Healthy Holiday Alternatives

Tis' the season for Christmas cookies, holiday parties, and massive amounts of food. If you're like me, you're wondering how you can enjoy the holiday without expanding your waistline. Don't fret though. You can still enjoy all of your Christmas parties and family get-togethers. There are plenty of healthy food alternatives out there that you can enjoy (in moderation) without packing on the pounds and giving Santa a run for his money.

Here are a list of foods that you are likely to find at holiday gatherings that will help keep you on track.

1. Berries - Whether they're chocolate covered or not, they are still full of antioxidants and are said to lower blood pressure and help your heart health. So next time you're at a party, grab a hand full of berries instead of that chocolate chip cookie.  

2. Bruschetta - Often, this topping contains olive oil, garlic, basil and tomatoes, all which have lots of healthy properties, and even when put on a piece of bread, is certainly better for you than a creamy party dip is.

3. Shrimp Cocktail- This is a great alternative when deciding on which appetizer you want to eat. Shrimp has a low calorie count, contains antioxidants and is a source of lean protein.Just go light on the cocktail sauce and you've got yourself one healthy appetizer.  

4. Fruit and Cheese- An excellent snack when you're picking on food at a party, the sweetness of the fruit makes you forget you're choosing a healthy "dessert" alternative and the cheese is packed with protein and calcium.Don't go too heavy on the cheese, because of fat content, but a few pieces should certainly be satisfying enough.  

5. Nuts - A staple at every holiday party are the nuts (and no, I don't mean family). I'm talking about an actual bowl of mixed nuts. The bonus is that they're easy to grab a handful of and they pack a punch with their health benefits, including containing heart-healthy fats, fiber, and is said to help lower cholesterol. Just don't go overboard. A handful or two will do so that you don't take in too much salt.

6. Angel Food Cake - A nice dessert alternative if you've really got a sweet tooth. Add some strawberries and even a dollop of whipped cream (it is the holidays) and you've got yourself a dessert that won't have you afraid to hop on the scale the next morning.

7. Red wine - If you're at a holiday gathering, chances are that you are going to want to enjoy a drink during the celebrations. The tip is to, of course, not drink too much, to save yourself the headache next morning and not waste calories. Also, choose red wine over liquor. The health benefits of wine outweigh liquor or any type of mixed drink. And, if you are looking for something non-alcoholic, try a club soda with lime or seltzer water.

And, if you really must have some of that chocolate cake or creamy party dip, go ahead - just have half as much as you normally would. Trust me, you'll still feel satisfied.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

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