During the holidays, we’re often surrounded by tons of sweet treats and decadent dishes that can lead to unwanted weight gain. Staying healthy is important, but it’s also nice to be able to enjoy a delicious meal or cocktail with family and friends. Rather than skipping out on the festivities, try out these healthy alternatives for your favorite holiday treats.
A Few Simple Swaps
Swap Casseroles for Fresh Veggies
Instead of green bean casserole, try steaming fresh green beans and garnishing them with slivered almonds. This way, you skip out on the fat in creamy mushroom soup, as well as the heavy fried-onion topping. Another great swap is replacing your typical candied yam dish with freshly roasted sweet potatoes. Roasting the potatoes brings out a lot of natural sweetness, so you can still enjoy a great tasting side dish without all of that added sugar.
Cut Carbs When You Can
Potatoes are another carbohydrate-rich food that we often refer to as a “vegetable.” Instead of loading up on mashed potatoes that are sure to put you in a food coma, try out a delicious cauliflower mash. This low-carb dish tastes great, so adding it to your Christmas buffet won’t feel like much of a sacrifice.
Reach for Low-Fat Options
A crudité or vegetable plate is a crowd-pleasing appetizer that’s sure to make an appearance this Christmas. Most creamy of the creamy dips that accompany these veggies are made with sour cream, which can add a lot of calories to this once-healthy snack. Swap sour cream for low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt and enjoy the same great tasting dips with only 1/3 of the calories.
If you’re one of the many families eating turkey this Christmas, be sure to reach for cuts of white meat. Not only does white meat taste great, it only contains half of the fat usually found in dark meat.
When It Comes to Cocktails
Pack a Punch with Fresh Fruit
For your next gathering, whip up a pitcher of sangria by soaking your favorite sliced fruits in wine overnight. The fruit adds nutritional value and acts as a natural sweetener. Choose your preferred white or red wine, and add cinnamon or other spices for even more flavor.
If you love apple cider, but you want to avoid sugar overload, try making an apple cider sangria at home. One recipe combines white wine and vodka with a variety of fruits and spices so that you can enjoy this holiday specialty without any of the added sugar you’ll find in most apple ciders.
Cut Hidden Calories Without Comprising Taste
Eggnog is perhaps the most popular Christmas drink on the market. This holiday classic is usually made with heavy cream, but you can easily swap the cream for low-fat or skim milk in your eggnog recipe. Once the mixture has chilled in the fridge for a few hours, add white rum or bourbon and your guilt-free ‘nog is ready to be enjoyed!
Believe it or not, most wines contain upwards of 150 calories per serving. If you want to enjoy an adult beverage without tipping the scale, try replacing two ounces of wine per glass with club soda to make a wine spritzer. This bubbly treat is light and delicious, while the calorie-free club soda helps keep each glass under 100 calories.
For more healthy holiday swaps and recipes, read: Just in Time for Holiday Parties: Eat/Drink This, Not That
For a local listing of fitness run/walk events that will take the edge of your holiday indulgences, read: 11 Chances to Run Off Those Holiday Goodies