7 Options For Better Healthier Holidays
Want to enjoy a tasty holiday season without all the regret come January? I like choosing real ingredients to make my meals and snacks so I know exactly what’s being put into my food. Here are 7 healthier alternatives for your holiday menu.
1. Infused Water Instead of Soda
Soda consumption has been linked with numerous health problems, including weight gain, poor dental health, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Even diet drinks, which utilize artificial sweeteners in place of sugar, can still have a big impact on your health. During the holidays, soda consumption is on a all-year high.
Instead, make your own fruit-infused water! It tastes just as good and is a healthy alterntative. I like to use sparkling water for that bubbly feeling and I add in strawberries, kiwi, lemons and limes. But you can choose any fruit you like. Adding mint leaves gives a fresh taste too!
2. Cauliflower Mash Instead of Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a staple in everyone’s household for holiday dinner gatherings. My family makes tons of mash with gravy. Instead, I make cauliflower mash. The texture is pretty much the same, yet it packs less calories and less carbs. In fact, cauliflower has a third of the calories than potatoes, and a fourth of the carbs!
1 large head of cauliflower, steamed
1 garlic clove, sliced (optional)
3 tablespoons coconut butter
1/4 cup almond milk
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Clean and rinse cauliflower florets. Steam or boil cauliflower for 10 minutes or until tender.
Drain well and place cauliflower in food processor and run until it forms a rice like texture.
Add in ingredients, garlic, butter, milk, salt, pepper and parsley and pulse until desired mash consistency
Add more milk if you like smooth, creamy mash.
If you do not have a processor, no worries. You can mash cauliflower with a fork and fold in all ingredients. A hand mixer would work just as well too.
3. Switch White Flour for Whole Wheat Flour
White flour causes blood sugar to spike, which causes a rise in insulin. The result? Not only are you hungry two hours later, but you are also paving the way for insulin resistance and diabetes. A better alternative is whole wheat flour, oat or spelt flour. These digest slower and retain more of the vitamins found in the grains.
4. Replace Eggs with Flax Eggs
Try using Flax eggs in place of regular eggs. Not only will flax add more flavor to your treats, it will add in healthy Omega 3s. To make a flax egg that is the equivalent to one egg you need:
1 tbsp of flax seeds
3 tbsp of water
Grind the flax or chia seeds (to your taste) into a fine meal.
Whisk together the ground seeds and water until well combined, then place in the fridge to set for 10-15 minutes.
Use as you would an egg in many of your favorite baking recipes.
If you do a lot of baking or if you have some leftovers, you can make some of these eggs in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week in a container.
Instead of using butter, opt for coconut oil. If you want to completely eliminate the oil, use mashed bananas or apples sauce.
These things are key in baking healthier.
5. Make it Dairy Free
Want to avoid dairy? Use almond, coconut, cashew, rice or soy milk. These alternatives add more nutritional value to your meal. They work well with baking too. So if a recipe calls for milk, don’t be afraid to try using one of these options.
6. Skip Store Bought Whipped Creams and Cool Whip and Go With Coconut Whipped Cream Instead
Don’t go overboard with the butter cream, which is basically sugar, to frost your cakes. Make a delicious coconut whipped cream instead!
Buy organic full-fat coconut milk in a can and leave it in the fridge overnight. The water will separate from the cream.
Scoop out the firm, waxy, thick white layer of coconut cream and add it to your bowl.
With your mixer or hand beaters on high speed, whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks.
Coconut whipped cream is best served immediately, but can be stored in an air tight container for up to a week. It will harden in the fridge the longer it stays chilled. When ready to serve, simply mix again until creamy.
7. Use Dates as Sweetener
I use medjool dates to sweeten everything! If you don’t want to make date paste you can use maple syrup, coconut nectar, brown rice malt syrup, agave nectar and even honey (if you’re not strict).
1 cup of pitted mejools dates
½ cup water
a squeeze of lemon juice
Put ingredients in a high speed blender and run until smooth.
Store in an air tight container. This last up to three weeks in the fridge.
I always keep this on hand because you can use it for smoothies, for baking or in raw treats. You can also use this as a “caramel” drizzle!
And there you have it…7 simple things you can do to make your holiday meals plant based and healthier! Enjoy😊