Healthy Eating & the Holidays

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | November 14th, 2016 | Cooking Basics

healthy-eating-1I’ll start this article with a disclaimer- I am not a nutritionist, dietician, or any other certified health professional. I simply speak from personal experience and knowledge gained.

With that aside, let’s delve into the topic at hand. Next week marks the start of the holiday season with the arrival of Thanksgiving. Although it’s a holiday that was meant to focus on giving thanks, we’ve turned it into a holiday that centers around food. From there we enter weeks of food-centric events: office parties, neighborhood gatherings, cookie swaps. Never mind that we have the actual holidays and more family dinners. Cap it off with New Year’s festivities, and there’s more food than my brain can even handle.

Now, I’m all about food- making, sharing, and enjoying it, but with the excessive amounts of food shared in the coming weeks, it’s hard to stay healthy. So, this week I’m focusing on healthy eating to offer some respite from the gingerbread desserts and deep-fried snacks.

Before we dive into two recipes that will make a nice diversion from holiday eating, let’s start with some simple ways to lighten your menu.

  • Plain Greek yogurt- If you’re a regular reader, you know that I use it frequently. A dollop of it is a great thickener for soup; sweetened with a pinch of sugar it becomes a healthier dessert; and when used in place of mayonnaise, it makes for lower calories and fat in salads (e.g. chicken salad, coleslaw).
  • Switch from cream to milk- This works on many levels, starting even with coffee. If you’re making a creamy soup, omit the cream, and try 1 or 2% milk. Adding a little cornstarch to the cold milk, before adding to the soup, will help thicken it.
  • Opt for veggie-noodles- Instead of cooking spaghetti or rotini, give zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash a try. Not only are you reducing calories and carbs, you’re also getting an extra serving of veggies.
  • Skip butter when possible. I know a baked sweet potato tastes awfully yummy with butter and brown sugar, but have you tried it on its own? If you bake sweet potatoes in the oven, they caramelize, giving it so much flavor that toppings aren’t needed.
  • Try having one meatless night a week. Even if you aren’t a fan of tofu, there are many other ways to have a hearty dinner. We have many vegetarian recipes worth trying.
  • Start dinners with a salad. Filling up on veggies (that aren’t coated in dressing) is a great way to curb your appetite, acquire extra nutrients, and eat healthfully.

Yes, the holidays are meant to be a time of fun and indulgence, but a little moderation is also good. Be sure to return to Think Tasty on Wednesday and Friday for two delicious, healthy recipes!


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