The holidays are a wonderful time of year! We get to spend time with friends and family we may not often see, experience old family traditions, and enjoy all that holiday food! It can be both the most magical and frustrating time of year for many folks.
Unfortunately, our holiday traditions involve food quality that is… questionable at best.
For those of us attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the holidays can be challenging to make good food choices. How do we stay committed to our health during the busiest of seasons, not to mention all the temptations surrounding us? Do we just count it as a total loss and start strong on January 1st?
Don’t throw in the towel just yet. Today I will share a couple tips that will help you make healthier choices through this holiday season.
Offer to Host
The best way to ward off temptation and have control of the food during the holidays is to host the party. That way you can be sure the main dishes and many of the sides will be prepared with whole food ingredients and something you can enjoy partaking in, knowing that it’s both delicious and good for you!
You can always have people bring side dishes, but you still have ultimate control of the menu, and even the dish that your guests will bring. I know this can be more work, but what a blessing it is to host family and friends in your home. I also enjoy introducing new foods to my friends or family and seeing their reactions when they actually end up enjoying a healthier food option.
Always Offer to Bring a Healthier Option
If you are unable to host for whatever reason, the next tip is an important one. Offer to bring a side dish or even dessert that is made from whole food ingredients that are good for you. This may look like green beans wrapped in nitrite-free bacon, roasted root vegetables, sweet potatoes mash, salad, or avocado brownies for dessert. That way if the other options are less healthy, you can always fill up your plate with salad or veggies and leave the other stuff on the buffet line. You have control over how your food is cooked, but you can’t control what ingredients someone else uses.
Replace Unhealthy Ingredients When Possible
We all have those traditional foods that we love to partake in during the holidays. Some of you may even be reading this blog and thinking “this lady is crazy, there’s no way I’m giving up my favorite casseroles or desserts.” Well – you may not need to, if you tweak the recipe a bit.
First to cover sweeteners – you all know how I feel about white sugar. My recommendation would be to replace white sugar with either honey, stevia, or if necessary, raw sugar. Stevia is an extract that comes from a plant and is much sweeter than actual sugar. You use 1 teaspoon of stevia extract for 1 cup of white sugar the recipe calls for.
In regards to flour, great substitutions are coconut, almond, and barley flours. Barley flour can be used in equal parts to white flour to make fluffy biscuits, breads, and pancakes. Almond flour tends to be course and can replace bread crumbs or up to 1/4 of flour in recipes for cakes, muffins, and cookies. Coconut flour is another great one that is denser than regular flour. You can replace 1/4 – 1/3 cup to 1 cup of white flour, (you will need to increase the number of eggs in the recipe as well). Another great option is to use pre-made flour mixes – one of my favorite brands is Bob’s Red Mill. They produced tons of different blends for cakes, cookies, brownies, and cornbread that you can trust their ingredients. I will attach a recipe for some of my favorite pancakes that I make for my family during this time of the year.
Please remember that this lifestyle of health is not about perfection, but about being proactive.
I’m not saying that you should not indulge in any special treats during this holiday season, just remember how food effects your body. Strive to feel good this season – not tired, sad, and sick.
Thanks for reading this article and remember that every journey begins with a single step… Take one today.
~ Kelly ~
If you enjoyed this blog you might also enjoy Overcoming the Challenge.
PS – Here is an Article with 27 Fast & Easy Holiday Recipes and a recipe for gluten-free pancakes. Hope you enjoy!
Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pancake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 c fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Combine wet ingredients in a bowl (except blueberries)
- Whisk in dry ingredients careful to avoid clumping
- Stir in blueberries
- Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat
- Serve warm with blueberry or maple syrup