The holidays are here, and it is time to savor all the joy they bring — friends, family, meals together, giving & gratitude. Of course, along with them are hearty dishes and sweets that can certainly wreak havoc on our bodies. Casseroles laden with cream, sugary cakes and cookies, and other tempting empty calorie bombs will adorn the dining tables we surround. Unless we do something about it, that is! My family has always teased me when I cook or bake something new, the first thing they ask is “What is in it”? As they got older and more excited about eating healthy they stopped asking because there bodies craved good healthy food. They also took on the attitude “what I don’t know wont hurt me” lol . During the year it is a little easier because it is just Mike and I but there is always a struggle on how I can make healthy additions to the meal without the extra friends and family members I have around my table during the holiday time. Well, I have a few of my favorite tricks to share with you that I now use each season, and the best part is, nobody ever notices. Don’t you tell either!!!!
My favorite ways to sneak healthy goodies into my meals are…
Go for bone broth or herbal teas
When you roast or poach food, make soups or stews, or even for your gravy, use something that gives you a boost of health instead of canned sodium-riddled broth or plain water. Using bone broth will add more depth of flavor, and it will provide you with healthy immune boosting properties. You could also try herbal teas like ginger tea or green tea that will add a light flavor and add more antioxidants for better health.
Sprinkle in some turmeric
Turmeric is a naturally powerful anti-inflammatory that is filled with antioxidants. It is related to ginger and looks quite similar to a ginger root, and is most easily consumed in dried form. You can sneak it into dishes by sprinkling it in and enjoy the benefits it brings. Add just a little bit to your sweet potatoes, salad dressings, and dips. Go easy on it since the flavor can be strong to those that aren’t used to it.
Use sweet alternatives
Don’t worry — I’m not suggesting you do away with your dessert table altogether, but those unrefined sugars are what we are trying to avoid. If you swap out the unhealthy stuff for a natural sweetener that is a better option, you’ll still get the sweet tastes everyone loves without the slew of chemicals. Try raw organic honey. Local honey is best, which can typically be found at your local health food store. You can also look for coconut sugar or coconut syrup, or even use dates. You all know I love me some dates. You can make any dessert pop with date paste. Garden of Eden Organics has the best dates EVER!
Freshen up flavors with fresh herbs
Fresh herbs add a new dimension of taste to your dishes without adding fat and calories. Plus fresh herbs naturally have their own benefits from adding more antioxidants to reducing inflammation. Experiment with your favorite ones to add more zing to your mashed potatoes or liven up your veggies. My favorite herbs right now are basil and dill. I have tried to grow my own and have flopped every time. If anyone has any hints please let me know.
The holidays don’t have to be so heavy on the unhealthy items, particularly when you use these simple tricks for making your favorite holiday dishes healthier. Let me know if you have any favorite tricks you can share with me. Remember its all in the balance!!!
If you are looking for a way to stay motivated through the holiday season and into 2018 plesae join my private Facebook Group. We discuss meditation, clean eating and exercise ideas. You can request to join here.