Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips – 2022
Happy holidays! I always find this time of year to be a bit complicated. The holidays are joyous but they can also come with their challenges. I believe it’s important to acknowledge that, which can actually help you ease into the holiday season and enjoy it more.
Of course, the holidays are also a time of indulgence, which is fun, but it is important to stay mindful and not overdo it. With that in mind, I would like to offer some ideas on easy ingredient substitutions that taste great but are better for you. They allow you to still make your favorite dishes in healthier versions.
- Chocolate! Many holiday recipes call for chocolate, so I suggest swapping out milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% or more cacao. The higher the percentage of cacao, the less sugar in the chocolate. In addition, cacao is a powerful antioxidant that boosts energy and helps burn fat.
- Swap out the white sugar listed in so many holiday dessert recipes for other healthier, all-natural, sweeteners such as stevia, coconut sugar, or monk fruit sweetener. All of these sweeteners are all natural and measure much lower on the glycemic index. This means they won’t spike your blood glucose levels the way white sugar does. These alternative sweeteners each have different levels of sweetness, so a quick Google search can guide you on how to measure and replace the white sugar.
- Aim for more plant-based foods in your holiday meals this year. You can do this in a variety of ways. For example, you can swap out coconut cream for dishes that call for full-fat dairy products, like creamy soups. You can also use beans and potatoes as thickeners instead of heavy cream, and you can offer cooked fruit as a topping on desserts instead of overly sweet syrups. Also, try vegetable side dishes like seared broccolini and pesto spaghetti squash instead of starchy side dishes like white potatoes and semolina pastas.
- Cut down on unhealthy cooking oils like canola and safflower, and instead opt for olive, coconut, and avocado oils. Pay close attention to burn temperatures when using oils because they can release carcinogens if they start to smoke. To be safe, use olive oil for dressings and very low-temperature sautéing, coconut oil for medium-temperature cooking, and avocado oil for higher temperatures and frying. Olive and avocado oils are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, while coconut oil is an excellent source of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides).
So get adventurous with your cooking. Most importantly, have fun with it, and be willing to try new things! The only constant is change, so change it up this year!
At Tri-Wellness, we want to wish the happiest of holidays and ease and joy into the New Year.
My passion is to help you live your healthiest and most harmonious life, but in a way that’s realistic and practical for you as a unique individual on this planet. My philosophy is all about “balance,” never a diet since a diet is not sustainable for life, aka Kill The Diet.