With your office holiday party, family gatherings, and parties with friends, the opportunities to skip your diet plan seem endless, and it can be a slippery slope if you head into the festive months unprepared. However, there are some tips to have in your back pocket to ensure you don’t stray from your wellness goals in the coming weeks. Stay on track with your healthy eating goals during all the holiday festivities with these simple swaps. Have questions about living your healthiest? Come and speak with Dr. Sunshine about his wellness program that is unsurpassed — complete with video chat and texting options with him for all your questions and ongoing support.
The holiday season is a great time to feast with family or friends. That can also mean overindulging in foods that tend to be on the unhealthy side.
Enjoying everything in moderation is one way to ensure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet (and still treating yourself every now and then). Even so, there are some simple changes you can make to keep your healthy eating habits on track.
Try some of these holiday food swaps.
Swap meat for vegetarian stuffing
Christmas stuffing made with sausage meat and a packet mix is usually high in salt. You can reduce your salt intake by trying a vegetarian version made from tasty chestnuts, onion, fresh herbs, and rice instead.
Swap white flour for wholewheat flour
No Hanukkah celebration is complete without sweet and eggy Challah bread. Using wholewheat flour instead of white flour in your recipe will still allow you to enjoy its light, soft texture, whilst also boosting your intake of healthy fiber.
Swap candied sweet potatoes for roasted ones
Sweet potatoes are high in nutrients, but the Thanksgiving tradition of baking them with butter, sugar and marshmallows adds a lot of processed sugar to the dish. Try keeping the sweet potatoes simple by baking or roasting them in just a little olive oil. You can always add herbs like rosemary or some cracked black pepper for extra zing.
Or, for a change, try butternut squash as an alternative. It’s high in vitamin A and low in calories.
Swap ghee or butter for unsaturated oils
Lots of delicious Diwali foods like samosas and laddoos are cooked with saturated fats like ghee and butter. Using small amounts of unsaturated fats – like rapeseed oil, olive oil, sunflower oil or corn oil – will still create a tasty treat, and may help lower your cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body at the same time.
Keep mashed potatoes simple
It’s so tempting to make mashed potatoes creamier by adding butter, cheese, and cream. Instantly lower the fat content by making it with just a dash of milk and butter. You could also add some extra flavor with shredded spring onions, peas, black pepper, or lightly fried crushed garlic cloves.
Swap white rice for brown rice
Biryani is one of the tastiest courses when it comes to Eid celebrations. Want to make this dish a little healthier? Opt for whole grain brown rice instead of white. It has a nuttier flavor and provides fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals, which may help keep you fuller for longer.
Swap high-fat lamb for leaner chicken
Lots of people choose slow-cooked lamb as the centerpiece for their Easter Sunday lunch. To make things lighter, try roasting a chicken with fresh lemon slices and lots of garlic instead, which may help you eat 15g less of saturated fat. Cutting off any visible fat from your cooked meat can also help.
Swap traditional desserts for low-sugar options
Pecan pie, gulab jamun, baklava, Christmas pudding, kaju katli and apple crumble are all traditional desserts when it comes to the holiday season, but they’re also high in sugar.
To cut back, go for something like baked fruit with warm spices and yogurt, dried fruits and nuts, seasonal sliced fruit platters – for example sliced oranges dusted with cinnamon – or replace processed sugars in your recipes with natural honey. It is always worth asking friends and family for their healthier versions of holiday favorites, too.
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