Nutritious Substitutions for Holiday Junk

The holidays are over. You’re as stuffed as the turkey you ate, and eggnog now runs through your veins.


Alicia Kendig, MS, RD, a sports dietician at Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado Springs, shows you how to bounce back for workouts, make sure you’re ready for the next meet and boost your immune system to boot with some tasty substitutions to wean yourself away from those holiday temptations.


Holiday Temptation: Store-bought Fruit Cake
Why it’s bad: Can be full of simple sugars (like high fructose corn syrup), trans fats, chemical preservatives.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Angel Food Cake w/ fresh fruit

Why it’s good: Typically baked with egg whites, a great source of lean protein.  The treat is the fresh fruit.


Holiday Temptation: Hot Coffee Drinks
Why it’s bad: Known as liquid candy, usually made with high-fat milk, high sugar syrup and whipped cream.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Hot Chocolate made with skim milk.

Why it’s good: Skim milk is naturally loaded with calcium, often fortified with Vitamins A and D (but you have to ask for it in restaurants and coffee shops.) Reduces useless simple sugar calories and saturated fat.


Holiday Temptation: Gravy
Why it’s bad: Merely fat drippings from meat (saturated fat) with added flour and water.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Cranberry Sauce.

Why it’s good: Eliminates saturated fats, adds Vitamin C and dietary fiber.  Provides a high dose of antibiotic-like nutrients to fight off infection.


Holiday Temptation: Cookies
Why it’s bad: Add very little nutritional value. High fat and sugar.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Fresh fruit w/ nonfat vanilla yogurt.

Why it’s good: Fruit is nature’s candy, with minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals to fight off colds during intense training. High in carbs for fuel.  Yogurt’s live cultures maintain digestive system health.


Holiday Temptation: Cheese and Crackers
Why it’s bad: Beware. Traditional Ritz, Saltine and Club crackers pack calories, fat, cholesterol and preservatives.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Hummus and Pita.

Why it’s good: Substitutes saturated fats with monounsaturated fats.  Olive oil is linked to improving eye and joint health, and boosts your immune system. 


Holiday Temptation: Honey Roasted Nuts
Why it’s bad: A good food gone bad. Adds even more calories to a nutrient-dense, but high-calorie snack.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Dry Roasted Almonds/Walnuts.

Why it’s good: Two of the best nuts based on good- to bad-fats ratio. Adds Vitamin E, manganese, copper, and riboflavin.


Holiday Temptation: Smokies
Why it’s bad: Mini sausage links are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  BBQ sauces contain corn syrup, other refined sugars.

Healthy Alternative for the New Year: Teriyaki Chicken Skewer.

Why it’s good: Skinless chicken breast is one of the best forms of animal lean protein for growth, maintenance, and repair of muscles. Hefty amount of B vitamins for energy.

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