With the holidays right around the corner, it’s important to plan your meals ahead of time so you make healthier choices! I’ve listed five of my favorite holiday food swaps you can make for the holidays!
Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots & Mushrooms
A cup of traditional green bean casserole has close to 300 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat and 900 milligrams of sodium! The heavily processed fried onions and condensed cream soup are primarily to blame. But let’s not rid of this dish altogether. Green beans are naturally low in calories and a source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Try steamed green beans with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized shallots for a tasty dish that features fresh, whole foods and is lower in calories, sodium, and fat.
Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower this year for a lower calorie and carbohydrate option. Cauliflower is a good source of fiber and vitamin K, and an excellent source of vitamin C and folate. It’s also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. That’s why some research suggests that cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, namely prostate cancer. Need a recipe? Check this one out!
Instead of traditional bread stuffing or potato filling, which has anywhere from 300 to 400 calories per one cup serving, try one filled with non-starchy veggies. Omit the bread and/or potatoes, and use riced cauliflower or broccoli, diced leeks, sliced mushrooms, chopped turnips, and/or cubed kabocha squash instead! Need a recipe? Try this Medifast approved one!
Roasted Kabocha Soup
Several studies have shown that daily calorie intake tends to be lower on days when soup is ingested. Researchers believe that this is likely caused by several factors, including temperature, mode of consumption, timing of ingestion, nutrient composition, and volume of the soup. So why not try soup this holiday season? Look for soups made with broth, vegetable juice, or low-fat milk that incorporate lean protein, like chicken breast or white turkey meat, and vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach, and broccoli. Avoid soups with large amounts of cream, full-fat dairy products, and refined carbohydrates, like white pasta. For a seasonal treat, try roasted kabocha soup. Simply cut a kabocha squash in half, remove the seeds and pulp, and roast in the oven until tender. Scoop out the flesh, mash, and puree with reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth, unsweetened almond or cashew milk or low-fat plain Greek yogurt, garlic, and any other herbs and spices you like. Gently warm over the stovetop, and enjoy!
Regular apple consumption has been linked to cancer prevention, improved heart health, and a healthy weight status. Instead of apple pie or other decadent desserts, enjoy the natural sweetness of apples this holiday season. Core the apple and peel if desired. Then sprinkle on your favorite holiday spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and/or cloves. Bake in the oven or slow cooker until tender, and serve with a cup of warmed unsweetened almond or cashew milk if desired.