When it comes to holiday meals, we tend to forget about the healthy diet and lifestyle we hit the rest of the year in favor of what lies ahead, which is perfectly fine. There is no harm in enjoying a feast. However, sometimes we overdo it and wish we’d used a little more discretion to avoid the stuffed and bloated feeling.
To have a healthier vacation, you don’t have to toss all of your traditional favorites out the window. Instead, you can do a few swaps on just some of the items on the menu and still limit your caloric intake (and your guilty feelings, too)! Here are seven healthy holiday food swaps that taste just as good as the traditional offerings:
1. Swap creamy dip and chips for hummus and freshly cut vegetables
Creamy dips, an appetizer favorite made from high-fat sour cream or cream cheese, are high in calories! Before you know it, a few scoops of dip can add up to more calories than should be eaten in one meal. Instead of creamy dip and chips, save your calories for the main course and try eating freshly cut vegetables with hummus. Made from chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini, hummus is filled with the goodies. It only contains 1 g of fat per tablespoon!
2. Swap potato puree for cauliflower puree
Replacing mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower is the first step in saving unnecessary calories. A 1-cup serving of potatoes provides 113 calories and 2 grams of fiber. While a 1-cup serving of cauliflower only provides 25 calories and 3 grams of fiber. To save even more calories, skip the heavy cream and butter and use roasted garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary or fresh chives.
3. Swap dark turkey meat for white turkey meat
Dark turkey is tempting and tasty, but it’s also much more fat and calories! A serving of skinless turkey breast provides 30 g of protein, 2 g of fat and only 147 calories. While dark turkey provides the same amount of protein, but 206 calories and a whopping 10g of fat! And only if you stick to one portion!
4. Replace the bread filling with the rice filling
Bread just adds unnecessary calories and carbohydrates that we don’t need. Try making a rice filling with wild rice, sticky rice, or quinoa instead of bread filling with butter and white bread. Fry the mushrooms, onions, celery and garlic with coconut or olive oil. Then add dried fruits and nuts like pecans or walnuts.
5. Swap cranberry sauce for cranberry relish
Since cranberries are sour and bitter, they are sweetened with lots of sugar or corn syrup if you buy them canned. Instead of eating cranberry sauce, try making your own cranberry relish with natural sugar alternatives like stevia or naturally sweet fruit juices like orange or pineapple along with fresh orange and lemon peel. A two-tablespoon serving of cranberry relish with stevia and an orange provides just 28 calories per serving and only 7 g of carbohydrates. A store-bought cranberry sauce provides 86 calories and 22 g of pure sugar!
6. Swap alcohol for soda splash
Not only does alcohol provide empty calories, it can make us hungry and make us want to eat even more! Alcohol is also considered a toxin in the body and causes the body to stop all other metabolic processes until it is completely removed from the body. Nonetheless, if you still want to indulge in a bit of vacation joy, cut down on alcohol consumption by diluting it with lemonade or a clear diet pop. A full glass of wine can provide about 120 calories; However, if you cut this glass in half with soda water, you will save yourself 60 calories!
7. Swap the Christmas cookies for fruit with a dark chocolate fondue
Sure, it’s once a year when these yummy goodies show up, but just a few Christmas cookies will spike your blood sugar and push your daily calorie consumption over the top. Instead of cookies, cakes, squares, or whatever is in front of you, try making a dark chocolate fondue. Use a dark chocolate with a minimum cocoa content of 70%, add stevia to sweeten instead of extra sugar and a little coconut milk to thicken, then serve with freshly cut fruit!