The holiday season offers a wonderful array of delicious foods to eat, from the Thanksgiving Day turkey to the Christmas ham to the Hanukkah latkes. Unfortunately, many of these very same holiday dishes you have enjoyed over the years are also loaded with calories, fat and cholesterol.
Perhaps you have reached that point in your life when you pass the portable AED at work, you think about eating heart healthy. Good for you. It can be difficult to resist tempting foods with unhealthy fats, high sodium and excess sugar. But you can still enjoy holiday foods by either making them more heart-healthy or choosing foods that are better for your heart.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins, fiber, potassium and beta carotene, making them a heart-healthy food that you should be eating over the holiday season. There are many ways in which sweet potatoes can be prepared, you can mash them up, bake them or even turn them into a casserole. Instead of adding unhealthy toppings like butter and marshmallows, try drizzling them with maple syrup.
Nuts are a wonderful holiday treat, as long as they are unsalted and roasted. Some of the best heart-healthy nuts include walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts. Just make sure you don’t serve them with unhealthy additions that are bad for your heart. And make sure you add them to any breads you make and stuffing.
The holiday season is not complete without a traditional slice of pumpkin pie. We have good news for those who enjoy this treat, pumpkin is packed with heart-healthy vitamin A and fiber. Because this vegetable is so moist, you don’t have to add a lot of unhealthy ingredients to make it flavorful.
Stuffing is regarded as one of the most fattening holiday foods, but with a few minor adjustments, it can actually be a healthy choice. Use low sodium chicken broth in place of butter to keep it moist but low in fat and pack your stuffing with fruits, nuts, celery and carrots so you can benefit from the range of vitamins.
This beautiful fruit is proving its worth by offering a huge dose of antioxidants. You can enjoy the benefits of pomegranates by simply drinking its juice or sprinkling the seeds over your salad.
Cranberries are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and the fiber in them helps lower bad cholesterol levels. Better still, this fruit makes a colorful and tasty garnish to turkey and stuffing.
Turkey is a great source of protein, but not very heart-healthy if it is deep fried or slathered in gravy. Stick to the white meat and peel off the skin and enjoy the zinc, potassium and vitamin B that have been found to keep bad cholesterol levels down.
It may not be a traditional choice, but serving fish for your holiday meal is a heart-healthy choice. Fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and provides a plethora of heart-healthy nutrients.
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