The holiday season has long been synonymous with food. It can be challenging to hold back when staring down a buffet with butter-filled items. But, some simple swaps will keep you fitting into those matching family PJs. You can have your Yule log cake and eat it, too. Try these healthier versions of some seasonal favorites:
Craving egg nog? Make the classic creamy cocktail skinny by substituting low-fat milk for the cream and using half the suggested sugar. You can also find several deceptively delicious dairy-free ‘nog alternatives at most supermarkets.
Taters get all the attention when it comes to mashing, but if you have a complex relationship with carbs, think outside the potato bin. Low-carb alternatives, like mashed cauliflower, are loaded with vitamin C, while mashed parsnips are fiber-filled. You could try adding color to your side dish – along with loads of vitamin A – by opting for mashed sweet potatoes or carrots.
The Right Stuff(ing)
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, this heavy side needs a healthy makeover. Instead of using white bread, butter and sausage, lighten the glycemic load. A recipe like the Simple Vegan Stuffing from The Minimalist Baker features lentils and whole-grain bread. Or skip the stuffing altogether: the Wild Rice Pilaf by Dishing Out Health highlights Brussels sprouts, apples, toasted pecans and dried cranberries. Yum!
Forgo the fried bird and go for the grill! Grilled turkey still gives you crispy skin without all the fatty oils needed in the deep fryer. This lighter option not only tastes great but also frees up coveted oven space for other dishes.
Enjoy traditional, full-on holiday desserts in moderation (think a sliver rather than a slice of cake or pie) or indulge in a guiltless alternative. Coconut milk is the secret to this creamy, highly rated Healthy Pumpkin Pie recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. During the holidays, your guests will forget about fruit cake when they taste this Healthy Gingerbread Loaf from The Clean Eating Couple.
Preparing for special gatherings also gives you a great reason to be proactive with your health. Before digging into your favorite foods, consider booking that annual physical with your primary care doctor to ensure you make the best choices throughout the busy holiday season and the entire year.