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

Sharing Healthy Ideas at The Pear Blossom Festival

MEDFORD PEAR BLOSSOM (6)In Medford, OR, nothing brings out the crowds like the Pear Blossom Festival. The event marks the beginning of spring, and while we attend the event every year, it’s really, really nice when the weather cooperates. This year, we posted up with a “Share Your Healthy Ideas” banner, and simply asked people to give us their ideas for living a healthy life. As we always do, we had a flood of incredible ideas.

We also offered some of our favorite healthy “spring time” recipes, some fresh produce, our wellness trivia game (complete with a nifty Plinko board), and we gave away some of our handy salad shakers to the winners.

It’s an amazing event, and our team in Medford had a blast. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! Here are some more snapshots from the event:

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Introducing the One Week $40 Healthy Eating Challenge

1 Week_40_Healthy Eating ChallengeThere’s a common myth that states, “In order to eat a healthy diet, you need to spend big.” We wanted to put this myth to the test, so we reached out to our old friend Kim the Intern and asked her to be our guinea pig. Kim agreed to take the One Week $40 Healthy Eating Challenge and blog about her tales.

Here’s how it worked: For one week, Kim was only allowed to spend $40 on food. We chose $40 because that’s about $10 less than the national average weekly grocery budget for a single person. Kim’s a brave soul, so we wanted to challenge her! Kim’s shopping list was up to her, but everything she ate had to be widely considered to be “healthy food.” She could eat out during this week, but if she did, it had to come out of her $40 budget, and the dish had to meet the same healthy criteria.

In her own words, here’s the result of Kim’s adventure: 

With only $40 to spend, I had to do some research. So, I scoured my old friend Pinterest for some new recipes and put together a list of things I could use for several meals.

With just $40 I bought:

This is basically what my veggie drawer looked like.

This is basically what my veggie drawer looked like.

  • A box of whole wheat noodles
  • A small spaghetti squash
  • 2 medium-sized zucchinis
  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 chunk of low-fat mozzarella cheese 
  • 1 box of 6 eggs
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 potato
  • 1 bunch green beans
  • 1 bag of coffee
  • 1 small chunk of salmon
  • 1 loaf of whole wheat bread
  • 1 full head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 jug of V8 Juice
  • 2 Portobello Mushrooms
  • Tomato sauce – no sodium
  • I spent the rest on a variety of other fruits and veggies (my snacks)

I had originally thought I would save a little money that I could spend on stuff to supplement my meals during the week. But when I got to the register, I realized that I had hit my $40 limit! So what I had in my cart was what I had to work with. The challenge was on!

Keep in mind I was only cooking for one person, but this had to last me 7 full days. I tried a bunch of new recipes – all healthy – and to my surprise, I was able to eat well for the whole week. I thought I’d be starving, but it turns out, with planning I had more than enough food, and I even had leftovers on most days. For someone who isn’t able to spend a lot of time cooking, this was a huge feat for me.

This is what my week looked like in meals:

40DollarsMenu

The biggest challenge wasn’t staying within my budget, it was finding the time to prepare my meals. But with a little time and effort, it was totally doable. If you would like to look at some of the recipes I used, please visit the PacificSource recipe board on Pinterest! This was a great challenge, and if you’re even remotely interested, I would suggest trying it out. I ate healthy every day and for someone whose primary guilty pleasure is junk food, making it to Sunday sounded daunting. But I made it, I feel great and I have some new favorite recipes!