Hey Angels and Alphas,
When it comes to indulgent holiday nutritional choices, you’ve probably heard it all – “oh, it’s a guilty pleasure!” … “it’s really bad for you, though” … “so high in calories!” … and the list goes on.
But, what if we turned the tables just a bit and spoke about the health benefits of some of the most popular seasonal foods? Because yes, they do exist. Diet culture is just quick to get in the way a lot of the time.
Let’s talk about some of our favorite holiday meals and all the healthy nutritional content they support your health with.
#1 MASHED POTATOES
Who doesn’t enjoy mashed potatoes? They’re quite literally the world’s most perfect and versatile side. Before potatoes got their reputation ruined thanks to diet culture, they were often thought of as a healthy, nutrient-dense food.
And they still are! Potatoes are a great source of potassium, a vital mineral and electrolyte that helps your muscles and nerves function properly.
Potatoes are also rich in fiber and vitamin C. And to reap all of their benefits, make sure you cook and mask them with their skin – this will add to their satiety and ease digestion.
#2 GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Green bean casseroles might not be everyone’s favorite but they’re on almost everyone’s table. Aside from all of their creamy goodness, green bean casseroles do have some health benefits, all thanks to their key ingredient – green beans.
They’re an amazing source of vitamin C, A, fiber, and a mineral known as manganese. Green beans also contain much-needed soluble fiber which helps your body keep cholesterol levels in a healthy range.
#3 PECAN PIE
Pecan pie is a decadent sweet holiday dessert and it tends to be on the much higher end when it comes to sugar. However, part of the reason why pecan pie is also much higher in calories is that pecans are a very rich source of healthy, monounsaturated fats. And this is another reason not to think so much about calories and instead focus on nutrients, understanding what these nutrients to do your body. Aside from heart-healthy fats, pecans also pack a ton of minerals and vitamins such as copper, magnesium, zinc, and thiamine.
#4 CANDIED YAMS
Now, you might be thinking: the word candy is in the actual name of this meal. Is there any possible way it can be good for you? Well, while it’s true that candied yams might be high in sugar, let’s focus on the yams themselves for a minute here. Just like white potatoes, yams are an excellent source of potassium. They’re also high in vitamin A, C, B6, and they’re an abundant source of fiber.
When they’re eaten with their skin, they’re very nutrient-dense, so that’s a tweak that you can make to your candied yam recipes so you can make them way more nutritious. If you’re making your yams yourself, halving the sugar you put in them won’t really affect the taste too much, and it will allow more of their natural sweetness to shine through.
#5 RIB ROAST
We all know how important it is to limit the consumption of red meat in our diet to prevent the risk of life-threatening diseases. However, once in a while, a burger or holiday rib roast is totally okay, especially if it’s coming from organic, grass-fed, finished beef. Rib roast is certainly not lacking in the nutrient department, as it is an amazing source of complete protein which your body easily absorbs and utilizes.
It’s also a great source of vitamin B12, and it’s abundant in iron, which is especially important for young men and women as iron is a nutrient countless people are deficient in. Rib roast, of course, is higher in saturated fat as red meats usually tend to be, so make sure to pair it with colorful vegetables and whole grains so you can make for an even healthier meal.