Healthy Holiday Eating (Slideshow)

Tips on what to eat and what to avoid this holiday season

Avoid: Eggnog

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A relatively small 4-ounce serving of egg nog can come close to 200 calories, 10 grams of total fat, and more than 70 milligrams of cholesterol. Healthy servings of alcohol are limited to 4 ounces daily for women and 8 ounces daily for men. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, making food choices less favorable.

Avoid: High-Fat Cheese (Brie, Full-Fat Cheddar, Roquefort

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Too many of these saturated fat foods can increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Luckily there are healthier cheeses out there. Look for low-fat mozzarella, low-fat goat cheese, and Neufchatel. Be sure to limit your servings to 1 to 2 ounces daily or less.

Avoid: Prime Rib

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This cut is usually a holiday favorite. But this cut also comes from the fattest part of the cow. One restaurant-size portion may contain up to 750 calories, 45 grams of fat, and 450 milligrams of cholesterol without even adding sauce or any seasoning! This holiday, serve lean cuts such as organic, grass-fed sirloin and tenderloin.

Avoid: Swedish meatballs

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Most recipes start with a blend of beef and pork, pan-fry them, and then add white bread, butter, heavy cream, and high-sodium beef broth. When making this recipe at home, look for lighter versions that include turkey meat, low-sodium stock, and lots of herbs and spices.

Avoid: Starbucks White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha

Christmas — Total: 1,814 Calories
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A Grande (16 ounce) serving of this favorite holiday beverage contains 540 calories. The added ingredients of chocolate- and peppermint-flavored syrups, whipped cream, and dark chocolate end up to be about 76 grams or 18 teaspoons of sugar in one serving!

Go For: Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes taste sweet and are full of antioxidants. They are low on the glycemic index scale and very high in fiber, therefore they can help to regulate your blood sugar. They contain rich amounts of beta carotene, which is important for healthy eye sight.

Go For: Dark Chocolate

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Taken medicinally, 1 ounce daily, dark chocolate can help to protect your heart. This dessert favorite can help to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate also contains certain chemicals, which can uplift your mood and help you to feel happy.

Go For: Fresh Cranberries

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Cranberries are extremely high in fiber, have anti-inflammatory properties, and can fight cancer. This holiday, break away from using your same old canned cranberry sauce and get optimal benefits from using the whole berry form.

Go For: White, Breast Meat, No Skin Turkey

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This holiday, choose organic, pasture-raised turkey. Turkeys that were allowed to forage in mixed vegetation were found to have greater amount of omega-3 fats in their meats versus conventional birds. Turkey is lean, low fat, and high in protein.

Go For: Brussels Sprouts

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These green goodies are part of the cruciferous family of vegetables and are known for being cancer-fighters. Cooking your Brussels sprouts will supply you with the most nutrition. Sprouts are high in fiber and a strong cholesterol-lowering food.