Let’s face it the holidays can be a doozy when it comes to calories! It’s dark earlier in the day, there’s a chill in the air, we crave comfort food and desserts are in abundance. Things are glazed, salted and drizzled every time you turn around. It’s not to say you can’t enjoy some of the glaze and drizzle, but too much can add up to lots of added calories. Lots of holiday foods have added sugar, fat and salt because the reality is it tastes good! However, there are other ways to flavor food without all the added calories. Spices can be a great way to create a savory dish or dessert that can even add an extra health benefit! Check out these five ingredients to “spice up your holidays” this Thanksgiving and Christmas:
- Cinnamon: Stay healthy this holiday season with something as simple and sweet as a dash of cinnamon! Try sprinkling it on top of your oatmeal or French toast; add a stick of cinnamon when making coffee, hot cocoa, or tea; or try adding ground cinnamon to turkey, ham, or stuffing for some unique and delicious holiday flavors. Famous for keeping colds at bay, cinnamon also packs a powerful punch when it comes to lowering “bad” cholesterol and controlling your blood sugar. You can prevent heart disease, boost brain function, and improve digestion with a mere teaspoon of cinnamon a day! Need another reason to add this classic holiday spice to your routine this year? Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties as well.
- Nutmeg: This spice has been used since ancient times and is famous worldwide for its ability to improve overall health and healing. Fight fatigue, stress, and boost your concentration with less than one teaspoon a day! This holiday spice also helps prevents heart disease by lowering “bad” cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, and improving circulation. Battling insomnia? Try sprinkling some nutmeg on top of your favorite herbal tea before bed to help you catch some well-deserved zzz’s. Try adding ground nutmeg to classic holiday recipes that include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, or spinach. Sprinkle ground nutmeg onto fresh fruit, your favorite breakfast food, desserts, or even drinks to add a special twist this holiday season.
- Clove: Looking for clever ways to incorporate cloves in your holiday spread this year? Try adding ground cloves when roasting your ham or turkey; pierce an onion with whole cloves when making soups or broths; toss a few whole cloves in with your apple cider; or add a sprinkle of ground cloves in your stuffing, cranberry sauce, or favorite dessert recipe! By adding this traditional spice to your holiday meals, you can boost your body’s ability to fight respiratory infections and also improve digestion. This famous holiday spice also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties that provide endless amounts of health-boosting benefits.
- Garlic: Enhance your health this season and year round by incorporating this savory spice into your favorite recipe. Try pureeing roasted garlic with mashed potatoes to add a special kick to your traditional side dish, add fresh garlic to sauces and soups, or try sautéing leftover turkey or chicken in garlic and olive oil with veggies for a healthy twist on holiday leftovers. Famed for keeping vampires away, turns out garlic can help ward off colds too! This spice also has cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that help lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. By adding a tablespoon or two when cooking, you can kick respiratory infections to the curb, keep your blood sugar in check, and even improve your body’s ability to absorb iron!
- Rosemary: Enhance your health this holiday season by adding a touch of rosemary to your favorite holiday meal. Add a savory kick to traditional dishes such as omelets, soup, homemade bread, and stuffing. Puree fresh rosemary with olive oil for a delicious dipping sauce for bread or try adding to butter for a unique, aw-inspiring twist when putting on a holiday party. Because this nutritional powerhouse is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, a sprinkle of rosemary may help you stay healthy this cold and flu season. This herb also helps keep blood sugar in check and relieves stomach problems by easing nausea and indigestion. Add a dash of memory-boosting rosemary to help you remember all of the sweet memories made this holiday season!