly receive a nutritional nod. It’s easy to see why: because it is high in saturated fat and calories.
Think of all the calories you’ll gain from its gravy, too!
Try this instead: Lean beef tenderloin and white meat turkey are better holiday food alternatives for festive celebrations. Season them with your favorite herbs to get that extra nutritional punch.
6. Candy Cane
A handful of holiday treats like candies and chocolates can leave you feeling sluggish and weak after a quick boost in energy levels. They are rich in sugar and calories, too, so you can expect what it can do to your waistline.
Try this instead: Dark chocolates made with 70-80% cacao contain flavonoids offer cardio-protective effects and improved skin health.
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While this holiday staple contains dried fruits, it also has high amounts of sugar, butter, and corn syrup. You’ll also get the calories and fat of a cake sans the super worthy taste.
Try this instead: Do your health a favor by sticking with a holiday gingerbread. A healthy gingerbread recipe contains nutrient-rich ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, and molasses.
8. Glazed Ham
Ham is a healthy meat choice—that is if it’s not glazed with sugar and cured with salt. Otherwise, say bye-bye to its health perks.
Try this instead: If you can’t take ham off your holiday menu, use a healthier glaze. Instead of using excessive amounts of sugar, use mostly jam and mustard with just a tablespoon of brown sugar.
This delectable holiday dessert is highly tempting, especially when it is served after a holiday dinner. Don’t give in, though, as it is packed with calories and fat.
Try this instead: If cheesecake is a non-negotiable in your holiday menu, make sure that you’ll give it a healthy take. Swap the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream with Greek yogurt to make it guilt-free.
That rich chocolate truffle is another holiday food you should not eat. A chocolate truffle can give you loads of calories in an instant, not clocking in the fillings that usually come with it like peanuts or cookie dough.
Try this instead: Go for the dark chocolate-pistachio combo instead. Antioxidant-rich dark choco combined with nutrient-dense pistachio will change the way desserts affect your health.
11. Mashed Potato
Mashed potato, on its own, isn’t harmful, but mix it up with butter, whole milk, and salt and you’re in a triple whammy of fat, calories, and cholesterol. This doesn’t even include the added sour cream or butter.
Try this instead: If you can’t let go of this popular side dish in your holiday menu, use low-fat milk and avoid adding salt and butter. You can also prepare herb-seasoned potatoes as an alternative.
While it’s tempting to make excuses during holidays when it comes to food, it is important to stick with a healthy diet. This is especially true for people with certain health conditions.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. There are healthy holiday food alternatives you can try that are satisfying and guilt-free.
In a nutshell, you can turn healthy food into something gastronomical. These holiday alternatives list is your ultimate guide in doing just that.
Have you tried preparing these holiday food alternatives in any of your festive gatherings? Which among these do you recommend the most? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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