12 Ways To Eat Clean All Season Long

Live a little! We've got the 12 cleanest, healthiest, low- and no-carb picks found throughout the holiday season. Healthy holidays are happy holidays!

The holidays are almost upon us—and with them, a not-so-merry minefield of edible indulgences. Becoming savvy about the chemical makeup of what's on the buffet table—be it pre-packaged cookies, frozen hors d'oeuvres, processed grains, or refined sugars—can keep you lean and fit without your missing out on the fun.

"Clean eating is about avoiding packaged products and engaging in a diet rich in non-processed foods—things that come from the earth," says Manhattan-based nutritionist Sharon Richter, R.D. "Think fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources, like fish."

Give yourself the gift of good eating this season with 12 of our favorite ways to indulge in the flavor of the holidays without packing on pounds.

1 / Dark Green Vegetables

These healthy finger foods are a powerful source of cardiovascular-boosting folate and also very low in carbs (four spears of asparagus contain only 2.5 grams). So, whether it's raw broccoli, asparagus, or baked kale chips, these slimming snacks have the satisfying bonus of crunch.

2 / Shellfish

Found on many a holiday-party table, shrimp cocktail, raw oysters, and clams with a spritz of lemon add a super-low-fat, no-carb protein punch to festive snacking, with an added boost of zinc and vitamins B and D.

3 / Cinnamon

Not only does this spice conjure up images of warm kitchens and festive baked goods, it also happens to be incredibly good for you.

A natural bacteria fighter and memory booster, cinnamon is also a great flavor enhancer on treats like baked apples, Richter says. One teaspoon has only two grams of carbs and six calories.

4 / Matcha

It's easy to be tempted by a high-calorie, cream-laden latte, but one tall Starbuck's peppermint white-chocolate mocha has 410 calories and 15 grams of fat. Instead, opt for matcha.

This powdered, whole-leaf green tea has zero carbs and is loaded with antioxidants that boost energy and improve brain function.

5 / Lean Meats

Opt for lean, baked turkey or chicken breast at the party's carving station and you can have a clean, protein-packed meal with half the fat of beef. Bonus: A three-ounce serving is a low-carb treat with nearly 20 grams of protein.

6 / Pomegranate

Pomegranates are abundant during the winter months (and make a festive centerpiece at any holiday gathering). They're also a potent source of antioxidants kicking bad cholesterol, jacked-up blood pressure, and carcinogens to the curb. A half cup of seeds has 16 grams of carbohydrates, but it's also got three healthy grams of fiber and 15 percent of your daily dose of
vitamin C.

7 / Tomatoes

Condiments are a big no-no when trying to eat clean, so instead of reaching for corn-syrup-laden ketchup or sodium-packed salsa, go for chopped tomatoes with slivered fresh basil for minimal carbs and plenty of vitamin C.

8 / Dark Chocolate

It's kind of hard to believe something that tastes so decadent could be good for cardiovascular health—not to mention can help fight premature aging and cancer.

But it's true: A one-ounce square is only a 13-gram carbohydrate indulgence.

9 / Roasted Garlic

Aromatically irresistible and delicious as a spread on whole-grain toast points, garlic is also a powerful antioxidant and immune-boosting power food that increases blood flow and lowers cholesterol.

That's not all: One clove of roasted garlic has only one gram of carbs.

10 / Citrus

Abundant in the winter months, citrus fruits are versatile, colorful, immune-boosting beverage companions. Yes, fruit does have carbs—that six-ounce glass of orange juice has 18 grams per ounce—but it's accompanied by a whopping 150% serving of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

11 / Salmon

At your next holiday party, feel free to indulge in that plate of salmon. You'll get not just a healthy shot of omega-3 fatty acids but a jolt of B3s and 12s to boot, says Richter.

Just make sure you look for wild-sourced versions, as they tend to be healthier than farmed fish.

12 / Whole Grains

Refined grains have their healthy bran and germ stripped away, so all their good-for-you properties are lost in the process, too.

