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Healthy Alternatives to Holiday Food Favorites

Holiday dinners and parties are a smorgasbord of sweet, salty, fatty, high-calorie delights that can add inches to your waistline, plump up cholesterol levels, and raise your blood pressure. Overeating at holiday dinners or parties can undo some of the progress you have made towards losing weight or leading a heart-healthy life throughout the year. Fortunately, you can always rely on healthy and tasty alternatives to your holiday food favorites.

8 Healthy Alternatives to Unhealthy Holiday Foods and Ingredients

  1. Exchange that thick slice of ham, which can contain large amounts of sugar and salt, for spice-rubbed salmon. This cold-water fish is low in calories and contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart.
  2. Opt for fresh green beans instead of green bean casserole. Fresh green beans are loaded with nutrients, while green bean casserole contains heaping helpings of salt and unhealthy fats.
  3. Replace sour cream with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt in mashed potatoes. The yogurt will enhance the protein in the dish without all the fat. Greek yogurt is also a good replacement for vegetable oil. Replacing 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt for every 1/3 cup of oil in baking can save about 100 calories.
  4. Yogurt and hummus are good substitutions for creamy dips. Hummus is lower in fat and has fiber, which keeps you feeling full throughout the holiday dinner or party.
  5. Replace fattening champagne with lower-calorie beverages. Make homemade wine spritzers with two-thirds seltzer or mineral water to one-third wine instead of champagne.
  6. Fill your mug with hot spiced cider instead of hot chocolate or eggnog. Hot cocoa is high in sugar, especially with whipped cream. Just one cup of eggnog can have more than 300 calories. Cider is low in calories and contains pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber that can reduce your cholesterol levels.
  7. Switch out regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, which are low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol. These delicious alternatives to traditional spuds are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Sweet potatoes are also filling, which helps you avoid overeating.
  8. Take some of the “stuff” out of stuffing. Add nuts, dried fruits, carrots, and celery to add nutrition, flavor, and dietary fiber. Be sure to replace butter with low-sodium chicken broth to reduce fat.

Choosing healthy alternatives to holiday food favorites can save you calories and prevent unwanted weight gain. These healthy foods can also keep your heart in top-notch condition throughout the year. For more information on how to keep your heart healthy, schedule an appointment with Virtual Imaging today by calling 770-730-0119.