For most of us, Winter is a season of celebration and family. Unfortunately what comes along with that is big family meals and tighter waistlines. So, what can we do to prevent a holiday catastrophe this year? Here are 10 healthy eating options and alternatives for the winter season:
Instead of the Christmas chocolate, you’re destined to be tempted by this holiday season, stick with dark chocolate as a healthier alternative to milk chocolate this winter. Dark chocolate has many different health benefits so aside from a delicious healthy treat you’ll also be enjoying high antioxidant food that fights free-radicals. Free-radicals are damaging compounds in the body that antioxidants protect the body from. Dark Chocolate has also been known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and improve heart health. Talk about a super food and it’s clearly leagues above that milk chocolate Santa you got in your stocking.
We all know that pasta is a warm and homey comfort food during the dark and cold winter months. But it also happens to be packed with carbs which aren’t the best when you’re trying to melt away those holiday season meals. A great alternative is Spaghetti Squash! Believe it or not, one cup of cooked spaghetti squash in only 42 calories! Compare that with a cup of pasta which can come in at 200 calories. Calories aside, spaghetti squash is also rich in antioxidants and promotes a healthy heart. And as an added bonus spaghetti squash actually tastes like spaghetti! Pair it with a red sauce for a healthy delicious meal.
Warm, sweet and crumbly desserts are just part of the winter experience, but destroying your diet and health doesn’t have to be That’s why I recommend warm and sweet Baked Apples as a delicious dessert alternative to Apple Crumble. Along with avoiding all the unnecessary sugars and fats that go along with an Apple Crumble, Apples also possess some added health benefits including the health of your brain! Yes, that’s right, apples help reduce cellular death and may play an important role in preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Much like pasta, rice is another warm and heavy comfort food loaded with carbs that people turn to in the winter months. A great alternative to rice is cauliflower rice. Cauliflower has 25 calories per cup vs. 218 for a cup of cooked brown rice. That’s a substantial calorie saving when you’re trying to burn off that Christmas dinner. On top of that, Cauliflower happens to contain sulforaphane which has been known to kill cancer stem cells, improve blood pressure and kidney function, and is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Mashed potatoes always look great on the dinner table but don’t always feel great, especially in the long term. That’s why sweet potatoes are always the recommended alternative and here’s why. They’re a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin D which means the sweet potato is great for fighting degenerative diseases such as heart attacks, battling cold and flu viruses as well as strengthening your immune system. Talk about a superfood! The more obvious health benefit is of course digestion, with sweet potatoes containing over double the fiber content of regular potatoes!
Sure you can wake up to that big bowl of sugary cereal every morning. But if you’re looking for a healthy alternative, oatmeal is definitely the way to go and it just so happens that oatmeal is packed with nutrients. You can expect manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin b1, vitamin b5 and just happens to be packed with protein and fiber.
Along with being absolutely delicious, Pomegranate juice is a healthier option over those other sugary drinks we consume. They’re also a superfood that happens to be rich in powerful antioxidants! In fact, they have almost 3 times more antioxidants than green tea! Other health benefits include cancer prevention, Alzheimer’s disease protection, digestion, anti-inflammatory, arthritis and heart disease to name a few. Pomegranate juice is a very healthy option this winter and goes well with sitting next to the fire reading a good book.
If you’re looking for a crunchy snack this winter, ditch the chips and opt for some sunflower seeds. Sunflowers seeds are rich in vitamins necessary for a healthy heart including vitamin E and folate. Sunflower seeds also happen to be a potent source of Magnesium which also helps your heart as well as your nervous and immune systems. The best part? Magnesium also supports a healthy mood and was once given to patients suffering from depression and is still plays an essential role in homeopathic therapies for mental health.
Stevia is a miracle plant. Why a miracle? Well, it’s a sweet plant that’s an excellent sugar replacement who’s glucose-like molecules are not absorbed by the blood-stream. This means it doesn’t affect blood sugar! So it’s a perfect replacement for the sugar in your Coffee if you’re thinking about your sugar intake or dieting. On top of that, Stevia has a high nutritional value with a wealth of antioxidant compounds, fiber, protein, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium… the list goes on!