The holidays are a season of family, fun and FOOD! In order to get ahead of our seasonal feasting, here are a few tips and tricks to keep holiday dinners satisfying and guilt free!
1. Delicious dips. Enjoy the veggie tray and the dip to boot! Vegetables are always a healthy snack and the colorful trays set out this time of year are hard to resist. Eating your veggies first is also a good trick because they are low in calories, high in vitamins, and can fill you up before the pie comes out! Covering our carrot stick in creamy dips is also a fan favorite, but what about all that full fat goodness? Let’s switch out our sour creams dips for a yogurt dip that is sure to please! Greek yogurt instead of sour cream is always a healthy option, cutting calories by more than half- and still tastes great.
2. Candied yams. Marshmallows, brown sugar, and yams… dessert as a side dish is always a holiday perk, but a spoonful of candied yams is a sugar rush in a bite. What if we still want a sweet side but without all the extra sugar and calories? Try roasting sweet potatoes brushed with olive oil (roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the potato) and save half the calories! Top them off with a little rosemary for an aromatic punch to the dish, and to impress the neighbors, too.
3. Cranberry sauce. Who doesn’t love that can shaped blob of cranberry sauce? Portion control may not even help with this one! One slice off of that lump and you’ll be full of sugar, corn syrup, and added sweetener. Try a new holiday tradition and make homemade cranberry sauce this year instead. For a more “natural” food, using fresh cranberries and limiting the amount of sugar (or sugar substitute) you add can make for an even more delicious, and appealing, holiday side.
4. Green bean casserole. My grandma’s green bean casserole is still something I find myself craving throughout the year, but knowing now exactly what goes into this delicious slop is enough to make even me cry. A true healthy alternative would be to forego the canned cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions completely *tear* and opt for some sauteed green beans BUT if you can’t live without your steamy casserole use a reduced fat soup and… well… maybe half the French fried onions? Try out this recipe, perhaps!?
5. Pecan pie. And the pie… it’s not the holidays without pie, am I right? The pie-ssabilities are endless (get it?)! For me, Christmas time is all about the richest pie I can get my hands on, the glamorous pecan pie, but with about 500 calories per piece it can be hard to stomach. It is suggested to opt for a slightly less rich and caloric crustless pumpkin pie if you are in need of a sweet fix because at least you’ll be getting some nutrients like Vitamin A, calcium and iron. You can also skip the pie and bring a bowl of warm pecans or other nuts sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar to share.
6. Alcoholic treats. Holidays can be a time to cut loose but that extra glass of champagne or bottle of beer has empty calories that quickly add up. If you need a little confidence boost before the family dance-off begins, try controlling your alcohol portions by only pouring half a glass of wine and topping it off with club soda. Adult eggnog more of your thing? Try drinking spiked apple cider instead. You will cut your calories by half while heating up your happy feet.
The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration! Let’s bring in a healthy new year with a smile and full stomach.