Holidays can have a way of revolving around food and family and the joy of being together. Does it sometimes seem that parties and holiday celebrations are mostly high fat and high sugar foods? As you plan your shopping list for a holiday meal, look for ingredients that can make family favorite recipes not only tasty but good for you, too. Look for plenty of fresh vegetables like potatoes, both white and sweet, winter squash, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, and green beans. Apples, cranberries and pears can be combined for a tasty salad. Have ever tried adding pomegranates to your salad? Use whole grain rolls and wild rice for the stuffing or as a side dish. You can use the following tips to enjoy foods without all the fat and sugar.
For dips and sauces, use non-fat yogurt or lite sour cream, use egg substitutes instead of whole eggs, try evaporated skim milk instead of whole milk, use low fat cheeses in recipes instead of full fat versions, use lower sodium, fat free chicken broth in your gravies and mashed potatoes, top casseroles with almonds instead of fried onion rings, make hearty appetizers using fresh veggies and fruit, steamed shrimp and low fat dip and whole grain crackers, if you aren’t the host, offer to bring some healthy foods, try to eat a healthy salad before the meal.
The fiber in the vegetables will help to fill you up, don’t bury health foods under fat and sugar: sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and don’t need sugar. Bake them and sprinkle with cinnamon, don’t starve yourself before a holiday meal. Being too hungry can make it difficult to make good food choices and moderate portions, enjoy wonderful cup of flavored coffee or tea to curb temptations of rich desserts, check food websites and cooking magazines for updated health conscious versions of your family’s favorite holiday recipes.
To enjoy your meal and prevent over indulgence, eat slowly, savor each bite and engage in mealtime conversations. Don’t forget to engage in regular physical activity throughout the holiday season and beyond. This can be a great stress reliever. Get the entire family involved—work, bike, play catch, rollerblade or golf. For fun indoors a great game of Scrabble or my favorite with a larger group is a game of Apples to Apples (what dietician wouldn’t love that game?!) Holidays are opportunities to be social with your family and friends, don’t let the food distract you from talking with them. Even if your tables are displaying your favorites, a little forethought and preparation, you can make healthy food choices without the guilt.
Have a healthy and blessed holiday season!