Making December Holidays Less Gluttonous

Hi evryone.  Like my shirt? I admit I ate no kale on Thanksgiving.

Are you still as full as I am from Thanksgiving? Well just when you may have started dreading what’s to come in December with more unhealthy foods, we have a guest blogger today . Meredith Kimelblatt who has some tips for us if we are hosting in December.

One tip she does not mention is to get the free Take Back the Kitchen app on your iPhone! It helped me tremendously when shopping for ingredients for many a dish during T-day:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/take-back-the-kitchen/id567620993?mt=8

Cook Up a Healthier Holiday

You’ve made it through Thanksgiving!  Time to celebrate, right?  The answer for many home cooks is, yes—but only sort of.

For most of us, the thrill of getting through a delicious, gluttonous Thanksgiving meal is balanced out by feelings of exhaustion, extreme fullness and daunting thoughts of, “how in the world am I going to repeat this entire process next month?”  As soon as Thanksgiving ends, it’s time to start thinking about the December holidays, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, it’s likely that you’ll have to gear up for even more family get-togethers, cooking and eating.

There’s good news, though!  While holiday dinners aren’t typically known for their nutritional benefits, there are dozens of simple ways to lighten up your traditional holiday dishes without sacrificing the taste your family craves.  Keep these tips in mind to enjoy your December festivities while keeping your body happy, too:

 

Sneak in Nutrition

If you’re doing the cooking this holiday season, you have the perfect opportunity to make your meals slightly more nutritious while still keeping them tasting amazing.  Make easy substitutions that your guests won’t even notice, such as soy or almond milk for whole milk in your mashed potatoes, Greek yogurt for sour cream in your appetizers and dips, and whole wheat flour for white flour in your cookies.  For slightly more obvious, but still delicious, substitutions, try topping your sweet potato casserole with heart-healthy walnuts instead of marshmallows and top your pies with frozen yogurt instead of full-fat ice cream.

Substitute Veggies for Carbs

It’s no secret that vegetables are usually a healthier side dish than dinner rolls, but did you ever think to substitute the former for the latter?  Vegetable muffins are an excellent healthy substitute for rolls or bread side dishes since they contain higher amounts of nutrients and fiber.  If you don’t want to fully switch out carbs for vegetables, consider making zucchini bread or carrot cake for your holiday feast for some added vitamins.

Focus on Color

The more color on your table, the better you’ll feel after you finish your meal.  Colorful foods, which include most fruits and vegetables, typically indicate a presence of vitamins, fiber and other important nutrients, along with very low levels of fat and carbs.  Fill up on reds and greens before stuffing yourself with mashed potatoes and stock your dessert table with fruity dessert pies:   http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/frozen-dessertsinstead of trays filled with beige-colored cookies.

Set Limits

One of the easiest ways to go overboard on portion size during the holidays is to offer way too many options that you’ll then feel obligated to eat.  To avoid piling four different types of potatoes and three different breads onto your plate, set limits for how many of each dish type you’ll be making.  For instance, choose one potato option or two dessert options and stick to them; the more food on your table, the easier it is to step into unhealthy holiday territory.

Limit Alcohol

You may not use alcohol too much in your cooking, but wine, beer and cocktails always seem to make an appearance at holiday gatherings.  It doesn’t seem like it when you’ve got a loaded plate of meat and potatoes in front of you, but alcohol can actually be one of the biggest calorie bombs at your meal.  Limit yourself to a glass or two of white wine or light beer to avoid overdoing it on liquid calories alone.

 

Enjoying the holidays should mean feeling good both before and after your meals, so cooking health-consciously is always a smart idea.  Keep these cooking tips in mind as the next round of holidays approaches to stay fit and feeling great for the rest of the year.

Author Bio:  Meredith K. writes on behalf of Marie Callender’s®.  For chicken pot pie dinners dinners and frozen pie products perfect for keeping it simple this holiday season, visit : http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/frozen-desserts  , http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/pot-pies.

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