Healthier Holiday Food

I love the tradition of sharing a meal with family and friends during the holidays.

Holiday foods often involve a number of rich, savory foods, creamy dips and fried foods. And yet, these foods don’t always make our body feel at it’s best. So, here are a few ingredient or food choice tips that can make our dishes healthier to share with beloved family and friends.

A potato dish can be made with sweet or purple potatoes in place of white potatoes. Use a high quality, organic butter, or use organic ghee or coconut oil as the healthy fat for mashed potatoes or when baking fries. Sweet potatoes are delicious and high in fiber and beta-carotene.

For a healthy stuffing, try making one with organic sprouted rice or even wild rice. Then, bake your stuffing in a separate dish instead of cooking it inside the turkey (where it can absorb a high amount of high saturated fat from the meat.) Also, use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Doing both of these things allow the vegetarian or vegan diners to be able to enjoy that dish as well.

When making cornbread stuffing, purchase the non-GMO, organic cornmeal (which is free of the bT toxin). If you are feeling brave, try using blue cornmeal, which is about 30 percent higher in protein and has more zinc and iron than white or yellow corn.

When preparing creature foods, try using a little orange juice and coconut oil to add moisture, and try baking it instead of frying it. If you are baking, frying or sautéing anything, use organic, pure coconut oil in place of lard, vegetable oil or a trans-fat like Crisco. It handles heat well and has fantastic health benefits.

For other types of animal, fish or fowl, you can grill, broil, or sauté them in a little coconut oil. After you remove them from the heat, you can drizzle some pure, organic, extra virgin olive oil on them and serve with lemon juice or a lemon juice vinaigrette. When dining, choose skinless, white meat pieces, and then add just a tiny bit of gravy.

Now for dessert, try making a pumpkin pie! You can make a whole sprouted grain crust yourself or you can find a whole grain ready-made crust at the store, and make my cashew crème recipe as the whipped cream for the topping. (Recipe is on page 185 in my award winning cookbook,  How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian, 2nd edition.) I also love having a simple pitted date as a sweet treat or dessert. It’s just fruit, and it is a healthier choice.

Try using non-dairy milk in your recipes or for your coffee creamer. If you want it to be sweeter, blend the milk (like the unsweetened, vanilla coconut or hemp milk) with a little extra added vanilla or maple extract in a blender and add some pitted dates (I soak them in water to make them softer, so they will crème up easier) and voilà! You have a healthier version of a sweet, holiday creamer for your coffee or desserts.

When making or serving snacks, try an easy dip option such as a healthy high-protein hummus or nutritious guacamole. Cutting some cucumber, red bell pepper or celery to use as the dipping chips is also a great choice! If you want to serve crackers or chips, try using a whole grain, sprouted, organic version or an organic sweet potato chip or cracker. (Late July is a good brand for chips and Mary’s Gone Cracker’s is my favorite cracker these days.)

For additional snacks that are easy for travel or on the go, try combinations of organic, sprouted nuts, sprouted seeds, olives, pitted dates, raisins, dry fruits, kale chips and coconut chips.

The cute little Santa appetizers (in the photo above) are simply grapes with strawberries and slices of banana. You could use white mulberries for the top of the Santa hat. Easy and fun! Your children can help make those!

Here are some easy substitutions I use frequently: 1. unsweetened cashew yogurt in place of sour cream, 2. hummus or mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise for sandwiches, 3. unsweetened vanilla coconut, hemp or cashew milk in place of dairy.

With these ingredient substitutions, you can still eat all the delicious flavors you love while enjoying a number of health benefits.

In this way, you can feel and look your best as holiday activities continue on into January. Instead of regretting what you ate, you will glow with radiant health as you welcome the New Year of 2018!

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