The holidays are here—it’s time for family, friends and tasty dishes.
With some healthy swaps, you can add joy to your holiday season without the stress. Here are 10 tips on how to make some of your favorite holiday recipes more nutritious.
Favor fruits and veggies
Make fruits and vegetables the stars of the show. They’re great sources of vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber and they add beautiful color to any dish. Make these dishes shine by finding a new recipe to showcase at your holiday dinners, such as balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts.
Choose whole grains
Aim for healthy swaps such as whole wheat bread instead of white bread, or brown rice, quinoa and wild rice instead of white rice. Whole grain products offer a higher fiber content, which is important for heart and digestive health.
Rather than deep-frying and sautéing, try baking, roasting or steaming some of your dishes to reduce fat while maintaining flavor.
Go for yogurt
For recipes that contain mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese, switch it up with some low-fat Greek yogurt for lower fat and higher protein content.
Freshen up your appetizers
Rather than heavy dips or meat and cheese, opt for something a little lighter like hummus, veggies and whole grain crackers or shrimp cucumber bites.
Use fruits as desserts
Holiday desserts are warm and inviting. Fruits such as apples, pears, pumpkin and figs complement those flavors. Pair this fun pumpkin spice fruit dip with some fresh fruit as a dessert.
Use herbs instead of salt
Boost the flavor profile of your dishes by using herbs and seasonings rather than salt and butter. Staple herbs and seasonings include garlic, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil, dill and cilantro. Fresh or dried will both work great.
Choose healthy proteins
Protein dishes are a staple at holiday meals. To promote a healthy heart, choose lean proteins instead of high fat proteins—this will help lower your saturated fat intake. Lean protein options include poultry, seafood, beans and legumes and tofu.
Choose the plate method
Place all your foods on one small plate—roughly the size of your hand stretched out—and try to balance things out by visually following the MyPlate example with protein, grains, fruits and vegetables.
Like all things in life, nutrition is a balancing act. The holidays bring around several tasty food options that are normally not available. Enjoy these foods in moderation and enjoy your holiday season.