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Consumer Reports: Some holiday foods are healthier than you think

Posted at 7:26 AM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 08:26:29-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For some of us, the holidays just aren’t complete without certain traditional delights. Think nuts, hot chocolate, and pumpkin pie. It’s true many of them are not necessarily healthy foods, but Consumer Reports says there may be reason to cheer!

"As long as you moderate your intake — that’s the catch — you can feel OK about eating some of these nutrient-packed foods," said Amy Keating with Consumer Reports.

Chestnuts may not live up to their “nut” brethren when it comes to protein, but these holiday favorites are rich in fiber, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and potassium.

If you’re not a fan, go for the nuts, also full of nutritional value, but keep in mind a half cup of almonds has about 400 calories compared to just 175 for the same amount of chestnuts.

If Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, by all means, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa! The key antioxidant flavanols found in cacao beans are used to make chocolate. They help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. But skip the instant mixes and make your own, using unsweetened cocoa or even melted chocolate and add some low-fat milk for a calcium boost.

“More often than not, packaged foods and mixes have added ingredients that aren’t good for you, like added sugars and sodium, so it’s usually best to make it fresh," Keating said.

In their natural state, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, full of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants! But when these fantastic foods become pie, they lose some of their superpowers.

How about eggnog? Well, maybe it's good we only enjoy this treat once a year! Made with heavy cream and milk, it’s full of saturated fat and sugar. While its Caribbean counterpart Coquito is made with coconut milk, it too is high in saturated fat and sugar. Sprinkle with pistachios and nutmeg for added nutrients. Still, enjoy only a small serving, and savor the taste of the holiday.

If you do enjoy a bit too much over the holidays, Consumer Reports says don’t beat yourself up: the new year is a nice reset by adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet.