Sugar, fat and sodium abound! Holiday menus boast creamy, rich and decadent dishes. While that may be magic to our taste buds, too much rich holiday food can take a toll on our waistlines.
Holiday tables aren’t only set with calorie-rich foods. In fact, we tend to pile on the appetizers, drinks and desserts, too, making the temptation even harder to resist. But, don’t let the holidays crash your commitment to eating healthy—check out these tips for making lighter holiday food.
Cut out the high-calorie drinks.
Whether it’s Christmas punch or high-fat eggnog, holiday beverages can pack a punch. So, try sparkling water with a splash of cranberry or lemon instead. If you choose to go for the ‘nog or other high-calorie drinks, have only a small glass.
Sample or just taste, don’t pile on the dips.
Skip the cheese-covered dishes and prepare lighter, healthier dips like hummus. Instead, opt for fresh veggies to dip instead of chips or bread. In recipes that call for mayonnaise, replace with a blend of light mayo and low-fat Greek yogurt.
Choose lighter alternatives to high-calorie favorites.
Let tender green beans shine without the traditional butter, creamy soup base and fried onions. Replace the high-fat dish with lightly sautéed or steamed green beans topped with fresh lemon juice, slivered almonds, and sautéed shallots or onions.
Substitute the high-fat main event.
Prime rib can be one of the fattiest cuts of meat. Cook beef tenderloin, instead, or choose poultry for the holiday table centerpiece.
Avoid the heavy cream in soups.
Choose recipes that have a base of veggie or chicken stock, and thicken with vegetable purees in place of cream or milk.
Pies, oh my!
Pecan pie is packed with calories, especially when topped with whipped cream or ice cream. So if you choose to indulge, practice moderation—think one small serving. Try a slice of pumpkin or apple pie instead.
If you’re looking to cut calories from your favorite desserts, make pumpkin pie or apple pie filling without the crust. Make single-serving dishes in small ramekins. Similarly, you can reduce the amount of added sugar to make a healthier dessert that allows the pie’s flavors to shine.
Most importantly, be aware of your portion control.
Avoid going for seconds. If you’re going to indulge in desserts, don’t overindulge on appetizers, the main entrée and unnecessary carbohydrates. And while the food may seem like the main event, keep in mind the real reason you’re together—to celebrate with family and friends.