Have A Healthy Holiday With These Christmas Dinner Alternatives
The challenges are plenty when trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle this time of year. It's a part time job in itself preparing meals, exercising and keeping yourself motivated to stick to it all. As if that's not enough, most likely we add to the mix a bunch of relatives that have no idea why we won't just let go and give in. Even worse, the challenge lies ahead of attending and perhaps hosting some (over the top) sit down meals to celebrate the holidays. I haven't decided if this is screaming delicious or if this is a nervous nightmare to my regimented program.
I do know though that I am not alone and this dilemma is shared by many of you. This year I propose a win-win solution. Substitute your traditional Christmas dinner with some equally as yummy alternatives and you won't miss a thing. After all wouldn't it be that much more enjoyable if we could do without the post indulging regret.
Here's how to serve a healthy and regret free holiday meal that's sure to be a hit:
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This Year Substitute Your Traditional Christmas
Dinner With Some Equally Yummy And Healthy Alternatives.
Go Skinless! Turkey is awesome as it offers the least amount of fat per serving than any other meat when you pass on the skin. Broil, bake or roast when possible, instead of frying. Use lemon juice instead of rubbing sticks of butter (Lemons will tenderize just fine). As for your stuffing, whole wheat! Use low sodium broth for the stuffing and substitute half for water (when recipe calls for 2 cups broth, use one cup water and one cup broth). No skin, no butter and round one we are already ahead.
No need to skip the gravy, just do it "lite" this year. Substitute low sodium chicken stock and spices for fat drippings. Add skim milk and thicken with a little cornstarch if you must. Wisk away on low heat and it will thicken up. This year it's a vote for low fat gravy instead of the regular stuff.
Obviously a must on the table, so let's not give it up. Substitute your whites for sweet potatoes; this is sure to be a hit. Also, instead of mashed try wedges of sweet potato, lightly coated with olive oil, sprinkled with spices, and roasted. If you must use white potatoes, make them healthier and leave the peel on. This adds vitamins, minerals and you'll benefit from the fiber. If you are still going for the mash, be sure to use low fat sour cream, cream cheese and skim milk.
- Carrots and parsnips glazed with a little honey- rather than butter
- Spinach mash with reduced fat sour cream- rather than butter or cream
- Brussels sprouts steamed lightly, and roasted with a few chestnuts, lemon juice, and pepper
- Crunchy green salad - spinach leaves, green beans, broccoli etc
- Selection of veggies - seasoned with lemon juice, herbs, and spices
- Garlic green beans - drizzle olive oil, minced garlic, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and pepper to serve.
- Whole Wheat and Grain Buns - instead of the white stuff
Fresh fruit platter is always welcomed after a big meal - strawberries, grapes, pineapple, passion fruit, kiwi, melons, cherries, and mango, make it colorful. Feel free to serve with sorbet or frozen yogurt, or even Jell-O can do the trick.
My favorite this year, roasted pears! These are great alone or topped with lightly sweetened mascarpone. Equally as decadent versions can be baked with cranberries and nuts, served with low fat frozen yogurt, or sprinkled cinnamon. Get creative! Personally I like to bake them with some granola on top...but you decide!
If you are absolutely firm on sticking to your traditional holiday dessert, substitutions include applesauce for fats and use low fat evaporated milk or skim milk instead of heavy creams and whole milk. Use powdered sugar to top desserts instead of frosting.
See, just by substituting a few ingredients and cooking methods you can have a holiday meal you love that's healthy too. This Christmas is all about not giving up taste and flavor but ditching the extra calories and fat. Remember, holidays are about family and friends getting together and not about the food. This doesn't mean you can't have a yummy feast; just choose not to clog your arteries while doing so. Remember- nothing tastes better than fit feels!
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