The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it comes a delectable array of classic holiday foods. If eating a balanced diet during this time is a goal for you, it can feel difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! You can include delicious plant-based foods that everyone will love while also enjoying your holiday favorites. With a few tweaks, you can have your cake and eat it too!
Healthy Holiday Food Makeovers
You don’t have to overhaul everything on your menu to eat plant-based and have healthy holiday food. Try some of these simple swaps to make traditional holiday food into healthy plant-based versions:
|Traditional Food||Plant-based Makeover|
|Stuffing||Use whole grain bread, quinoa or other whole grains instead of white bread. Add tons of veggies for bulk and nuts for protein.|
|Shepherd’s Pie||Swap out the ground beef for lentils and hearty mushrooms. Get an extra kick of fiber and vitamin A by using sweet potatoes for the topping|
|Soups||Make a vegetable like butternut squash the star of your soup! Try almond milk instead of heavy cream. Not only does this keep it plant-based, but it also lends a nutty quality that will boost the flavor of your recipe.|
|Pumpkin Pie||Despite the sweet association we have with pumpkin, it is actually an excellent source of iron and high in protein. Try to reduce the amount of sugar a recipe calls for by up to half and try replacing lard with coconut oil in your pie crust.|
|Biscuits||Try using a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour to increase the fiber content and leave you and your guests feeling more satisfied.|
Remember that the holidays are a time to enjoy the aromas and tastes that conjure feelings of warmth and comfort. We can enjoy healthy holiday food just as we enjoy food all year around! With that in mind, here are a few more simple tips to keep your body and spirit happy during this busy time.
Drink water! This can help us to set a good pace and stay hydrated, especially if alcohol is being served.
Create your plate to reflect good balance. You may have seen this balanced plate image.
While it may not be realistic to follow this model entirely through the holidays, try to structure your plate to resemble this visual. Doing this ensures you are still able to eat all your favorites, but balance it out with lots of plants for a well-rounded and satisfying meal full of healthy holiday food.
Be active! Being physically active is great for managing stress and giving you some “me time”. It’s also simply a healthy habit that keeps us energized and happy.
Keep these easy food swaps and tips in mind and you can have a happy and nourishing season!
Do you have a few of your own tips for healthy holiday eating? Let us know in the comments below!
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Edible IQ urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. Edible IQ advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. Edible IQ does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. Edible IQ does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by Edible IQ is solely at your own risk.
Dietitians of Canada, UnlockFood. (2017). All About Sweet Potato. Retrieved from: http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-And-Food/Vegetables-and-Fruit/All-About-Sweet-Potato.aspx
Dietitians of Canada, UnlockFood. (2017). All About Pumpkins. Retrieved from: http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/Pumpkins.aspx
Post, R.C., Haven, J., Maniscalco, S. (2011). Setting the Table with a Healthy Plate: Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 111, 1644-1647. Retrieved from: https://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(11)01668-3/abstract.