Quantcast
Shutterstock

Here Are Some Holiday Season Foods That Are Actually Good For You

These are the foods that you can totally enjoy this Christmas. Eat up, sis.

Food & Drink

If there's one thing that I think we all can agree on, it's the fact that one of the best things about this time of year is all of the good home-cooked eatin' that we get to partake of. It's like, no matter whose house you walk into, there's gonna be some sort of casserole, freshly-baked pie or traditional family recipe that the host is going to be more than happy to offer you—and you're gonna be more than happy to oblige.

Problem is, even when it comes to holiday cooking and eating, there is such a thing as going overboard. Even though most of us only gain 1-2 pounds by the time the New Year officially gets to going, it's still important to go easy on foods that may taste good but aren't exactly the healthiest for you and your system. For the record, some that top the list include eggnog, pot roast, cheesecake, sausage stuffing, croissants, and just about any kind of dip that you can think of. The main reason is because they are loaded with fat and calories.

That's the bad news. The good news is there are several "traditional holiday foods" that are actually pretty good for you (especially if you prepare them in a healthy way). If you're ready to know what you actually can chow down on without having any guilt, here are 10 foods that both your taste buds and digestive system will love.

1. Turkey

Shutterstock

Most of us know that if anything can trigger "itis" in our system, it's turkey. The reason why is because it has a lot of the nutrient tryptophan in it, and since that is what helps our bodies to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin which helps us to sleep…there you have it. But that's not all that turkey is able to do. It's high in protein, niacin and vitamin B3, B6 and B12. If it's skinless and roasted, it's low in fat. Turkey contains less cholesterol than chicken, beef or pork. It's also rich in zinc, selenium and phosphorus. Oh, and as you or one of your relatives is carving the turkey up, if you're curious about if white or dark meat is best, while I'm a dark meat kind of gal myself, it's actually the white kind that wins out; it's got less fat and more vitamins.

One more thing—as far as the "itis" goes, I recently read "Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?" which claims that turkey making us sleepy is a myth. Personally, I still feel that it does. Then again, maybe it's the combo of the turkey and the dressing and the mac 'n cheese that sends us over the edge. Nonetheless, I'd be remiss if I didn't advise that you not eat a turkey leg and drive right after. Don't say a sista didn't warn you.

Try This: Herb Roasted Turkey Recipe

2. Pumpkin

Unsplash

Hands down, one of the most popular foods during this time of the year is pumpkin. It's a fruit that is actually a winter squash that's good for you in a lot of different ways. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber as well as vitamins A, B2, C, E, copper, potassium and manganese. Because it's made up of almost 95 percent water, it's a low-calorie food. Some of its other health benefits include the fact that pumpkin is high in antioxidants, the iron in it will help to keep your red blood cells in good shape, and pumpkin contains compounds that are good for your skin as well.

Try This: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Graham Cracker Crumble Recipe

3. Cranberries

Shutterstock

Cranberry sauce. Cranberry muffins. Apple crisp with cranberries in it. These are some of the dishes that come to mind whenever I think about how cranberries are incorporated into the holiday season. They are another fruit that you can feel good about because they're a superfood that contain powerful antioxidants to fight off the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries also have the ability to remove toxins and build-up in your digestive tract. They are also able to reduce your risk of heart disease and fight the cells that lead to breast and lung cancer too. Something else that's cool about cranberries is they've got polyphenols (micronutrient compounds) to build up your immune system so that the dreaded cold and flu bugs can be kept at bay.

Try This: Healthy Cranberry Sauce Recipe

4. Green Beans

Shutterstock

When it comes to green beans, let's actually go with the bad news first. Although green bean casserole is a staple on a lot of people's holiday season menu, it's important to avoid using a ton of canned soup and fried onions while preparing it. Since both of those are considered to be processed foods, this means that they've also got more than their fair share of preservatives and sodium in them.

That said, green beans themselves are super good for you. For starters, they've got folate, vitamins A, C and K, and the chemical element silicon (which is really good for your skin and hair) in it. Some other perks include the fact that green beans contain no cholesterol, they've got a good amount of protein, calcium and magnesium in them, and they're 31 calories per serving which means that you can have more than a couple of servings, if you'd like.

Try This: Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

5. Ginger

Shutterstock

Gingerbread. Ginger tea. Ginger cookies. There's a good chance that you'll have at least one of these things before the new year rolls around—and yes, since ginger is in them, you're in good hands. The best thing about this particular spice is it has the bioactive compound gingerol in it. Thanks to gingerol, if you've got this in your system, the medicinal properties in it will help to fight off any cold-related symptoms. Some other benefits of ginger is, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness (if you consume it daily); lowers blood sugar levels in your system; treats chronic indigestion; reduces menstrual pain and discomfort and, of course, it's the go-to for motion sickness and pregnancy-related nausea.

