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Healthy Holiday Swaps – How to Make Your Menu Satisfying and Healthy

When it comes to the holiday’s it’s a fair assumption that many, if not most people, will accept the fate “tis the season to overeat.”

It’s not easy to stick to healthy eating when food is the center of holiday gatherings.

How can you say no to your aunt’s traditional green bean casserole topped with fried onions?

What about the second helping of potatoes au gratin calling to you like a siren song?

And who can blame you for that left over slice of pumpkin pie you’re having with your morning coffee?

No one, because it’s the best time of the year, right?

When it comes to surviving the holidays without overindulging it’s important to remain mindful of what you’re eating and think about different ways to eat healthily, while not feeling deprived.

Whether you’re the host, or a guest of a holiday party, here’s a few healthy swap ideas, that can help you survive the food frenzy, while also allowing a little extra room for those office holiday treats.

  1. Crowd your plate with fruits and veggies:  Instead of thinking about all the things you can’t have, and shouldn’t have, fill your plate with color. Colorful salads, seasonal veggies, winter fruits and lean proteins should be the main characters of your dinner plate. If you’re the dinner host, think outside the box, and look to root vegetables for your menu. Rich with complex carbohydrates, fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin C – root vegetables (beets, rutabagas, carrots) are a wonderful addition to the holiday menu.
  2. Sorry, Julia Child: Famed chef, cookbook writer and cable television cooking superstar Julia Child is famously known for her saying “If you’re afraid of cream, use butter” as her No. 1 cooking tip. But honestly, if you’re looking to keep things healthy, replace some butter usage with olive oil. A little heart health can’t hurt.
  3. Yogurt is your friend: Plain yogurt has become a great way to replace cream or sour cream in recipes. Not only do they add a boost of calcium and protein, but it also brings a level of creaminess to desserts, sauces, dressings, and even soup that will allow for healthy recipes to still feel indulgent.
  4. Potato, Potato: Skipping those holiday favorites can be hard, so don’t skip, just modify. Sweet potato casseroles, known for their decadent marshmallow topping can be turned into twice-baked sweet potatoes that are topping with maple cinnamon and nutty oat topping.