As you get ready for the week of Christmas, I thought I would share the USDA top 10 tips for a healthier holiday choice*:
1. Healthy Recipe Makeover: Most recipes can be modified to be a bit more healthier. That can mean less salt, less fat or less sugar. Just give it a try. Add some healthier options. We used to make the baked candied yams topped (coated) with marshmallows. But last year, we tried just adding a little butter and whipped it with a little milk before baking. It was delicious and people actually preferred it to the candied yams. Who knew?!
2. Celebrate with the five food groups: I know that at holiday time, we pick our favorite foods and then load up. But there is room on the plate for the five food groups. We change our dinner rolls to whole grains and added fresh fruit to our dessert and appetizer trays.
3. Go lean on protein: We all have our favorite recipes that we look forward to all year. For me, it is our Peruvian tamales. yumm! You can do one little change to make your recipe healthier without compromising the taste. A few years ago, we looked at our Peruvian recipe and we realized that we could buy leaner pork without compromising the taste. We did not need all that fat. It was the chilies that was creating the flavors.
4. Choose low cal drinks: With all the food, gravy, cream sauces and stuffing, do we really need a high sugary drink. Why not complement your Christmas meal with water and a twist of lemon or lime slices. Your palate will be refreshed and ready to savor all the special seasonings and tastes from the foods!
5. Bake healthier: Any baking recipe can be modified for the better. Just do small changes and see how it affects the recipe. For our pies, we cut the sugar in half and no one even noticed!
6. Change dessert up: Try adding fruits and low fat yogurts to color up the dessert table instead of more cookies or cakes. .
7. Enjoy your family. Simple but so important. Don't get stressed and caught up in the little details. Just visit and have fun with those you love.
8. Make a little time for exercise: Before or after dinner, plan some fun whether it is indoor or outdoor. Snow? try dancing or charades. Get everyone involved and moving.
9. Enjoy leftovers: Avoid wasting all that leftover. Most foods can be re-purposed into another meal or simply reheated! Don't forget to label and date so you don't go beyond the 4-5 day rule.
10. GIve back: We are blessed but there are those that are less fortunate. Teach children the importance of sharing and giving back to the community.
Nourish Thought for the Day:
Have a healthy holiday season!