The holidays don’t have to be a nutrition nightmare.
In fact, many popular appetizers and even some desserts are low in calories and pack a powerful nutrient punch, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, a nutrition blogger and author of Read It Before You Eat It.
Like holiday gifts, the food’s wrapping has a lot of impact, she says. “Fried foods and those wrapped in bacon or bathed in sauces can add unwanted pounds.”
Some holiday foods are loaded with good nutrition such as lean protein in shrimp appetizers, fiber in roasted vegetable side dishes and beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago.
“Just because the appetizers never made it to a plate doesn’t mean these foods won’t make it to your hips,” she says.
Taub-Dix offers some ideas for holiday party foods that are low in guilt:
•Poached salmon: (A 3-ounce serving) 150 calories. It also supplies a dose of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, she says.
•Two stuffed mushrooms: (With with bread crumbs, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese plus olive oil) 150 calories. You get some some vitamin D and fiber, she says.
•Two big chocolate-covered strawberries: About 60 calories each. You get the antioxidant benefits of the berries and the chocolate, especially if it’s dark chocolate, Taub-Dix says. “This decadent treat could quiet your sweet tooth. It’s a pretty good calorie deal for a dessert.”
•A handful (23) of almonds: 170 calories. These munchies are loaded with fiber, protein and healthy fat, she says. Eat them one by one and relish the crunch.
•A cup of crunchy of vegetables: (Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) with four tablespoons of hummus, only 100 calories for this fiber-rich dish.
•Two cubes of cheese and four whole grain crackers: 150 calories. You’ll gain some calcium for your bones.
•One potato latke: About 200-250 calories each, depending on the size. Skip the sour cream topping, which is 140 calories for four tablespoons, and top the latke with applesauce for only 25 calories.
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