6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Holiday Foods That Are Healthy-ish

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s the holiday season and there is no shortage of feasts filled with favorite foods and maybe some over indulgence. But you might be surprised to know that some of the seasons’ most popular indulgences actually have some nutritious value – but there’s a catch!

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,” says Consumer Reports’ Amy Keating.

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.

And if Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, by all means enjoy a hot cup of cocoa! The key antioxidant, flavanol is found in cacao beans 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,” says Keating.

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.

And 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.

And 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.