If the upcoming holiday season has you daydreaming about decadent family meals, delicious desserts and simply divine cocktail parties, you’re not alone. While overindulging might seem like a holiday tradition for some people, it doesn’t have to be for you.
Read on for some easy tips to savor the season while keeping your grocery list off the naughty list.
Festive Fruits and Veggies
Winter fruits and vegetables can be the star of your holiday gatherings with the right preparations and recipes.
• Winter squash and sweet potatoes—both rich in vitamin A and fiber—can be prepared in so many ways. For a new twist on your holiday must-haves, add these delicious veggies to your family’s favorite casserole, or mix into a soup or stew for a filling treat.
• Try making your own cranberry sauce with antioxidant rich cranberries or mixing them into a favorite dessert for some added tartness.
• Don’t forget your greens! Bagged salads are easy and foolproof, just open the bag, add your favorite ingredients, and you’ve got an easy and nutritious side dish.
Fantastic Frozen Foods
Save yourself time and stress with bagged and ready-to-go frozen foods this holiday.
• Low in fat and high in protein, shrimp is versatile enough to go from the hors d’oeuvres table to the dinner plate. Serve as shrimp cocktail for a low-calorie appetizer, or sauté with garlic and olive oil and pair with pasta for a delicious holiday meal.
• Take advantage of frozen fruits and veggies! Frozen at their peak, the frozen counterparts of your favorite fresh produce are a timesaving swap that are as delicious as they are nutritious. Stock your freezer with an assortment of veggies like Brussels sprouts, squash and green beans to for a quick side dish.
Healthy Baking Substitutes
Everyone looks forward to dessert, so why not use healthy substitutions to lighten up your favorite goodies.
• Try substituting whole wheat flour for white flour when you can.
• Unsweetened applesauce can be used in place of sugar when baking holiday cookies and other treats.
• Choose your oils wisely. Look for avocado, canola, flaxseed or walnut oils, which are mild in flavor, but pack heart-healthy fats.
It’s easy to pack on the fat and calories when snacks are abundant at family gatherings. Stick to these suggestions to stay healthy:
• Nuts are a great snack! You’ll benefit from the omega-3s and vitamin E (choose roasted and unsalted when possible).
• A veggie platter is always a great choice for a bring-along appetizer. The crunch is satisfying and healthy, and everyone can find something to munch on before the main meal.
Often served as the main dish, choose protein that’s low in fat, but high in flavor.
• A tender beef filet is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and healthier than fattier options.
• Turkey is a great lean protein that’s also a crowd pleaser. A whole turkey can be roasted and served with your favorite veggie sides. Use ground turkey to make meatballs for your next gathering.
• Don’t underestimate the power of spices. Sprinkle on spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, to flavor foods without adding fat or calories.
• Opt for whole grain side dishes like quinoa, farro, brown rice or whole wheat pasta for added fiber and heart healthy grains.