So yeah, keep some ginger tea bags or some crystalized ginger in tow if you're about to board a flight, if you know you're about to eat more cobbler than you should, or if you are newly expecting (congrats if you are, by the way!). By consuming some, you'll feel much better.

Try This: Healthy Gingerbread Muffins Recipe

6. Collards

Shutterstock

Would it even be a traditional holiday meal without collard greens? Hmph. Not if you're sittin' at a Black family's table, it wouldn't. And yes, this is a food that also makes the list because dark leafy greens always have our back. When it comes to collards, in particular, they have about four grams of protein per serving in them. They are also high in vitamins A, B6, C, E and K. The amino acids that are in collards have a remarkable way of detoxifying your liver and boosting your immune system while the Vitamin K that are in them will help to keep your bones nice and strong. The key is to prepare them without all of the bacon, salt and fat. Yeah, collards are a brilliant example that, when it comes to healthy eating, it's not always about the food itself but how you prepare it.

Try This: Simple Garlic Sautéed Collard Greens Recipe

7. Yams

Shutterstock

It really can't be said enough. Although sweet potatoes and yams are both "tuber vegetables", they are not the same; they aren't even related.

The reason why this is important to mention is because I can't tell you how many times that I've been grocery shopping with someone who will pick up a sweet potato and think that it's "all good" because it's basically a yam. It isn't. But if you're looking forward to sitting down to some yams this year, you can smile about it because yams contain compounds that bring premenstrual and menopausal relief. Some other great benefits are the fact that yams are also able to lower bodily inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, improve liver and kidney function and bring relief that's associated with rheumatoid arthritis too. Yams have fiber, copper, potassium, manganese and antioxidants in them as well so there's no reason to avoid getting your fill.

Try This: Baked Candied Yams—Soul Food Style Recipe

8. Pecans

Shutterstock

If something within is trying to make you feel guilty for having a slice of pecan pie, don't. Pecans are also a food that's really good for you. A fun fact about this nut is it's got more antioxidants than any other nut does. Some other bonuses include the fact that pecans contain monounsaturated fats like oleic acid that are good for your heart, fiber to keep you regular, magnesium to keep you calm and relaxed, and zinc, folate and Vitamin E to keep your skin and hair looking and feeling beautiful. Speaking of beauty, something else that's in pecans is ellagic acid; that provides anti-aging benefits. As far as your hair goes, the amino acid L-arginine that's in them can trigger hair growth. So yeah girl, have that pie. Just remember that it's one thing to have a slice. It's another to eat an entire pie in one sitting. Balance. Balance is key.

Try This: Healthy Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

9. Cocoa

Unsplash

Whether you're planning on making a dessert out of cocoa or you like nothing more than drinking hot cocoa with a few marshmallows in it, this is something else that is good for your health. Cocoa contains antioxidants that help to fight off free radicals as it also reduces your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Cocoa has also been proven to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the brain and even improve depression-related symptoms. Another awesome thing about cocoa is it's got flavanols in it that help to fight type 2 diabetes too. The main thing to keep in mind here is to not "water down the effects" of the cocoa by adding a ton of sugar to it. Also, since not all cocoas are created equal, in order to get the most benefits possible, check out "The 10 Best Cocoa Powders in 2019" to help you figure out which one to buy.

Try This: 5-Minute Vegan Hot Cocoa Recipe

10. Sangria

Shutterstock

C'mon. You've got to turn up, at least a little bit over the holidays, right? Although a lot of us are more than happy to drink a glass or two of sangria pretty much any time of the year, it's not uncommon to see more than your fair share of it during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since the traditional recipe calls for apples, oranges, peaches, lemons, plums and sometimes strawberries, along with some good ole' red wine—yeah, make it a point to make at least two full pitches of it this holiday season. Just the resveratrol and polyphenols in red wine that help to protect your blood vessels and heart should be enough of a reason to drink and be merry. So, indulge in some old-fashioned sangria. It's just one more reason to look forward to sitting around the holiday-themed dinner table with your loved ones. Enjoy!

Try This: The Ultimate Holiday Sangria Recipe

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Feature image by Shutterstock

Originally published on November 27, 2019

Queen Latifah is saying no to unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles especially when it comes to her career. Since the beginning, the rapper/actress has always been a body-positive role model thanks to the range of characters she has played over the years that shows that size doesn’t matter. In an interview with PEOPLE, The Equalizer star opened up about taking on roles that don't compromise her health.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Getty Images

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

Keep reading...Show less

TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

In early 2022, the world felt like it slowed down a bit as people digested the shocking news of beauty pageant queen Cheslie Kryst, who died by suicide. When you scroll through her Instagram, the photos she had posted only weeks before her death were images of her smiling, looking happy, and being carefree. You can see photos of her working, being in front of the camera, and doing what I imagine was her norm. These pictures and videos, however, began to spark a conversation among Black women who knew too well that feeling like you're carrying the world on your shoulders and forcing yourself to smile through it all to hide the pain.

Keep reading...Show less

Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts