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Tips for Enjoying the Holidays While Still Eating ‘Cleaner’

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, or processed grains, and 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…

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