Posted by: Lynn Beattie, WIC Nutritionist
It’s that time of year, when holiday meals fill us with joy, along with an overabundance of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. Don’t let all of your efforts to eat well go by the wayside this season. Modifications can be made to keep your holiday meals festive and deliciously balanced!
Instead of serving mashed white potatoes loaded with butter or cream, mix whipped sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, or white beans with, or in place of, white potatoes. Swirl in some pumpkin puree for a pop of color and a splash of vitamins. Use red potatoes with the skins on for extra fiber, and replace most of the butter and cream with vegetable broth. Tired of mashed? Try roasting potatoes with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings, such as garlic and rosemary, parsley and lemon, chili and cumin…your choices are endless! Speaking of spices, cinnamon, which can help to keep blood sugar under control, is particularly good with mashed winter squash.
Add veggies, fruits, and nuts to your stuffing. For example, add chopped carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms and fresh sage for a savory flavor. Or mix in apples or pears with pecans for a taste of autumn. Use spices freely for holiday flavor without all of the fat.
When it comes to cranberry sauce, my family likes to ditch the canned version. Cranberry sauce can be quickly and easily made at home. You can use less sugar and even add chopped fruit such as oranges and prunes for extra fiber.
There is no need to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday pleasures. It is a celebration after all. Just be mindful of the size of your portions! Eat until you are happily satisfied, not uncomfortably stuffed, and grab the whole family for an after-dinner walk. Take the time to enjoy your food, stop when you feel 80% full, and feel great this holiday season! How do you plan to celebrate your Thanksgiving with healthy side dishes?