Healthy Holidays…does that sound like an oxymoron? Do I sound like a moron for bringing up the subject? See I know it’s customary to wanna throw caution to the wind for the holidays. It’s a special time of year, it has long standing traditions, rich history and conjures up all sorts of beautiful memories. We feel compelled to honor those and sometimes use this time of the year as a very large crutch, an enormous enabler for indulgence.
The issue I see with that is two fold:
One – American society in particular has expanded “the season” to truly be from October 1st all the way through Valentine’s Day. Halloween stuff is out in the stores while we’re all still sportin’ our flip flops in August and the hoopla that surrounds each holiday seems more grandiose each year. So if you “indulge” or “cheat” or more importantly ignore your basic health during the season, that’s practically half the year! Yikes!
Two – ever heard the beautiful saying, “when you know better, you do better”? We know some of the long-standing traditional holiday foods aren’t good for our bodies. We know that processed, sugar laden, chemically altered foods wreak havoc on our systems and are the source for many deadly diseases from heart disease, to diabetes, to cancer. So why not be a part of a beautiful evolution? Why not harness your knowledge and help to transpire what a holiday get together looks like in your family? Why not treat yourself and your family to feeling amazing, to having great energy and to a healthy holiday season? Let me help you do just that!
Thanksgiving can be the more daunting holiday to start to transform for your family since the main premise is to gather, give thanks and chow down. Below I’ve offered some great side alternatives for you to consider – some are healthier versions of classics but I encourage you to think outside the box as well!
When it comes to the bird, you’re in luck, typical turkey roasting is pretty darn healthy! Using pure grassfed butter, fresh herbs, some organic lemons, apples, and an orange slice or two in and outside the big guy are all wonderful ways to keep your main dish filling, flavorful, fresh and feast worthy. So let’s get down to all the other fixin’s shall we?
First up for new, fresh side ideas – consider a different take on traditional mashed potatoes. Since basic white potatoes contain very little in the nutrient department, why not try a cauliflower mash instead? Simply roasting a few heads of cauliflower and pureeing in your food processor with some grassfed butter, a splash of chicken stock and some fresh herbs and sea salt will give you amazing consistency – this side will provide a dish rich in Vitamin C, folate, B vitamins and magnesium just to name a few.
Next – get some flare with your greens! Simply picking a yummy green veggie, sautéing in your pan with some reserved bacon fat or other full body cooking fat and then adding some nuts along with fresh and dried fruit will give you an amazing and easy side salad. Pictured is a take on Brussels sprouts with diced bacon, fresh granny smith apples, pecans and dried cranberries. Can’t beat the beautiful holiday colors!
Finally – no one said you have to skip decadence altogether when it comes to cooking healthy. My bestie and I had some fun in her kitchen developing a deliciously not so sinful sweet potato casserole. Pairing yams with classic flavors like maple syrup and cinnamon create a bold, filling side. Think about subbing dairy ingredients for full fat coconut cream – it adds great depth!
Lastly – for dessert I recommend you have some fun with vegan and Paleo dessert recipes that are all over Pinterest! Baking with pumpkin and apples is already such a great start, learning to substitute sugary, white flour crusts with nuts and using substitutions like coconut cream and pure grade maple syrup are great ways to transition your desserts. I always recommend checking out Primal Palate for some great Holiday dessert recipes!
Have fun, experiment, educate and evolve – happy, HEALTHY Holidays!