Turkey is a dynamite healthy protein source — unless it’s deep fried and slathered with gravy. Did you know a serving of turkey provides almost half of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid and is a good source of vitamin B, zinc, and potassium? These nutrients have been found to keep blood cholesterol down, protect against cancer and heart disease, and boost the immune system (not bad for an old bird). A normal portion size is usually 3 to 4 ounces — and if you stick to white meat and peel the skin off, you’ll literally save hundreds of calories at the Thanksgiving table.
Sweet potatoes are among the healthiest vegetables around – just leave out the butter, marshmallows, or some other high-calorie holiday sabotage. Keep the flavor very intense without adding fat by roasting your sweet potatoes this year! Sweet potatoes fare bursting with fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and phytochemicals, which stave off aging, cancer, and arthritis.
It’s not the holidays without a slice of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is packed with heart-healthy fiber and vitamin A. Use skim milk and egg substitutes to make any recipe healthier. #SOBikini trick: Avoid accidentally gorging on a high-fat dessert by bringing your own pie, so you know what’s in it.
Prefer pecans to pumpkin? Avoid a heap of high-fat pie! Try sprinkling this star nut over salads, add it to your stuffing, or snack on a few as a precursor to the meal. Pecans are a great source of vitamin E and magnesium, which supports muscle strength. Plus, they’re packed with protein, fiber, and the same “good” fats as olive oil.
My personal holiday favorite spices are nutmeg and cinnamon. Nutmeg, with its nutty, earthy flavor, and cinnamon, which shines with its sweetness, can do a whole lot more than only garnish no #SOBikini eggnog. Mixing these spices into fruit or vegetable sides can help you lower your cholesterol and maintain insulin levels in the blood.
Cranberries are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and fiber content which helps to lower “bad” cholesterol levels. WARNING: because these beautiful berries are nturally low in sugar, many recipes call for large doses of added sweetener. Steer clear of all that sugar and, instead, try adding a sugar substitute like Splenda.
Power to the pomegranates! Not only a gorgeous fruit that is proving its worth as one of the richest sources of antioxidants around, it’s popping up more and more in holiday dishes. You can indulge in the pomegranate’s benefits by simply buying a bottle of its juice to add to your favorite recipe, or sprinkling the pretty seeds over a salad.
While you know wine and cocktails can add unnecessary calories to an already over-the-top meal, wine delivers heart-healthy properties in exchange for the calorie count (about 100 calories per 5-ounce serving). All wine is naturally heart-healthy, but red wines will provide the most antioxidant bang for your calorie buck. Wine tip: the dryer the wine, the higher the concentration of those disease-fighting properties. A #SOBikini tip: To kepp calorie count to a minimum, ask your host of a spritzer! Pour yourself half wine, half calorie-free seltzer water!