Health

13 Traditional Holiday Eats That Enhance Your Running

Instead of labeling these holiday foods as 'off-limits' you can take the time to learn how they can benefit your body—and run!

holiday foods

Chances are you will soon be enjoying some big turkey dinners, lavish meals and party buffets—it’s that season! It’s part of our culture to indulge this time of year, but that’s not a bad thing. Instead of labeling holiday dishes as “off-limits calorie bombs” or “dangerous temptations,” here’s a look at why you might want a little of everything on your plate—and how these foods can enhance your running…

Turkey

Muscle-fueling protein is the big win in this main dish. White meat has fewer calories and less fat, while the dark meat is more nutrient dense (think zinc and iron). Have some of both!

Stuffing

The grains in this comfort food contain fiber, antioxidants and carbohydrates to power your next workout. If you add some vegetables, fruits and seeds or nuts, you’ll be able to feel good about even more health benefits.

Roasted Vegetables

Going for a colorful mix of veggies will deliver a wider array of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Potatoes are high in potassium, which helps to prevent sore, cramping muscles. Carrots deliver eye-boosting vitamin A. Beets reduce inflammation in the body and boost your energy levels through nitrates.

Gravy

Homemade gravy is the best way to capitalize on the tasty turkey tidbits that would otherwise end up at the bottom of the pan, and it has less salt, sugar and preservatives than most canned varieties. You might not realize that just 1 Tbsp. can deliver nearly 1 gram of protein too!

Brussels Sprouts

These tasty morsels are high in antioxidants and fiber and low in calories, but don’t overcook them—not only will they lose their nutritional punch but they’ll smell bad. Pair with nuts or dried fruits to amp up the side-dish experience.

Cranberry Sauce

The vitamin C in this staple of any Thanksgiving will keep your immune fighters strong as you travel. Bonus points if you make your own!

Nuts

Healthy fats and protein make nuts a friend of vegetarians come Turkey Day. Plus, the unshelled versions are perfect for snacking while you’re waiting for the main event, since you can’t eat too many if you’re cracking your own.

Mulled Cider

A glass of cider can actually count as a serving of fruit and the spices in the mulled stuff will have their own added benefits—cinnamon helps fight inflammation.

Wine

Remember the heart-healthy resveratrol in a glass of vino. The antioxidant decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and prevents blood clots.

Pumpkin Pie

Even though it’s creamy, this pie is rife with fiber—1 cup of pumpkin has 7 grams and the filling in a slice could be as much as 5 grams. That rich color screams beta-carotene, which is great for healthy skin.

Fruit-Laden Dessert

Whether it’s a tart or galette or even a pizza, the option that’s laden with a variety of fanciful fruit will please your palate and your body. Berries, fresh figs and dates are particularly good at keeping blood sugar steady.

Fruit Pie

If apple pie is your jam, note the polyphenols in the fruit that help defend against cancer and allergies. Blueberries, with their antioxidants, fight aging.

Whipped Cream

If you’re actually whipping up heavy cream for this special occasion, then you’re getting real dairy and bone-building calcium.