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Stacey Feintuch

Stacey Feintuch is a Blogger, Freelance Writer, Public Speaker and Young-ish Widow

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happy couple communicating while preparing Thanksgiving turkey for dinner at dining room

Holiday Foods That Are Actually Good for You

Some favorite holiday foods—like cranberry sauce, turkey and green beans—can be healthy if you watch how they're prepared and how much you eat!

Nutrition & Movement

Cookies, pies and candy oh my! It may not seem like it's even possible to eat healthfully with all the high-fat and high-calorie options you're presented with during the holidays. But you can eat foods that are actually good for you over the holidays. You're likely even eating some healthy fare without even realizing it.

Here are some dishes that won't wreak havoc on your waistline this holiday season.

They're rich in vitamin C and contain antioxidants that ward off cancer. Plus, they're great for your digestive health. Just avoid canned cranberry sauce, which often contains high-fructose corn syrup. That means unnecessary calories and loads of sugar dumping into your bloodstream. Make your own sauce so you can control the sweetness and keep cranberries nutritious. Use additives like orange juice, orange zest, honey or maple syrup to sweeten the cranberries. Try this cranberry dessert.

Turkey is one of the lower-calorie proteins you can eat. Opt for white meat over dark meat. Dark meat has more fat than white meat. Just don't go overboard, and watch how much you eat. Fill up a third of your plate with breast meat. Filling up with lean protein can help stabilize your blood sugar and can keep you full. Also remove the saturated-fat–loaded skin. Be sure to watch it with the gravy. Processed varieties—like dry mix or canned—are often full of sodium and other fillers. Make your own by mixing in vegetables like mushrooms and onions and herbs like sage, parsley and thyme. That will help keep the gravy nutritious and flavorful.

Green beans
When eaten simply, they're one of the healthiest foods you can eat during the holidays. Any casserole-style options will be loaded with calories and saturated fats. Dress up sautéed green beans with slivered almonds, which pump up the protein. Or try sautéing or steaming green beans, then tossing them with diced roasted red bell peppers, salt and pepper.

Carrots on their own are a safe bet, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Just don't coat them in sugar, fat and salt. Try steaming carrots and then roasting them with grass-fed butter. Sweeten them by drizzling a tablespoon of maple syrup on top. Maple syrup has a low glycemic load and is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it a good sugar alternative. You can also serve this shredded carrot dish.

Brussels sprouts
They may get a bad rap, but this vegetable is high in fiber. So, filling up on these sprouts will keep you satiated for longer. They're also high in vitamins K and C which helps boost your immune system. You may want to whip up this roasted variety. Or make these Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes. This recipe's combo balances the slightly bitter flavor of Brussels sprouts with the sweetness of grapes for a delicious, healthy side dish.

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