We recently spoke about surviving the holiday food-fest by watching how much of the unhealthy food you eat, but what about what you make at home? Should you just stop making your favourite dishes? Believe it or not, there are ways to stay healthy when cooking (or buying) your family meals and snacks without major sacrifices to flavour. Yes, healthier foods can actually still taste good, and here’s how.
Change, but don’t give up, the chocolate. Most of us go for some delectable milk chocolate as our go-to snack. It gives an instant pick-me-up. However, the chocolate of choice is usually high calorie milk chocolate. Instead, why not try going for some dark chocolate instead? You get a higher dose of antioxidants, less sugar and fat, and the taste isn’t all that far off.
Know your potatoes. We all love some mashed potatoes, potato pies, shepherd’s pies, baked potatoes, etc., but we generally use white potatoes in our dishes. Instead, try some sweet potatoes. They not only have a nicer flavour, but are also higher in fibre and other micronutrients, making them a healthier choice while being yummier.
Choose your ham wisely. Ah yes, good ol’ ham. It is loved around the world both in and out of the various holiday seasons. Did you know that ham is just salted and cured pork? Yes, I said salted. That means it tastes great, but is generally high in sodium. High sodium diets have been linked to high blood pressure and chronic cardiovascular disease. Do a little research before going to the grocery or butcher and find out which brands of ham have lower sodium content. This little change can have long-term health benefits while still allowing you to eat your beloved ham.
Get a new stuffing recipe. Stuffing is typically made with lots of butter and high-fat, high-sodium meats. This makes it incredibly high-calorie for only a small portion. When making it, maybe substitute the pork sausage with chicken sausage (low sodium, if possible) and use a little less butter. Low sodium chicken stock may actually be a good enough flavour substitute to allow you to achieve this.
No, no on the mayo. Mayonnaise is a staple in potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, many dips, and so many other appetisers and side-dishes. It is mainly made, however, with oil and high calorie egg yolks. These two ingredients alone pump up the calorie count in mayo to a high number. Instead, try making your dishes with plain greek yogurt. One added advantage of this is that it is easy to flavour greek yogurt to make your dish taste, well, however you want. Also, with fewer calories and just a touch of added protein, greek yogurt is just plain healthier than mayonnaise.
Overall, there is no need to give up the food that you wait all year for in order to stay healthy, but you definitely have to make some changes in how you prepare them or what you buy. Following these guidelines will make it just a little easier to have a healthier holiday season. Enoy 🙂