We need to think about healthy Christmas meals after we hear the statistics about the skyrocketing obesity rate in the United States. They say that the average person gains 9 pounds during the holidays. I don’t know about you, but in that case I want to be BELOW average!
Here are a few ideas to help you fix more healthy Christmas meals:
1. Do we really need to make cookies so many times during the holidays? How many cookie exchanges to we need to participate in? Do we need to make such a huge quantity of Christmas cookies? I suggest you scale down to 1 cookie baking day this season, if that. Make 1/2 the recipe that you are used to. No one will probably notice. Try healthier alternatives to the traditional cookies. Try using wheat flour or 1/2 wheat flour and 1/2 white flour, dates or stevia for sweetening, add bananas, apples, or carrots to a cookie recipe to make it more healthy. Did you know that you can substitute apple sauce in any recipe in place of oil? I have done this many times with great success. It drastically cuts down the fat content of your baked goods. There are many alternatives if you just start experimenting.
2. Just tell your children you want to make this Christmas a little healthier. You’ll be surprised at how much they want to help you come up with better ideas.
3. Read the labels. If you avoid some of the big health busters you will naturally be able to have a more healthy Christmas. What are the health busters? MSG (monosodium glutamate - and it’s other names like autolyzed yeast extract, etc.), partially hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup. There are lots of chemicals in our food these days, but if you avoid these three mentioned here, you will be well on your way to eating a healthier diet. If you really start looking at the labels and commit yourself to not purchasing anything with any of those ingredients in it, you will have an easier time making healthy Christmas meals.
4. Stick to the Basics - I know it's easier to just buy a prepared bag or box of food, but everyone will feel and behave better if you prepare food that has natural ingredients. They always say to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Prepare your meals with meat and vegetables and you can't go wrong.
Some ideas for meals to fix during the busy Christmas season:
Ideas for making your main Christmas meal more healthy:
Focus on meat and vegetables
Read labels (don't include items that contain high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils)
Opt for lower fat dishes. If something calls for a stick of butter, you can probably find another more healthy dish to replace that one.
Don't drink your calories. Drink water if you can or maybe have fresh lemon slices to add to water. Drinking soda/pop or other sugar laden drinks will just cause your blood sugar to spike and cause your body to store fat instead of burn it.
You might need to do some research, ask some other people who eat healthy, or get creative to be able to have healthy Christmas meals. It IS possible if you put your mind to it and keep the junk out of your house. I know for me and my family, if there is something unhealthy in the house, we will eat that first. Forget will-power – just don’t have it around. I hope this post has helped you. Please feel free to email me or post a comment if you have any questions or comments.
Another great book that I use all the time for menu planning and making healthy meals is called Simplified Pantry.