Whole-grain crackers, bread, pita, popcorn, and brown rice, on the other hand, are great sources of munchable complex carbohydrates (a one-ounce serving of whole-wheat crackers has about 19 grams of carbs, and the carb content of one cup of airpopped popcorn is only six grams) with loads of magnesium, selenium, and fiber. They're also low in fat but big on texture and flavor.




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TMoney75

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TMoney75

the examples are really gonna help me fix my diet

Nov 20, 2012 7:30pm | report
 
elmeato

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elmeato

when its mentioned "dark chocolate", how "dark" is it?

are we talking like 50% and above? 50%? 60%? 70%?

Nov 20, 2012 8:18pm | report
 
NiasBalata

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NiasBalata

the perfect rate is 70%

Nov 21, 2012 12:53am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'11"
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cldillmann1

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cldillmann1

go for 100% cocoa. throw a Tbsp in you milk with cereal... delicious

Nov 21, 2012 6:25am | report
M-E-L-O

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M-E-L-O

the perfect rate is 60%

Nov 21, 2012 9:54am | report
abquester

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abquester

@cldillmann1

Is Hershey's, natural unsweetened cocoa good for health?

Nov 26, 2012 4:19pm | report
RunCruzRun

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RunCruzRun

All is good, the higher the the cocoa the higher the amount of antioxidants but watch out in the Ingredients section if it may say "Dutch Processed" or "Alkalai Processed" because when cocoa is being processed by one of these it loses a majority of its antioxidant content. for taste range i find 50-65 percent delicious, 70 and higher is too strong for my taste but give it a shot if you'd like. (Taste based on eating it plain)

Dec 30, 2012 9:33pm | report
cldillmann1

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cldillmann1

I wash my foods thats how i eat clean

Nov 21, 2012 6:24am | report
 
tygeruppercut

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tygeruppercut

Great stuff.

Nov 21, 2012 11:54am | report
 
JamaLDweik

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JamaLDweik

Lean Meat. My Main Meal

Nov 21, 2012 1:22pm | report
 
mws13

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mws13

great list. all of these are already part of my diet. You got your complete proteins, vitamins, minerals, pytonutrients.

Nov 22, 2012 8:37pm | report
 
fitnina

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fitnina

about dark chocolate ! even the very dark 85% organics contain wheat flour , butter, soy for shelf life which all this has side effects more than benefit from chocolate ! i get raw 100% pure organic chocolate and dark cocoa powder 100% pure organic !:)

Nov 23, 2012 4:30am | report
 
gashli74

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gashli74

Where have you found 100%? the darkest I can ever find id 85%

Dec 4, 2012 8:16pm | report
AriaTheBuilder

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AriaTheBuilder

i agree with you a hundred percent i even get the raw cacao nibs! mixed with oatmeal they can be pretty tasty as well! but good point

Dec 7, 2012 1:30pm | report
atengwall

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atengwall

I love articles like this. I walk away with so much more knowledge.

Nov 23, 2012 9:47pm | report
 
Armom

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Armom

In our country we get Chemical mixed fruits and vegetables :@ :( :( (Means formalin added)
So how can we eat fresh vegetables and fruits?
Any suggestion in this? O_O

Nov 24, 2012 3:47am | report
 
ToBuyaGunXX

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ToBuyaGunXX

I dominate tomatoes..

Nov 24, 2012 11:19am | report
 
michalise

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michalise

very helpful thanks

Nov 26, 2012 5:50am | report
 
knkbgg

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knkbgg

Seems simple enough. Most of the foods listed here I eat already. I still cannot stomach raw broccoli but I am all about steamed broccoli.

Nov 26, 2012 8:42am | report
 
ianbecker5

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ianbecker5

Thanks, I think I will make up a batch of Baked Cinnamon Apples just for me, that should do the trick of keeping my hands off the choc. chip cookies and pies.

Dec 17, 2012 8:56am | report
 
tpe932

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tpe932

great info

Jan 8, 2013 7:14pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 21 of 21 Comments

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