December 15, 2003
If the holidays hold more opportunities to fall down on our food choices, they also hold more opportunities to be good: gorgeous platters of crudites, colorful vegetables cooked in delicious new ways, the fresh pick of fruit baskets, seasonal berries — not to mention lots of fun winter activities that can burn calories when the cold sets in.
Holiday foods that pack a health punch include:
Pumpkin: A ½ cup serving provides 3 ½ times the RDA of vitamin A and 3 ½ grams of fiber for only 41 calories.
Sweet potatoes: Ounce for ounce they deliver as much beta-carotene as carrots. Plus they’re potassium-rich and high in vitamin C.
Brussels Sprouts: To get 80% of your RDA of vitamin C (per 1/2 cup) try this combination of sprouts with green grapes and white wine (click here)
Baked apples: Hold the pie — baked apples are only 102 calories per serving compared with 400 calories for a slice of apple pie. Not only are apples a good source of vitamin C, but they also have soluble fiber called pectin which helps lower blood cholesterol.
With such a cornucopia of vegetables and fruits at the ready, it’s a great time to up your intake to at least 5 to 9 servings a day. Want to try? Click here to take the Holiday Challenge.
For more help in meeting your goals, Mayo Clinic offers wonderful vegetarian menu ideas. Whether you’re a vegan or simply looking to reduce the amount of meat in your holiday meals, this site offers substitutions, recipes and health information about the plant-based diet.
Vegetarian Alternatives for Holidays