When it comes to holiday meals, we tend to forget about the healthy diet and lifestyle choices we make the rest of the year in favor of whatever is put in front of us, which is completely okay. There is no harm in enjoying in a holiday meal; however, sometimes, we overdo it and wish we had used a little more discretion to avoid the stuffed and bloated feeling.
To have a healthier holiday, you don’t have to throw all your traditional favorites out the window. Instead, you can make a few swaps to just a few of the dishes on the menu and still make a dent in your calorie intake (and guilt too)! Here are seven healthy holiday food swaps that taste just as good as the traditional offerings:
1. Swap Creamy Dip and Chips For Hummus and Fresh Cut Veggies
Creamy dips, an appetizer favorite, made from full fat sour cream or cream cheese pack a whole lot of calories! Before you know it, a few scoops of dip could add up to more calories than should be consumed in one meal. Instead of creamy dip and chips, save your calories for the main course and try eating fresh cut veggies with hummus. Made with chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini, hummus is packed with the good stuff and only provides 1g of fat per tablespoon!
2. Swap Mashed Potatoes For Mashed Cauliflower
Just replacing mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower is the first step to saving unnecessary calories. A 1-cup serving of potatoes delivers 113 calories and 2 g of fiber; whereas, a 1-cup serving of cauliflower provides just 25 calories and 3 g of fiber. To save even more calories, skip over the cream and butter, and use roasted garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary or fresh chives.
3. Swap Dark Turkey Meat For White Turkey Meat
Dark turkey meat is tempting and tasty, but it also has whole lot more fat and calories! A serving of skinless turkey breast meat provides 30 g of protein, 2 g of fat and only 147 calories; whereas, dark turkey meat provides the same amount of protein but 206 calories and a whopping 10 g of fat! And that’s only if you stick to one helping!
4. Swap Bread Stuffing For Rice Stuffing
Bread just adds unnecessary calories and carbs we don’t need. Instead of bread stuffing made with butter and white bread, try making a rice stuffing using wild rice, sticky rice or quinoa. Sauté mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic with coconut oil or olive oil. Then, add dried fruit and nuts, like pecans or walnuts.
5. Swap Cranberry Sauce For Cranberry Relish
Since cranberries are sour and bitter, they are sweetened with a whole lot of sugar or corn syrup, if you buy it from the can. Instead of eating cranberry sauce, try making your own cranberry relish using natural sugar alternatives like Stevia or naturally sweet fruit juices like orange or pineapple, along with zest from fresh orange and lemon. A two-tablespoon serving of cranberry relish made with Stevia and an orange will provide just 28 calories per serving and only 7 g of carbs; a store bought cranberry sauce will deliver 86 calories and 22 g of pure sugar!
6. Swap Alcohol For Soda Spritzers
Not only does alcohol provide empty calories, it can make us feel hungry causing us to eat even more! Alcohol is also considered a toxin in the body and causes the body to stop all other metabolic processes until it is completely removed from the body. If you still want to indulge with some holiday cheer, reduce the amount of alcohol you are consuming by watering it down with club soda or a clear diet pop. A full glass of wine can provide about 120 calories; however, if you cut that glass in half with soda water, you will save yourself 60 calories!
7. Swap The Christmas Cookies For Fruit With Dark Chocolate Fondue
Sure, its once a year when these tasty treats come around, but just a few Christmas cookies will skyrocket blood sugar and push your daily calorie consumption over the edge. Instead of cookies, pies, squares or whatever else is put in front of you, try making a dark chocolate fondue. Use a dark chocolate with a minimum cacao content of 70%, add Stevia to sweeten instead of extra sugar and a bit of coconut milk to thicken, and then serve it with fresh cut fruit!