Health & Fitness

8 Foods To Stay Healthy and Lean During The Holidays (And 8 Foods To Avoid)

New York Smash Magazine  

The holiday season is all about being festive and celebrating with family and friends, and part of those festivities involve food. Lots and lots of it.

At holiday parties, it’s tempting to stuff your face with seasonal favorites, like egg nog, and plates upon plates of beef tenderloin and freshly-baked pies.

And there’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging, but many of us worry about going overboard.

During your next trip to the supermarket, you may want to stock up on a few essential foods that can keep you healthy and lean during the holidays, according to Mareya Ibrahim, a nationally-recognized celebrity chef, also known as “The Fit Foodie,” and an expert on clean eating and maintaining a bikini body year-round. Chef Mareya, author of “The Clean Eating Handbook: 31 Essential Rules for Health, Wellness and a Fabulously Fit Life” and creator of, shared with New York Smash these eight foods for a healthy holiday season:

1) Wild caught Salmon

Wild caught salmon

Wild caught salmon

Full of good Omegas, antioxidants and protein to keep your stamina strong for all that shopping and entertaining! Avoid the farm raised varieties. They are fed nasty food and are given synthetic, toxic pigments torichen their color and make them look like the wild caught varieties.

2) Mushrooms

Mushroom Dish

Mushroom Dish

Rich in B vitamins to help you deal with holiday stress; also rich in minerals, very digestible and low calories and easily mimics meat texture; shiitake and oyster mushrooms are an exotic addition to dishes and contain a magical substance called Beta-glucans, which is said to boost immunity and help with allergy resistance.

3) Greek Yogurt

Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads Photo via Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads

Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads
Photo via Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads

Full of protein and a great substitute to heavy sour cream and cream based sauces. I love Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads, perfect for Holiday dips and spreads with the added benefit of probiotics.

4) Citrus Fruit

Citrus Fruit

Citrus Fruit

Vitamin C to boost immunity, plus the smell lifts your mood. Use the zest for lots of vitamins and beautifully scented oil.

5) Dark Chocolate (70 percent or more unsweetened cacao):

Pascha Dark Chocolate

PASCHA Dark Chocolate: Gluten Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free | Photo via

Delicious, full of antioxidants and boosts your mood.

6) Sundried Tomatoes

Sundried Tomatoes

Sundried Tomatoes

Beautiful addition to dishes, and chock full of lycopene for your heart.

7) Cherries



Natural pain reliever (if you’ve had one too many drinks, better than a pill!)

8) Organic Eggs

Organic Eggs

Organic Eggs

Tons of protein, amino acids and antioxidants – plus they satiate your hunger with relatively low calories.

Top 8 Foods To Avoid:

Sugar cookies: Empty calories, sugar and fat and usually covered in artificially colored sprinkles or sugary frostings – blech!

Farm-raised shrimp and other seafood: Farm raised seafood has been linked to higher levels of inflammatory-causing Omega 6’s and much lower good Omega 3’s.

Egg nog: Saturated dairy fat and sugar in a drink!

Fruitcake: Nothing healthy about all that butter, flour and sugary dried fruit!

Buche de Noel: Pretty but void of any nutrient value.

Meats cured with nitrates/nitrites: Nitrates and Nitrites are artificial preservatives that can transform into cancer causing nitrosamines in the stomach. They can also cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Creamed vegetables: Why add cream and butter to disguise the natural beauty of veggies? Eat ‘em fresh or lightly seasoned.

Candy canes: They’re cute but full of sugar and artificial colors – no cavities for Christmas, please.

 About Chef Mareya | The Fit Foodie
Chef Mareya is also known as “The Fit Foodie,” a nationally recognized food safety and clean eating expert, an award-winning entrepreneur, television chef, author and inventor. She is the creator of, the premier lifestyle destination for fit food information. Her book “The Clean Eating Handbook” was released in May 2013 and is being touted as the ‘go-to’ guide for anyone looking to eat cleaner and get leaner. This year she is launching “The Real Dish” a Podcast Show featuring fit food and lifestyle guests. She is a contributor to “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life” by Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman. She is a featured chef on the Emmy-nominated cooking show Recipe Rehab,, and is the local food expert for San Diego Channel 6 News. Her back-page column, “The Fit Foodie”, appears in Edible Orange County Magazine. Mareya is also active in the community and was the recipient of the 2013 Women Making a Difference Award presented by California Senator Lou Correa for demonstrating extraordinary dedication and contributions to public health and well being. She is also the winner of the World’s Best Technology Gold Prize, and the Disney iParenting Award, and was a finalist for Inc. Magazine’s Newpreneur of the Year Award. 

Chef Mareya | | | | |