Most holiday meals are only a day long, and in the long run should not be the downfall to your year-long health habits. HOWEVER, using and practicing meal prep to be as healthy as you can make it, and still taste good, is going to benefit you no matter what.
Here are some ideas for modifying recipes to maximize their nutritional value without sacrificing enjoyment. Do note, if you change a favorite recipe using any of these, they might not taste the same, because frankly it will be a different recipe.
I encourage you to keep an open mind and try these substitutions as a NEW dish and recipe and see how you like them.
You don’t cook at all, or don’t know where to start? Also included here are a few example recipes.
|Replace this||With this|
|Butter||*Unsweetened fruit puree (such as mashed banana or apple sauce); ratio 1:1
*1/2 butter and 1/2 fruit puree
*Yogurt; ratio 1:1
|Sugar||*Use only 2/3 or less of what recipe calls for
(Usually fine to combine various forms of sugar)
|Flour||*Up to 1/3 with ground flax meal
*Up to 1/2 with whole grain flour
|Buttermilk||*Per 1 cup= 1 cup 1% milk plus 1 teaspoon white vinegar|
|Bread crumbs||*Oats or bran cereal; ratio 1:1|
|Heavy cream||*Mashed or pureed potatoes (in soups); ratio 1:1
*1% milk with 1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch per cup used, whisked to thicken
*Plain yogurt (in baked goods); ratio 1:1
|Deep fry||Pan fry or roast|
|Salt||All or partial with spices and herbs|
|Peeled fruit||Leave skin on (wash well)|
|No or few veggies||Add veggies! To casseroles, soups, stuffing, etc.|
No Knead Rolls
Mix 2 1/4 teaspoons quick acting yeast into 1 cup warm milk and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1 egg, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup yogurt or melted butter and a dash of salt. Add 2 cups regular flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir together until well combined (can use stand up mixer). Cover bowl of dough and let rise for 45-60 minutes. Flour your hands and punch the dough down so it deflates. Pour the dough out onto floured surface, divide it into 16 golf ball size pieces. Place these side by side on a greased baking pan, cover and let rise another 30-45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden on edges and tops.
Brussel’s Sprouts or Green Beans
Trim, wash and cut your Brussel’s sprouts or green beans in half. Dice up 2 strips of bacon and 1 small sweet onion. Place all ingredients in a saucepan on medium high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes (until fat melts and veggies soften). Add 1-2 teaspoons each of ground pepper and cumin, plus 1-2 tablespoon dried or fresh thyme. Optional to add a dash or two of salt. Add a few tablespoons of water, cover the saucepan and continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until veggies are to desired doneness. If at any time the pan dries up, add a splash of water or orange juice. You may choose to uncover pan and turn up heat for remaining few minutes of cooking to further caramelize and crisp up the veggies.
Use fresh cranberries, cut back on the sugar the recipe calls for, then add a splash of orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract and all spice, and/or diced pear and ginger to change up the flavors! (Ex: 12 oz cranberries with 1/2- 3/4 cup sugar.)
Crust with flax: Follow oil or butter crust recipe, but replace 1/3 flour with ground flax meal or whole wheat flour. Bake in deep dish pie pan for 10 minutes before adding filling and returning to oven.
Filling: Combine and blend 2 cups pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup cream or plain yogurt, 3/4 cup 1% milk whisked with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
Pour mixture into pre-baked crust in deep pie pan (do not over fill) and bake at 375 degrees F for 55-60 minutes.