If you are the chef of the party or asked to bring a dish, try substitutions which create a lower-fat recipe to have at the festivities providing healthy and tasty meals to your loved ones without putting a damper on the holiday spirit. Substitutions are easy and flavorful. Try evaporated non-fat milk whipped up as a substitution for whipped cream or when serving mashed potatoes substitute half of the potatoes with cauliflower, mash both together well. Another suggestion is to forgo the cheese and crackers as hors d’oeuvres and serve a homemade vegetable soup before dinner. Roast carrots, cauliflower and celery on a cookie sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and herbs. Once softened, combine with a low-sodium (or home-made) broth and blend until smooth. This soup can be made with any types of vegetables and once cooked, freezes well.
6 Healthy Holiday Foods
- Pumpkin – Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A and also provides fiber the pumpkin seeds are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Pumpkin itself is quite low in calories and is a healthy holiday food. Pumpkin pie, however, becomes a high-calorie food because it’s made with eggs, sugar, evaporated milk and baked in a high-fat pie crust.
- Cranberries – Cranberries are packed with Vitamin C and also provide a fair amount of dietary fiber and manganese. Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant that can prevent the adhesion of bacteria to the urinary tract.
- Sweet Potato – Sweet Potato is a rich source of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Similar to the banana, it is also an excellent source of potassium. If you eat the skin, you will also reap the health benefits of fiber, making the sweet potato a healthy holiday food.
- Yams– Yams are another nutritious root vegetable popular on holiday dinner tables. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber, and a very good food source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is necessary to break down a toxic substance in the body known as homocysteine. Potassium plays an important role in decreasing blood pressure (along with calcium and magnesium).
- Turkey – In addition to being an excellent source of protein, turkey offers the least amount of fat per serving, among all other meats. Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
- Green Beans – Green beans are probably one of the healthiest holiday foods out there. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K (important in bone health) and manganese. They also contain a good amount of vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron.
Enjoy the holidays, plan a time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you.