Healthy Tips for Holiday Meals
The holidays are fast approaching, and along with the presents and the family gatherings comes one thing a lot of people worry about: Holiday meals. With it comes a lot of unhealthy food, often times that doesn’t fuel you and make you feel your best or meet your dietary requirements. This doesn’t have to mean one must pick between overindulging or bringing their own carefully prepared meal from home. It is possible to eat healthy while sharing an impressive meal with friends and family, if you choose the right foods and with the right preparation. Here are just a few ways you can accomplish that:
- Smaller Plates. This one seems rather simple, and has nothing to do with the food itself, but everything to do with portions. Use a smaller plate if you have the option. There may be a wide selection of foods prepared, but but you’ll eat smaller portion sizes if you have a smaller plate. It’s a lot more tempting to fully finish off a plate overloaded with all the fixings, but with a smaller portions you still have all the satisfaction with a lower risk of overeating.
- Eat Mindfully. Taking the time to fully chew your food (to enjoy the experience) and eating more slowly will allow your digestive system to more effectively go to work on your food. It will also give your body time to communicate to your brain that you’re getting full so you don’t overeat. In Japan they eat until they are 80% full because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.
- Consider Your Proteins. Turkey is certainly a traditional holiday feast in the United States, but it’s not the only thing you can serve as the centerpiece of your meal. An oven-roasted salmon can serve as a worthy substitute for those looking to lighten their dinner, and pairs well with as many foods as turkey does. If you’re looking to go plant-based or vegan, there are plenty of options available, and a mushroom gravy can provide the savory flavor of a traditional gravy.
- Lighten The Sides. A holiday meal wouldn’t be complete without side dishes, but many of these come loaded with calories! To lighten the load (or at least get a bit more nutritional bang for your buck), consider some simple substitutes. Rather than typical mashed potatoes slathered in butter, consider mashing up sweet potatoes instead, served with gravy or your favorite vegan butter substitute. Roasted vegetables are traditional as well, but you can go the extra mile by… Just serving them! Carrots, cauliflower, or squash all serve as healthy and delicious sides for a holiday meal, roasted in the oven with a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil drizzled on top. Broccoli or corn are good choices as well, and of course many vegetables can be served raw with a bit of hummus or a yogurt-based veggie dip. Want the perfect plant based recipe to bring to your next event? Grab our low-cost cookbook here.
- Have A Buffet. This ties in with the first tip, but rather than setting everything on the table and having your guests pass around dishes, prepare a line of food for them to pass through when they want to fill their plates. This encourages them to sample an array of foods rather than simply filling up on whatever’s closest. If you want to go all-out, arrange a Mediterranean-style buffet, where you can provide a variety of light proteins such as fish and poultry, roasted, pickled and raw vegetables such as carrots, olives or cucumbers, and a spread of cheeses and whole-grain crackers.
Planning a meal for the holidays doesn’t have to be a day you dread eating. Rather, it can be a great opportunity to show yourself, your family, and your friends that you don’t have to overstuff yourself or eat horribly unhealthy to have a wonderful holiday meal. Get a delicious and easy meal for you or for many here.