When anticipate the holidays, I often think of cookies, cakes and decadent foods. But this year, as I am trying to lose that last bit of baby weight, I am going to try to eat as many healthy holiday foods as I can. I figure if I am going to eat, I might as well pick the foods that have the highest nutritional benefits so at least I will feel good and hopefully be able to keep my weight loss goals on track this holiday season.

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I have compiled a list of my favorite holiday foods that are packed with wonderful health benefits. Be sure to focus on these foods at your holiday parties and dinners. All of these foods are flavorful on their own so there’s no need to ruin them with butter, cream and loads of sugar. Serve them as natural as possible for a truly healthy holiday season!

Do you have any low fat holiday recipes you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you!

10 Healthy Holiday Foods

Sweet Potatoes—sweet potatoes are a holiday nutritional all-star. They are a great source of vitamins C, B, D, and have plenty of iron, so pile up an extra serving of sweet potatoes at your holiday dinner. They are naturally sweet, so try serving them baked instead of in a casserole to save on high sugars and fat contents.

Pumpkin—Pumpkins are very low in calories and loaded with essential vitamins. They contain plenty of vitamins A and B, complex vitamins, iron and zinc, which is helpful in boosting your immune system. Try to include pumpkin in several holiday foods such as muffins, pancakes or even serve pumpkin seeds at your next holiday gathering as a finger food.

Turkey—There are about 32 grams of protein in one four-ounce serving of turkey. Protein helps you feel full longer and builds muscle. Turkey also contains plenty of B vitamins and is low in fat, so it’s a nice choice to serve at your holiday dinner.

Cranberries—Cranberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. They help keep your immune system strong by fighting many infections, including urinary tract infections, and contain a flavonoid called quercetin that is known to fight breast and colon cancer. Cranberries are also known to increase bacteria and plaque in your mouth which helps fight cavities.

Pomegranates—Pomegranates might be one of the best foods on the planet for you. They are packed with antioxidants to keep your immune system strong and are full of cancer-fighting flavonoids. Pomegranates also promote healthy blood flow to your heart and are suspected to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Try sprinkling pomegranate seeds on your holiday salad for an extra health boost!

Pecans—Pecans are a great source of protein that will help you feel satisfied longer. Just try to stick with the plain pecans instead of candied pecans to reduce your sugar intake.

Apples—Apples are an excellent source of fiber, which helps keep you full longer. They also contain a good dose of vitamin C to help keep colds at bay. Try making a lighter apple crisp instead of apple pie and use baked apples as your filling. Most store-bought pie fillings are packed with sugar, which just isn’t needed considering apples are already sweet enough. Pile on the cinnamon for an extra antioxidant boost—cinnamon is also known to help regulate blood sugar levels, which can help prevent overeating.

Wine—Yes, wine is good for you—cheers to your health! Wine is packed with flavonoids and resveratrol that help prevent free radicals that can cause cellular damage in your body. Resveratrol is also known to help prevent blood clots and plaque build-up in your arteries, so enjoy a class of wine at your holiday dinner to cash in on these great health benefits.

Green Beans—Green beans are a wonderful vegetable served at most holiday dinners. They are full of vitamins A, B and C, and are loaded with fiber and other essential minerals including iron, calcium and magnesium. Even a green bean casserole is one of the healthier casseroles you could eat, so feel free to pile on the greens.

Dark chocolate—I saved the best for last. Chocolate in small quantities, especially dark chocolate can be very good for you. They are full of antioxidants that help reduce many different kinds of illnesses including heart disease and certain types of cancer. Some researchers have also found that dark chocolate and cocoa have been linked to improved blood flow to the heart, healthy cholesterol and in some cases, reduced blood pressure.

*This advice should not replace the advice of your doctor.