Insider’s Viewpoint: Indulging During The Holidays: How To Keep A Balance
It’s the holiday season and that means food, food and more FOOD! While you can still enjoy eating some of your traditional holiday favorites, here are some ways to balance your plate while still keeping health and wellness in mind.
3 Ways to Make Holiday BEVERAGES Healthier
We all love the festive holiday beverages this time of year, but unfortunately they tend to add up in calories and fat. Try these instead…
- Champagne is festive and a lower calorie choice – pair with puréed no sugar added frozen fruit for a delicious Bellini.
- Make wine spritzers made with your favorite wine and club soda garnished with fresh lemon, lime or citrus.
- Act like a kid and make a ‘mocktail’ with your favorite 100% juice such as pomegranate juice with sparkling water and fresh fruit garnishments.
5 Ways to Make Holiday APPETIZERS Healthier
If you are looking for a healthy appetizer to take or serve at your next holiday party or work function – here are some better-for-you options.
- Platters of fresh cut-up vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes and sugar snap peas with hummus or Greek yogurt based dips are always a filling and low-calorie starter.
- Bruschetta bites made with roasted red peppers, pesto, and Parmesan cheese on thinly sliced French bread or whole-grain crackers make a quick appetizer for company.
- Hot dips such as a creamy spinach artichoke dip made with Greek yogurt, frozen spinach, jarred roasted red peppers and low-fat cheese paired with pita chips or pretzel thins is a crowd pleaser.
- Shrimp cocktail is one of the lowest calorie appetizers that is also full of protein to help fill you and your guests up before the big meal.
- Fresh fruit and cheese platters make a colorful and healthy pre-meal appetizer or late night snack for guests.
4 Ways to Make Holiday SIDES Healthier
We all look forward to holiday side dishes, but many times these are some of the unhealthiest items on our plates. Here are some ways to add a healthy spin on these popular sides.
- Skip the sugar-laden candied yams and make baked sweet potatoes with a little cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar or honey if you like.
- Opt out of high-calorie and high-fat casseroles and choose roasted veggies or steamed fresh veggies like green beans.
- Make your mashed potatoes with low-sodium chicken broth, garlic, and herbs in the place of butter and heavy creams.
- Substitute cauliflower in the place of potatoes for a lighter version of mashed potatoes.
3 Ways to Keep Holiday DESSERTS Healthier
‘Tis the season to indulge. We all enjoy our sweet treats during the holidays, but if you plan on fitting into your jeans by January follow these tips.
- Make a healthier fruit dip with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, natural peanut butter and a little honey to pair with Honeycrisp apple slices and pear wedges.
- Fresh fruit dipped in dark chocolate such as navel orange segments, pear slices, and pineapple.
- Pumpkin pie or fruit based pies are always a better choice compared to sugary and higher fat pies like pecan pie, peanut butter pie, and chocolate pies. But still make your slices smaller to help reduce calories.
3 Festive SALADS
It’s always helpful to include fruits and vegetables with any meal, but especially during the holidays when we tend to indulge on variety of not-so-good-for-you items. Here are some healthy options to help you fill half your plate with fruits and veggies.
- Vinegar and oil based salads, veggie-loaded prepared salads such as a cranberry broccoli salad or a festive salad topped with pomegranate seeds and chunks of avocado on peppery arugula greens are better choices than heavy cream based salads.
- Tip: Try mixing fruits and vegetables together such as sliced holiday grapes with salad greens, shredded carrots, and diced apple chunks with a vinegar and oil-based dressing.
- Fruit salads make a great side to your holiday brunch or as a healthier dessert.
- Make your own fresh cranberry salad this year with pineapple, cranberries, diced celery, walnuts, and citrus juice to impress your guests.
Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!
Hope Danielson, Director of Health and Wellness
Melanie Kluzek, Registered Dietitian
Niemann Foods/County Market