"Several foods we consume this time of year are actually good for you when prepared with minimal added fat, sugar and salt, and consumed in moderation," Stacey Snelling, a registered dietitian and associate dean at American University's School of Education, Teaching and Health, said in a statement.
The health benefits of some holiday food include:
-- White turkey meat is low in fat, high in protein, high in B vitamins, and low in fat and calories compared with dark turkey meat.
-- Cranberries are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol free, high in fiber, and high in vitamins A and C.
-- Sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and high in vitamins A and C, and fiber.
-- Red wine is fat-free and high in heart-healthy antioxidants, but only one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two per day for men is recommended.
-- Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants.
-- Broccoli is low in calories, fat-free, and high in vitamins A and C.
-- Green beans are low in calories, fat-free, high in vitamins C and K, and high in fiber.
-- Green peas are fat-free, high in vitamin K and high in fiber.
Holiday spices might also offer benefits, Snelling said.
"Some research has found that cinnamon may lower blood sugar, improve diabetes and aid in bacterial infections," Snelling said.