Think eating healthy during the holiday season is impossible? If you are watching your weight and trying to stay healthy, you can’t enjoy those yummy holiday treats, right? Wrong. Here are tips and recipes that allow you to have your cake and eat it too.
1. Low-Fat Cookies
Substitute low fat, reduced fat, olive oil spreads or trans fat free butter and margarine in your holiday cookies. You’ll never notice the difference. Use substitute or raw sugar for your holiday baking. This sugar is less refined, more natural and healthy and tastes yummy.
2. Applesauce Chocolate Cake
What’s a holiday without some chocolate cake? Substitute applesauce for oil in your chocolate cakes. The chocolate will become the starring flavor, and you won’t taste the difference.
3. Low-Fat or Tofu Spread
Substitute low fat cottage cheese for cream cheese in recipes. Blend the cottage cheese to remove chunks and make it creamy. You will halve the fat and calories and triple the protein. Blend soft tofu in recipes in place of creamy cheeses. Use these substitutions for a creamy cracker spread.
4. Healthy Dips
Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream. Make yummy dips and spreads with plain yogurt instead of sour cream, and use them to dip chips, fruit or veggies.
Use chickpeas, lemon, olive oil and garlic to make a delicious hummus. Add chopped green onions on top. Substitute hummus for fatty cheese dips and spreads. Click here for homemade hummus recipes.
6. Fresh Salsa
Fresh salsa is red, green and colorful, and perfect for the holidays. Choose fresh, refrigerated salsa over packaged salsa on the shelf. You can also make your own salsa out of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro. Or give it a twist by adding mango or peach.
7. Healthy Chips
Substitute pita chips, pretzels or organic blue corn tortilla chips. PIta chips have less fat and more protein than the average salty chip. They are generally healthier. Blue corn chips have less protein than pita chips, but are still lower in fat than most salty chips. Pretzels are naturally low fat. Look for salty snacks and chips that are made without hydrogenated fat or trans fat.
8. Healthier Fudge
Substitute marshmallows for butter and fat in creamy fudge recipes. Marshmallows contain no fat and cook very nicely in fudge. Top sliced bananas or strawberries with the delicious fudge.
9. Veggies and Dip
Substitute raw vegetables and light dip for that classic holiday snack: chips and dip. When you hit those calorie rich holiday buffets, zero in on the fresh vegetables and fill up on those. You will be far less tempted to over-indulge with a tummy full of healthy veggies.
10. Fresh-Fruit Cocktails
Mind your alcohol consumption at the holidays. Wine, beer, fruity liqueurs, creamy drinks and specialty cocktails are loaded with sugar and calories. Use milk or soy milk instead of cream. Cut back on the alcohol content in the drinks. If you like to imbibe in holiday spirits, substitute fresh fruit and juice for commercial drink mixers and fruit liqueurs. I make a mean pina colada with coconut rum (51 calories per serving) and pineapple-orange juice. You can use banana, mango, passion fruit and pineapple rum, also.
Have a happy, healthy, holiday season.