Make Your Holiday Favorites Healthier (and still delicious!)
I love the holiday season. I also love food. So I have a hard time celebrating without something delicious to eat - but that doesn’t mean I go into feast mode for six weeks straight! This time of year, we talk so much about how to ‘survive the holidays without weight gain’. I am not a huge fan of that focus because it ends up leaving us with guilt around festive food choices. Instead, why don't we shift the conversation towards savoring all the season has to offer – and still feeling energized?
The secret to holiday success is understanding which foods really light up our celebrations; which ingredients provide the flavours and textures we dream of and how to indulge more healthfully.
Dried fruit is so beautifully moist and sweet that it creates the perfect base for making soft, luscious treats. Raw, date-based truffles are a ‘thing’ for a reason. Combine cocoa - which is the soul of chocolate without all the extra junk - with pureed dates or cherries for a whole food treat.
(Try these Chocolate Peanut Butter YUM Balls)
Creamy Dips…Sans Cream
One of my favorite all time kitchen tricks is using pureed white beans. They lend a creamy, buttery taste to dips that satisfies your need for comfort food. Think fiber, protein and minerals…instead of tons of fat.
Enjoy Comforting Soups
A warm, creamy soup is an entertaining staple. And you can get that effect a couple of healthy ways. The richer option is to blend in soaked cashews instead of cream. No one will guess the soup is vegan! If your menu is already on the heavier side, try the lighter option and use raw cauliflower. That’s right – cauliflower! Blending cauliflower into soups ‘creams’ and thickens soups in the most satisfying way.
So much of the holiday vibe in cooking comes from the spices you choose. A heavy lashing of cinnamon and nutmeg can make even a simple latte seem festive. And a lavish combination of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice can elevate anything from a beautiful chia pudding, layered with Satsuma segments, to a wholesome whole grain cookies.
Embrace the Sweet Potato
Roasted sweet potatoes are a lovely, comforting holiday side all on their own. But using them in cooking can help you make creamy soups, decadent tasting dips and even add nutrient-dense oomph to baking (hello, sweet potato brownies!)
Snack on Winter Fruits for Dessert
After a rich meal, no one really needs a heavy dessert. Instead, serve a beautiful platter of winter fruit. Share satsumas, with the leaves still attached, persimmons, roasted quince and pomegranates – there is nothing more lavish or deliciously healthy!
The holiday season will always be associated with indulgence…but remember that decadence is in the eye of the beholder. Lavish yourself with decadently healthy ingredients and you’ll still have the energy to enjoy every last minute of the holiday season!
Show us your healthy holiday recipes by tagging a picture with #FestiveFoodie on Instagram or Twitter. You could win exciting prizes!