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Healthy Christmas Dishes | Healthy Foods for the Holiday Season – Health News Today

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Sure, the holiday season is notorious for rich, indulgent dishes and desserts that might have you adjusting your bibs before your next ride. But what if you looked at those dishes as delicious fuel packed with nutrients that will help you perform and recover?

“Some of my best workouts are during the holidays because of the food,” says Virginia-based sports dietitian Kristen Chang, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.S.D. “The surplus of energy can be beneficial.”

For many, the winter and holiday season is also the off-season. So while that may mean fewer intense workouts, it also gives your body time to rest and recoup, Chang says.

“For me, the combination of more rest and extra fuel leads to breakthrough workouts,” she says, recommending people pair heavy dishes with lighter ones to balance everything out.

She also emphasizes the fact that the holiday season—a few hearty meals—is just one moment in time and not to get hung up on whether you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat something you enjoy.

“Comfort foods have a place in our diets,” she says. “One day of overindulging, so to speak, isn’t going to break anything. It’s about consistency over time, just like training. Just like one ‘bad’ workout won’t affect the entirety of your performance or progression.”

Below, Chang weighs in on some of her favorite nutrient-packed holiday ingredients that make healthy Christmas dishes.

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Hummus Dip

healthy christmas dishes

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Before you head to the dinner table, appetizers are in order. Pair your favorite crudités—carrots, peppers, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C and fiber—with a protein-packed hummus dip. A fun (and seasonal) spin on hummus, Chang says, is pumpkin hummus. When you add canned pumpkin to your chickpea-based app, you’ll get added color, vitamin A, and fiber.

As a bonus, hummus is a tasty vehicle for munching on extra veggies before the main event.

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Fish

healthy christmas dishes

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While Christmas dinner is often synonymous with ham, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-inspired Christmas Eve dinner highlighting, well, seven types of fish and seafood. Fish and seafood are high-quality sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. As any cyclist can attest, protein is crucial for muscle health, and omega-3s can help fight inflammation associated with hard workouts, Chang says.

Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.

While baked salmon isn’t technically part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Chang makes it the star of her Christmas dinner. Salmon is also a good source of

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