We all tend to see the holidays as a fun time of year when we gather with friends, family, and other loved ones to come together and celebrate time honored traditions. We share meals, raise glasses, and enjoy each other’s company and bask in the shared warmth of good cheer and feelings. For many of us, these traditions include favorite and seasonal foods, perhaps with recipes passed down through the family over generations. After all, who doesn’t look forward to things like brined turkey, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole, and other dishes unique to our families and regions?
Food has an incredible and strong connection to memory. The taste of a childhood dish prepared by our mothers can instantly transport us back to that period of time, reminding us of the carefree days and the sense of love and safety we felt. However, many holiday foods are unfortunately packed full of unhealthy amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, and fats. This doesn’t mean we have to throw out all our recipes! It is, after all, the holidays, and some indulgence is warranted. With some careful substitutions, you can still enjoy your favorites, while also making them more nutritious.
- Swap vanilla ice cream or whipped topping with vanilla frozen yogurt
- Switch to dairy-free eggnog
- When baking, substitute butter or oil for an equal amount of applesauce
- Whenever you must use oil, reach for a variety with unsaturated fat like sunflower oil or olive oil
- Instead of white flour, use a mix of half white flour and half whole wheat flour