So the holidays are right around the corner … how in the world did that happen?! When you’re caught up in the hustle of daily life AND the holidays, eating healthy can feel like a chore.
But eating nutritious foods during the holidays does NOT have to be difficult! In fact, it can be fun and easy. Consider this your one stop holiday meal ideas shop!
Common winter holidays
There are several different holidays for those who celebrate–some holidays are tied to a religion while some are not.
There’s Hanukkah, Three Kings Day, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and Kwanza, just to name a few. Gifting for the holidays can often be tricky, and we’ve written a couple of blog posts to help provide guidance on gift giving this holiday season:
And of course, in addition to special holiday traditions and gifts, there’s incredible holiday food!
Let’s dive in shall we? ;)
Popular holiday ingredients
How do you prepare to cook your favorite holiday recipes? By stocking up of course! Here are a few common ingredients to keep handy in your pantry for when holiday baking comes up.
Butter: we know, we know–you may be looking to avoid cooking with butter. But around the holidays, butter is an often-used and unavoidable ingredient, so the least you can do is to use the healthiest version! Some doctors say that grass-fed butter is better for you than regular butter, and this can be a great swap! According to research, compared with regular butter, grass-fed butter contains more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Grass-fed butter also contains less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat than regular butter.
Chicken broth: Nothing compares to a soothing bowl of chicken broth–yum! Chicken broth is so versatile and used in many holiday recipes. Plus, broth is rich in essential fatty acids and protein. It’s even possible to make chicken broth at home! The best homemade chicken broth contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Here’s an easy, homemade chicken broth recipe for those interested in trying this at home!
And for those times when you’re looking for a pre-made, convenient option? Proper Good Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth are great for sipping all by themselves! Or, try using them as a tasty, gravy-like base for holiday dishes, such as with mashed potatoes!
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, healthy fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Nuts and seeds regulate body weight, and this is because their fats are not fully absorbed. They also regulate food intake and help burn energy–a true superfood! Nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fats and other nutrients that protect against heart disease. Yummy AND nutritious–what could be a better combo this holiday season?
Eggs: We all know that eggnog is a popular holiday treat, but it’s often filled with cream, alcohol, and sugar. While there’s nothing wrong with an indulgent desert, sometimes you’re craving an egg-based holiday recipe that’s healthy, too! For a festive egg-y treat, try this egg in a hole recipe! With tree cut outs, it’s cute and simple … not to mention delicious! Perfect for families to enjoy together on cozy holiday mornings.
How to make holiday meals healthy
It’s no secret holiday meals are oh-so-tasty but not always the healthiest! Don’t fret, because especially when you are cooking meals at home, you can make them as healthy as you want!
Here are a couple of ideas on making holiday meals healthier:
Make a swap: can you swap sour cream for greek yogurt in the top-secret holiday dip recipe? Or include heart-healthy dark chocolate instead of white or milk chocolate in your holiday cookies? Go for it! Simple swaps like these can make a big difference when it comes to indulging in holiday meals while keeping on track with health goals.
Use an oil: Natural oils are rich in heart-friendly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they contain a balance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, too. In general, olive and canola oils are healthier choices than butter and most margarines. Try using them as replacements for butter and margarine in your holiday cooking!
Go crustless: Pies are suuuuper tasty holiday favorites, but some types of pie contain over 500 calories per slice! The good news is that there are many crustless pie recipes out there, which provide a healthier solution without sacrificing the home-y flavor! A way to get that yummy pie taste without the crust is with a smoothie. Here’s a delicious heart-healthy pumpkin spice smoothie recipe to test out this year.
Holiday food ideas for the office party
Ahh, the famous (or infamous!) holiday office party–you either love it or hate it! But often, holiday parties are filled with sugary treats, leaving you with a sugar rush and soon-to-follow sugar crash.
When you are able to bring your own homemade treats to the office party, try a charcuterie board! We can’t get enough of this adorable holiday charcuterie board, and assembling healthy meats, cheeses, and fruits could be a great contribution to the office holiday party.
‘Tis the season for yummy holiday food! Be sure to enjoy your favorite treats this holiday season, and we hope the tips shared empower you to stay on track with your health goals, too. ;)