22 Dec Family Holiday Meals Made Healthy
The holiday season – the crisp air and the fragrant scents along with the spirit of joy in the air all combine to derail many of us from our healthy eating and exercise regimen. But it doesn’t have to…not if you have a plan going in.
Remember that the holidays are about being together with friends and family and being thankful for our blessings in life. Food can often be the centerpiece, but it doesn’t have to ruin everything you’ve accomplished in all the months leading up to this point.
It can be hard to change things that you’ve always done. This is especially true when it comes to the holidays. We have so many emotions tied up into the food.
Grandma’s bundt cake, your spouse’s twice baked potatoes, and Aunt Betty’s salted caramel apple pie are simply mouth-watering. That’s true. But what if you like the healthier version just as well? You can’t know if you don’t try.
- Try New Recipes – Look for a healthy food blogger and try out their healthy holiday recipes. No need to feel forced to make that candied sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. You can change it, make it healthier, and keep it delicious. too. Check out the recipe for a tasty spinach and artichoke dip that I’ve included below.
- Don’t Stop Substituting – In your cooking, keep using all the substitutions you’ve become accustomed to using. Why change just because it’s a holiday? If you prefer to use coconut oil because you believe it’s healthier, then keep using it. If you’ve been baking with applesauce, instead of butter or Crisco, go ahead and do that. Most people won’t even notice if you don’t tell them.
- Put Food Away – When everyone is done eating, go ahead and put things away including the leftovers that you want people to take home. Buy extra containers to make it easy for people to take food with them. If you put the food away, it’s less tempting to continue to snack on it the rest of the day. We often overeat because it looks and smells good, not because we’re hungry.
- Get Moving – Many times, during any family event, it ends up just being about food and TV. But you can change that up by adding in physical activities such as sledding, touch football, and even a game of team charades.
- Help Others – A great way to relieve any stress that might accompany large family get-togethers is to find a charity where you can serve others. There are so many during the holidays, that you’re sure to find something with a mission that really resonates with you. If you volunteer, you can stay physically busy, less focused on your own pleasure, and it simply feels great.
You can create brand new traditions that will not only help you stay healthy throughout the year, but also set a great example for the rest of your family, especially the kids. When it comes down to it, good food is good, even if it’s healthy.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
A typical serving of spinach and artichoke dip contains up to 1,100 calories and 100 grams of fat, which is almost a day’s worth of calories! Use fat-free Greek yogurt instead of high-fat cheese to maintain the creamy texture while cutting out almost half the calories and saturated fat.
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6-ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup organic mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix ingredients; place mixture into 9-inch pie plate.
3. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.
*Serve this dip with the roasted vegetable chips or whole-grain pita chips
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