With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important not to let our guard down when it comes to our dietary choices. Sure, the eggnog and fruit cake seem appetizing, but beat the holiday weight gain with some of these great food picks.

Pumpkin Seeds

With their nutty taste, these bite-sized seeds are a great source of protein and iron. Pumpkin seeds not only make the perfect afternoon snack, but they are nutritious as well. According to WHfoods.com, Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols — a plant compound that works to help lower cholesterol. Although the seeds tend to taste very bland, you can easily spice it up with this delicious recipe from Allrecipes.com.

Applesauce

Grandma wasn’t lying when she told you an apple a day keeps the doctor away! According to the Huffington Post, apples are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants and help to improve overall cardiovascular health. This December, incorporate apples back into your diet with applesauce. A longtime holiday favorite, applesauce can go with anything from turkey to potato pancakes. Just be sure to choose naturally unsweetened apple sauces, as added sugars aren’t necessarily healthy. If you want to make your own homemade apple sauce, check out this fantastic recipe from Womenshealth.com.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Yes it may be December, but it’s never too cold for great ice cream. Although that hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen might not love you back, coconut milk ice cream makes a great alternative. Made with natural ingredients, coconut milk ice cream is made with half the sugar and fat of regular ice cream. Compared to a medium sized Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae with a whopping amount of 440 calories, Luna and Larry’s Pineapple Coconut ice cream only has 200 calories. With flavors like Vanilla Island, Cappuccino, and Chocolate Walnut Brownie, Luna and Larry’s is totally worth checking out!

Cranberries

Thanksgiving might be over, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the cranberries! According to MSNBC, these small red berries are among the top foods that reap health benefits. The National Institute of Health found that, not only does drinking cranberry juice aid in the prevention of urinary infections, it  also helps improve dental health and prevent tumor growth. Try cranberries with your turkey and stuffing this holiday season or check out these awesome cranberry recipes from Ocean Spray.

Agave Nectar

If you’re anything like me, the holiday season is all about sugar, sugar, sugar. However, sugar is not your body’s best friend, as high amounts of sugar give us that infamous “crash and burn” feeling. Beat your sugar addiction this holiday season with agave syrup. Made from a Mexican cactus plant, this natural sweetener is ideal for diabetics and sugar conscious folks like myself. Keep in mind that, although agave nectar might be a more natural alternative to sugar, sugar is still sugar no matter how you spin it.

What foods are on your mind this month?