Healthier Holiday Meals

The holiday’s are hear, and while I sometimes error on the side of eating too much (see our Hunger Meter), I do try to eat a balanced holiday meal. Here are a few tips and recipes on the traditional holiday favorites that will trim calories and boost nutrition.

Green Bean Casserole

The green beans are great, but the rest of the ingredients lead up to a high fat high calorie feast! Why not serve up fresh steamed green beans without all the extras? Steam beans to tender-crisp then sauté with diced shallots and toasted sliced almonds.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes don’t have to be loaded up with cream and butter to taste great. Take advantage of the natural creaminess of potatoes. You can also ramp up the flavor by adding fresh herbs, spices, and other flavor enhancers such as sweet roasted garlic. Here’s one recipe to trim up the calories in mashed potatoes:

Healthier Mashed Potatoes - mobile

Sweet Potato Casserole

Candied yam—another vegetable dish turned into a sugar-and fat-laden indulgence. For a new tradition, try this Meringue-topped Sweet Potato Casserole, reprinted with permission from Eating Well (EatingWell.com/recipes/sweet_ potato_meringue_casserole.html):

Sweet Potato Casserole_Mobile

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition in many homes. This year, create a new tradition by making a homemade cranberry apple sauce that is lower in added sugar and higher in fruit than the traditional and canned versions.

Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce - Mobile

Give the Gift of Health This Year – 8 Ideas

 

Week 4 Newsletter_Healthy Gift Ideas_1115The holidays officially here and the thought of finding the perfect gift for our loved ones seem to be as constant as the holiday music at the mall.  Have you thought of giving the gift of health this year?

Here are some healthy holiday gifts that you can give your loved.

  • Subscription to Health Magazines – Many yearlong subscription to  magazines are quite affordable, so why not extend this gift that keeps on giving to someone you love?
  • Indoor Herb Garden – Adding fresh herbs to a healthy homemade meal will get the family around the dinner table in no time.
  • Exercise DVDs – When the weather outside is frightful, that’s no excuse to miss a workout.
  • Gym Membership – An annual gym membership can be expensive, but a three-month pass, or even an exercise class pass, can inspire your loved one to get moving in the new year.
  • Health and Fitness Apps – Gone are the days where we track our food and workouts on paper. A variety of applications are available to help track of physical activity, count calories, take a meditation break to de-stress, find healthy recipes, manage sleep cycles, and create shopping lists.
  • Recipe Book – Gather your favorite healthy recipes, and turn them into a recipe book from the heart.
  • Fresh Fruits and Veggies – Encourage your loved ones to eat fresh fruits and veggies from your local farms by getting them a membership to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
  • Health Coupons – Gifts don’t have to be expensive or even purchased for that matter. Make up a handful of coupons that are good for a back rub, a hike in the foothills, a long walk after dinner, or even family game night.

A gift that promotes healthy living is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving this year and many years to come!  Maybe giving a healthy holiday gift really is giving the perfect gift.

 

 

Stockings, a Healthy and Humbling Holiday Tradition!

Yesterday morning I celebrated the holidays by opening up my stocking, a great custom that turns out to be one of the few healthy traditions I have practiced over the last few days! Yeah, something I should work on, but the “eggnog” and homemade cookies are hard to pass up!

iStock_000021725524XXXLarge-Stocking-Christmas-Fruit-NutsEach year the toe of my stocking is filled with assorted nuts in their shell and a perfectly ripe navel orange. For me, the tradition of nuts and fruit go back to when my grandparent placed these items in my stocking when I was young. And, each year I would question why I received these healthy snacks instead of more candy, with the annual response that these items brought good luck for the new year.

Well, as I pealed my orange yesterday morning, my curiosity forced me to confirm this answer, or find the truth! What I found was a great history of giving, and a humbling path back to the past that will keep me placing fruit and nuts in the stockings of my loved ones.

Giving fruit and nuts goes back to the 1880’s, as stockings became a popular way to give gifts during the holidays (learn why stockings were originally hung with care). During this time, these items where hard to acquire as times were tough, but the new railway systems made it possible to deliver fresh fruit before it spoiled. Thus, an orange and nuts were considered cherished treats! For all but the wealthy, this Christmas gift was the only fresh fruit and nuts children would enjoy all winter and spring.

So, for those of you looking for healthy traditions during the holiday season, here is a practice that will not only provide good nutrition, but a story that will bring your family to appreciate the gifts received during this season. And, if you still need a little extra reason, I will tell you it brings good luck for the new year!

Looking for more healthy holiday traditions? Try these delicious recipes for Sweet Potato Casserole and Cranberry Apple Crisp! Yum!