Holiday meals don’t have to be unhealthy!
In this day and age, after being quarantined for months and skipping parties, birthdays, and dinners with friends, we can’t wait for a good-spirited, festive and cheerful holiday season! Sometimes however, the holidays also mean putting on pounds from the endless eating at holiday meals. So here are 2 very important principles to go with when preparing a healthy holiday meal. My advice to limit the “damage” while still enjoying your favorite comfort foods!
• Always favor homemade over store-bought: it’s a given, pre-made and pre-packaged foods will most likely have preservatives and extra sugars that you don’t need (especially dressings and sauces!) A homemade pie will not only make your house smell heavenly, it will also be more nutritious and less unhealthy (and it’s a great activity to do with kids!) As for sauces or dressings, start with some healthy oil (olive/coconut oil) and lemon juice, add some herbs, onion or garlic, skip the sugar (of course), and you will have a delicious sauce to your dish! For cooking, I recommend trying white wine: it makes a world of difference, and add herbs last so they can release the flavors at the end.
• Keep it Simple: you don’t have to be a chef to cook for the holidays! A pan, a pot, an oven. A few herbs, olive oil, onion/garlic. Those are the key ingredients I always start with. Depending on the food, you can sauté, steam in a pot/boil, or roast in the oven. Drizzle in extra virgin olive oil (the healthiest oil there is!) and you’ll be sure to have a tasty, healthy dish. A few examples: roasted butternut squash, roasted Brussels sprouts, or Green Beans with shaved almonds, mashed Sweet Potatoes, baked Turkey or grilled Chicken, or baked fish.
As a general rule, always try to use wholesome ingredients, organic when possible, that are grown, harvested, or raised naturally. As an added bonus, you can be sure that your body’s immune system will be boosted by all the nutrients it is receiving instead of chemicals and preservatives from processed foods!
May the holidays bring us joy and hope for a brighter year to come!