You don’t need me to tell you that the holidays are a time of indulgence. From cakes and cookies, to eggnog and cider, there are lots of ways to send your diet off a cliff. But among those tables of snacks and sweets are some foods that are a lot healthier than you might think. Head below the jump for 11 foods you can enjoy guilt-free.
Red Wine 1 of 11You might be surprised that red wine can be beneficial to your health since the last time you had some, you tripped and bruised your shin on the front steps of your house, but that's because you drank too much. In moderation, red wine can help promote heart health. Also, an antioxidant in red wine, resveratrol, may reduce the likelihood of blood clotting and inflammation which can lead to heart disease, and also has been (very tentatively) linked to a reduced risk of diabetes and obesity.
Make lamb ragu with a red wine braise
Image Credit: Limegreen
Olive Oil 2 of 11
Grapes 3 of 11Super-sweet grapes can seem like an indulgent snack, but fresh grapes, which are a standby of holiday snack tables, are very nutritious. Rich in resveratrol, catechins, and minerals, grapes pack a powerful nutritional punch. They are also very low in calories -- 1 cup has just over 100 calories. Note that conventional imported grapes can have traces of more than 30 pesticides, so, for optimal health benefits, stick with organic.
Make grape salsa
Cabbage 4 of 11Many think that the healthiest vegetables are the most colorful, and that's usually true, except where Brassica vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage are concerned. Cabbage is actually packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and E. And, this low calorie food also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. So go ahead, have some more slaw--cabbage is great for you!
Make cabbage and pear slaw
Popcorn 5 of 11It's not that popcorn is especially good for you, but as far as snack foods go, popcorn is a pretty good one. With only 31 calories in a cup of popcorn, it's easy to fill up without packing on the pounds. Just skip the butter.
Make homemade popcorn
Coconut Oil 6 of 11Long considered a villain among oils, coconut oil has been receiving a lot of positive attention lately -- not just for its fragrant, nutty flavor, but for it's healthy qualities too. Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that can have a positive effect on "good" cholesterol. Claims have also been made that coconut oil has anti-microbial, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties, though these claims are largely unproven.
Learn more about coconut oil
Image Credit: Rotational
Butter 7 of 11Like a lot of foods on this list, butter gets a bad rap for being high in fat, but the fact is that fat is something that your body needs to function properly. Maybe if it weren't called "fat," people would feel better about enjoying delicious butter, because it's full of the same vitamins and nutrients as other dairy products and has been part of the human diet for thousands of years.
Make brown butter banana bread
Image Credit: Steve Karg, aka Skarg
Whole Milk 8 of 11When you remove the fat from milk, you reduce the vitamins A and D which help your body assimilate the calcium and protein in milk. And besides being potentially easier to digest, a little fat can leave you feeling satisfied and full. Go ahead, enjoy that latte!
Make concord grape ice cream
Image Credit: Janine Chedid
Hamburgers 9 of 11Fast food doesn't have a monopoly on hamburgers. When you make your own at home, you can keep the additives out of the meat, top with fresh veggies, use a whole grain bun and have a high protein dinner that's delicious, fast and healthful.
Make easy sliders with caramelized onions
Greek Yogurt 10 of 11Have you tried trendy Greek yogurt? Well, you may want to since Greek yogurt has twice the protein and half the sugar of its regular counterpart. Be warned though -- Greek yogurt can have more fat than its whole milk yogurt counterparts. Look for low-fat or non-fat versions and you should be on the right track.
Make strawberry country cake with Greek yogurt
Image Credit: Omernos
Bacon 11 of 11Some would argue that bacon's not very healthy, but according to this "researcher", it's actually very good for you (wink!).
Introducing Brinner! 20 mouthwatering breakfast-for-dinner recipes