Delicious food abound! Have no fear of the Holiday feast, as you have the power to make this meal a healthy experience. What is cooked, how it is cooked, what is consumed and how it is consumed are all within our control.
Here are some tricks of the wellness trade to help you use our power of choice for good; good food, good health and good company!
1. Reserve the cream
- Creamy, buttery, cheesy are holiday favorites, but they don’t have to be in every dish. Reserve these for a signature dish of choice and when other recipes call for more cream, butter and cheese, try a new recipe, use flavor alternatives such as those suggested below, or substitute with one of these: plain yogurt, cottage cheese, or regular milk.
2. Roast, Grill, Bake, Steam
- Avoid frying. High heat of oils leads to unnatural chemical changes in the oil triglycerides producing unwanted toxins, such as Trans fat.
- Making your own marinades and sauces will ensure good flavor without the hidden, unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients of commercial products. Use fruit juice or wine as the base; add in spices, herbs, mustards, and other flavors. Easy recipes for these can be found online!
3. Spice it up, Herb it down
- Enhance dishes with fresh or dried herbs and spices instead of added sugar, salt and fat.
- Other flavor enhancers include citrus juices and zests, extracts such as vanilla and almond, and flavored vinegars.
- A few nuts, seeds or crumbled light cheese can be an easy flavorful addition to a dish
4. Surrender the sugar
- Cut its use in half; sweet potatoes are sweet by them selves, fruit pies and other deserts can be made with extra cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, pumpkin spice, vanilla extract or citrus zests to keep the taste while cutting the sugar, salt or fat.
5. Don’t forget the veggies
- Start with a veggie or relish tray as an appetizer; a great way to get in your veggies and fiber before the big spread
- Have a least one veggie dish with dinner, following the tips above for best cooking preparation. Find a fun new recipe; it may be easier than you think!
Here are some recipes to help get you started:
*Note: Tbs=tablespoon and tsp= teaspoon
v Cottage Mashed Potatoes
- Boil 4 large potatoes until you can stick them with a fork and it comes out cleanly. While boiling, heat in a sauce pan over medium heat 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/3 cup milk, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 Tbs diced chives. Drain, peel, and cut potatoes into chunks; place in large bowl. Mash with large fork or potato masher. Stir in milk mixture and ¾ cup cottage cheese (can pureed cottage cheese if want creamier, without chunks). Add fresh ground pepper as desired.
v Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts
- Cut 4 cups Brussels sprouts into quarters, lightly steam so barely cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside. In medium fry pan heat 1 Tbs butter and sauté 1 medium diced onion. Once onions are translucent, add in Brussels sprouts and ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds or pistachios. Stir and let cook until bottom of pan starts to sear the sprouts and onions (brown them), then drizzle on 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, and 1-2 tsp ground pepper. Can add fresh herbs, cumin, coriander, or to make it spicy some crushed red peppers, cayenne or dash hot sauce as well. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has cooked off and Brussels sprouts are seared and done through.
v Sweet As Sweet Potatoes
- Bake 4 large sweet potatoes at 370 F for 20 minutes, until soft and easy to cut, but still firm. Slice them into small wedges of equal size. Toss the wedges lightly in canola or grape seed oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread wedges on baking sheet and place in oven to bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes on each side. While baking, melt 2 Tbs honey, 2 Tbs orange juice, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg and a dash salt and pepper in small saucepan over medium heat. Once sweet potato wedges are crisp and browned, remove from oven and drizzle with melted sauce, toss to coat. Serve immediately.
v Generic sauce; marinade or dressing
- Add all ingredients to jar or plastic bag and shake
- In general:
- ¼ cup vinegar, citrus juice, or wine
- 1-2 Tbs oil (olive, canola, walnuts, grape seed or sesame) and/or honey, and/or mustard
- 1-2 Tbs fresh or dried herbs and spices
- Specific example 1:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ Tbs Dijon mustard
- ½ Tbs honey
- ½ Tbs fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
- ½ Tbs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
- Dash pepper and salt
- Specific example 2:
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- ½ Tbs lemon zest
- 1 Tbs fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
- 1 clove minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne or red pepper flakes
- Dash pepper and salt