Healthy Holiday Food

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

Cranberries are a great nutritional choice. One cup of whole raw cranberries has 47 calories and provides 4g of fiber. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and contain antioxidants and flavonoids. In addition there is research to support the claim that cranberry juice can help to prevent urinary tract infections.

  • Store them tightly wrapped and unwashed in plastic (or the unopened bag); they will keep in the refrigerator for up to two months. Because cranberries have a short growing season, it is a good idea to buy a bag or TWO for your freezer. Simply sort the fruit and store them UNWASHED in a plastic freezer bag. They can be stored this way for up to one year. There is no need to thaw the frozen cranberries. Just rinse under cold running water, and use as directed for fresh.

To make your own sauce, boil fresh cranberries in water and add sugar or artificial sweetener to suit your taste. It is ready when the cranberries pop

Green beans! They are a delicious and versatile vegetable, low in calories and a good source of vitamin A and C. But we smother them each year with cream soups and fried onions! This year you can lighten that recipe by using lower fat and sodium cream soups and top the casserole with chopped onions. To add even more texture, add some slivered almonds to the top when you have only 5-10 minutes left on the clock. These changes will save you 25-50 calories per serving. You could also un-casserole the green beans and simply sauté them in olive oil and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Nuts remind me of holidays for sure--they are everywhere and they are a wonderful snack or ingredient high in monounsaturated fat, high in omega-3 fatty acids and, yes, high in calories. I remind you of that not to scare you away from nuts, but to help you remember portion control. If you end up with a lot of nuts and can not use them up quickly, remember to store them in the freezer for longer shelf life.

Chocolate: I find myself always mentioning chocolate around this time of year. I love it, and so do most people I know. It is just delicious, and dark chocolate does have nutritional value. It is of course also high in fat and sugar, so to get the most nutrition with the least fat and sugar, choose chocolate with 70% cocoa.

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