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5 Healthy Holiday Foods

By Lizbeth Perez
Edited by Sarah Baker

Enjoying the Holidays... Without the Guilt

Holidays: They start with Halloween candy and end with toasts of champagne on New Year’s. It’s that time of the year when the table is always covered with a plethora of food. It’s a time where family and friends get together and catch-up. There are constant parties and potlucks filled with merriment and food, lots and LOTS of food.

This vicious food cycle usually starts with you stuffing the turkey, then stuffing your face. Before you know it, you’re stuffing yourself into your once “skinny” jeans and making a New Year’s resolution to lose another 10lbs. For most people, this holiday weight gain, though a bit annoying, is no big deal. It can be hidden under all the sweaters, jackets and layers that are so common during winter unless you’re in Miami where everyone is seemingly perfect and swimsuit ready.

Holidays in Miami...

I suppose this is where it can be a con in living in such an enviably warm city. We live in a place, where people diet and exercise for months in advance to have a perfect vacation body. Does this mean that we are not allowed to indulge simply because we live in a city, where bikinis are a staple in our everyday wardrobe? Where do we draw the line between a little holiday indulgence and just plain fattening without having to sacrifice all of our merriment or (GASP) diet?

Lucky for you all, I have compiled a list of a few foods that are not only taste good but are good for your waistline as well.

1. Champagne

Let’s be honest, nothing is more delicious than some holiday cocktails. You have decadent eggnog and coquito, festively flavored cocktails, and specialty beers. Unfortunately, deliciousness comes with a price. In this case it’s in the form of high calories and even higher amounts of sugar. As much as we all love the occasional “adult” beverage, do you really want to drink all your calories?

Champagne for the Holidays
Instead, opt for champagne. A 4oz serving contains just 100 calories and 5 grams of sugar, something that is definitely worth toasting to.

2. Salsa

Many people think that sticking to vegetables and dip is safer than indulging in other items. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the case. Most dips are made with cheeses, creams, and other fattening ingredients.

A Healthy Alternative: Salsa for the Holidays 
A good alternative here is salsa. Not only are you getting a few extra veggies in your diet, but ¼ cup serving weighs in at a whopping 10 calories and 0 fat, giving you more wiggle room (literally) with the rest of your holiday “diet.”

3. Chocolate Fondue

What are the holidays without delicious sweets to satisfy that sweet tooth? A slice of pecan or pumpkin pie, maybe some red velvet cake, or cookies might sound delicious, but that’s only until you realize that one serving usually has the same amount of calories as an entire meal.

Chocolate Fondue for the Holidays 
So what do you do in this case? Make a beeline to a chocolate fountain. Go ahead, dip a few chunks of angel food cake in that satisfying chocolate. Or, an even better idea, dip fresh fruit. A typical serving weighs in 340 calories and roughly 28 grams sugar.

4. Café Au Lait with Flavored (sugar-free) Syrup

I personally look forward to the holidays for many different reasons. One of these reasons is the delicious holiday flavors that can be found at some of our favorite coffee spots. Unfortunately, those delicious flavors that we gravitate to while getting our holiday shopping taken care of are full of more than just cheer. The majority of them have just as many calories as a Big Mac with a side of fries. Luckily that doesn’t mean you can’t have your cup of holiday cheer. Instead, get a Café Au Lait, think of it as a fancy way of saying coffee with milk, and ask for a few pumps of your favorite sugar free flavored holiday syrup. The damage: 150 calories and roughly 17 grams sugar for a 20 ounce serving.

Café Au Lait
5. Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes of all sorts are a staple at almost every holiday gathering. You have mashed with butter and cream, baked with butter and sour cream, and fried. Instead, switch your regular potatoes for a kind of potato that is rich in vitamins and minerals, will keep you full longer and is better for you. Think sweet potatoes, where 4 oz. contain just 98 calories. Just don’t add all the stuff that those “other” potatoes have.

Sweet Potatoes: a Holiday Favorite 
Whether you are gathering with friends, family, or co-workers for the holidays, don’t let those holiday treats leave you regretting it later. Just swap them out with a healthier alternative and those waistlines won’t know what hit them!

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