11 Dec Healthy Holiday Tweaks
Holiday treats can be huge diet-busters. But they’re so good, right? Often, it’s not so much the ingredients that we crave, but rather the comfort food as a whole.
When we think of pizza, we imagine a huge slice of fattening cheesy goodness all smothered in oil atop thick slices of sourdough bread. Ask a New Yorker, and the slice is about three average-sized pieces elsewhere. Ask a Chicagoan, and add a mountain of crust to the mix.
When it comes to holiday goodies, we don’t want to miss out on the traditional recipes that we look forward to each year—and rightly so!
By swapping out some ingredients for healthier substitutes, you can still indulge in a comfort food but save tons of calories and fat. The essence of the recipe will still be preserved, leaving your taste buds to feel satisfied without missing a thing.
A standard eggnog can cost you around 400 calories per serving! Instead of using heavy cream, swap for yogurt or almond milk. Both will provide extra protein to fill you up and curb your drinking, while balancing the high intake of sugar.
To make a healthier holiday cookie, cut down the portion size. Baking mini cookies or bites allows for indulgence without expanding your waistline. Also, swapping sugar for stevia will prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and cut down on calories. Trying a healthier flour, like almond or whole-wheat flour, is also a great idea, as well as nixing a few of the yolks required for a batch.
A beef brisket, a glazed ham and hearty, meatballs are all typical holiday features; however, the cut of the meat and preparation can change a great source of protein from healthy to dangerous.
Ask for a lean cut and avoid any glazing or sweet sauces. Stick to white meat to lower the calorie count. Raiding the herb and spice cabinet to make up for the loss of sweetness and sodium will keep calories, and flavor, in check.
Same goes for veggies—roasting or grilling them with olive or canola oil is much healthier than frying them or using a sugary marinade or spoonful of butter.
Instead of filling up on thick blue cheese or ranch dips prior to dinner, dunk crudité into Greek yogurt with fresh herbs instead. The yogurt is more filling and won’t spoil your appetite, and calorie budget, for dinner!
Green Bean Casserole
Green beans are pretty healthy, but when the holiday casserole comes into play, the nutritional value goes out the window.
Make a new tradition by grilling or steaming the green beans with cranberries and almonds instead! All the holiday flavors are included, but in a way healthier format.
This is a no-brainer, but bread calories really add up. We all love holiday rolls, and with so many restaurant meals during family visits, those breadbaskets pop up everywhere!
Choose whole wheat or grain bread over white as much as possible. The grains will provide lots of fiber to keep you full.
Instead of cream of mushroom and pumpkin bisque, swap cream for cauliflower or plain chicken or vegetable stock to cut down on calories and fat. The consistency will still fill you up, and you can enjoy guilt-free. Add beans and veggies to add healthy volume.