Surprisingly Healthy Holiday Food Alternatives
The holidays are a time of tradition and celebration. Many of us look forward to spending time with friends and family over delicious meals. Perhaps this year you’re wondering how you can make these meals a little healthier to avoid the late December bloat. Is it possible to find surprisingly healthy holiday food alternatives? Integra Health and Wellness is going to try.
No, we’re not suggesting that fruit cake is a healthier holiday food alternative to pie. And we’re not going to suggest replacing buttered rolls with a slice of dry, whole-grain bread. Our goal is to find healthier holiday food options that also taste great while sticking to the traditional holiday menu.
Here are Integra’s favorite healthy holiday food alternatives.
Be Mindful Around Casserole
Casseroles can be delicious, but they often excuse a number of fatty ingredients in the name of extra flavor. In many cases, you can take the main ingredient out of the casserole and serve it as a standalone dish. For example:
- Green beans instead of green bean casserole
- Sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole
- Scalloped potatoes instead of tater tot casserole
We’re not saying serve plain sweet potatoes. No, you can still add some butter and maple syrup or honey to your liking. But perhaps the two cups of sugar and marshmallows can be avoided if you do away with the casserole. You’ll be surprised how tasty the individual ingredients can be when prepared well!
Replace Ham with Salmon
Some Scandinavian countries feature fish as their main holiday meat. Perhaps that’s a tradition you can start, too. Salmon is rich in healthy fats and Omega 3s and often comes with less salt than holiday ham. In general, doctors recommend fish over red meats, so this year, you might consider breaking out the salmon.
Serve Baked Apples Instead of Apple Pie
Don’t be fooled by the “apple” in apple pie. It’s really not a healthier holiday food alternative to chocolate or cream. One pie can have up to 1 cup of sugar in addition to a large helping of butter. Instead, you can try making baked apples. These apples can be baked with maple syrup or honey, cinnamon, and other toppings (again, we want your holidays to be as tasty as ever). You’ll still be able to experience your favorite holiday flavors while also making a healthier holiday food choice.
Make Your Own Gravy
There are few foods as cozy and delicious as gravy. Some people like it on turkey. Others like it on bread. Some like it on everything.
Store bought gravy often comes packed with sodium and preservatives. These questionable ingredients don’t always do much for the flavor; they simply allow giant companies to mass produce and distribute gravy across the country. Making your own gravy is a relatively simple process and allows you to decide what goes into the sauce. It’s a great way to serve a healthy holiday food alternative to your guests!
Offer Alternatives to Alcohol and Cocktails
Many people enjoy sipping an alcoholic beverage while sharing holiday cheer with their friends and relatives. However, it’s difficult to make mindful choices when alcohol is the only option available. If you’re in charge of drinks this year, consider offering tea, coffee, or other warm drinks. Sparkling water and non-alcoholic punch are also popular alternatives.
Rethink the Appetizer Tray
Holiday parties can end up as an appetizer competition. Everyone wants to bring their richest, tastiest treats for all to enjoy. The snack table usually ends up full of cheeses, cakes, and sticky sweet desserts.
What if we replaced these appetizers with different options? A pita and hummus tray can be a tasty alternative. Fresh fruit also appeals to the sweet tooth without relying on processed sugars. As we mentioned before, salmon is always a delicious addition to an appetizer spread. At the end of the day, including a variety of options allows people to make the health decisions that are best for them.
Embrace A Fresh Mindset Toward Food
Guilt and shame shouldn’t become holiday traditions. At Integra Health and Wellness, we want to promote positive mindsets toward food, weight, and nutrition. If you find that food is causing intense levels of stress, you might want to consider speaking with a nutritionist who deals with emotions and mental health. Black and white ideas of “good food” versus “bad food” rarely lead to long term happiness and health – it’s not what we want to promote here at Integra. In fact, strictly limiting these foods will only lead to you craving them more.
Instead, we want to see how food plays into the big picture of holistic, personal wellness. After you’re satisfied with rich holiday foods and are ready for something a bit more nutrient-dense, consider our tips here.
Discovering Healthy Holiday Food Alternatives is Just the Beginning
Integra Health and Wellness wants to be your nutrition and weight management partner. Through functional medicine, our team is able to pinpoint the cause of symptoms that have been troubling you for years. Is it hard for you to lose weight? Are you losing too much weight? Is weight even an issue for your health at all and should we be focusing on something completely different?
You’ll be able to answer these questions when you become a patient at Integra. We’re currently accepting new patients, so sign up for a free consultation today!