Making Holiday Meals Healthy
If you follow a few basic tips while cooking and eating during this holiday season, you can avoid all the negative effects of your holiday meals.
The holiday season is a special and joyous time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many, it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight-gaining. Have you ever been in situation that you couldn’t resist all those food temptations placed on the table? Well, the good news is that you can change that for better. Just focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun.
Here are some of the things that happen when you overload your stomach with a big meal:
- Stomach ache
You love your family recipes during the holidays, but you can’t stand the heartburn? Our bodies take the hardest hit from all the holiday feasting, whether it’s from the butter-braised turkey you just finished eating, or the cookies high in sugar. However, if you follow a few basic tips on cooking and eating during this holiday season, you can avoid all the negative effects of your holiday meals.
Before you enjoy your holiday meals, always keep in mind the following:
- Healthy diet should be on your list of priorities during the holidays as well. Include healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you.
- A pre-holiday detox will boost your immune system and help you stay healthy during the hectic holiday season. Most people are familiar with fasting-based detox programs that may include juices, smoothies or water. In this way you will get rid of the substances that your body doesn’t need.
- Celebrate the holidays with family and friends. The food tastes even better if it is shared with people you are truly fond of. Focus on spending as much time together as possible, and enjoy all the holiday feast has to offer.
Tips to make healthy holiday meals
- Serve a variety of fresh-made salads that go with meat. Cut vegetables into sticks.
- For salad dressing use unrefined (sunflower, sesame, olive) oil and lemon juice.
- It is very important not to overcook vegetables. Overcooking will not only result in loss of important nutrients, but will also drain the flavor. Light steaming, baking, and quick stir frying are the best ways to cook vegetables.
- Meat is best cooked in its own juice.
- Remove the skin and excess fat from chicken, turkey or other meat before cooking.
- Consume low-fat dairy products.
- Lower the fat in your cooking.
- Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes, instead of butter and salt.
- When making a pie, replace half of the oil for spraying crust with sparkling water or milk.
- To thicken sauces, soups, or stews use cold roux prepared in the following way: mix flour, oil, water and other spices, pour into a dish and stir well. In most cases the roux is made by heating the fat while adding other ingredients. When fat is heated, it produces various substances that your body doesn’t need and at the same time may cause the above-mentioned symptoms.
- Use the whole-wheat flour when making bread or similar stuff. It contains more fiber, which helps with digestion and leads to greater satiety.
- Replace white rice with brown rice, millet or buckwheat. Buckwheat strengthens the body, rejuvenates blood vessels, reduces fatigue, increases circulation in your arms and legs, and increases the secretion of urine. Some of the best health benefits of millet include its ability to protect your heart, protect you from diabetes, improve your digestive system, lower your risk of cancer, detoxify the body, boost respiratory health, optimize your immune system, increase your energy levels, and improve your muscle and nerve health.
- Reduce the amount of sugar in cake recipes.
- Instead of using sugar to sweeten cakes and other treats, use spices like cinnamon, cloves, anis, vanilla and nutmeg.
Eating at holiday parties
- Avoid fizzy and non-fizzy soft drinks. If you’re feeling thirsty, take some water.
- Take plenty of water while having alcoholic drinks, in order to lessen the effects of alcohol.
- To lower the calories enjoy non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails.
- A simple trick to help you eat less is to use a smaller plate, bowl, or glass.
- Take a lot of fresh-made salad with roast meat.
- The best way to enjoy an occasional sweet without losing control is by sampling a selection or two, rather than having full servings. For example, have one bite of pie, half a cookie or one small square of fudge. Find a friend or family member who will stick to the sampling rule with you.
- Eat slowly. Take time and enjoy the taste of your meal. Take small bites, and chew slowly. It usually takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. By eating slowly, you might be less likely to raid the dessert table.
We wish you happy eating this holiday season!