Although the holidays might look a bit different this year, you can still find joy in beloved seasonal traditions. For many people, this means indulging in tasty treats and favourite comfort foods. Fortunately, celebrating with delicious bites doesn’t mean you need to abandon healthy eating altogether.
With a few simple steps and recipe updates, you can enjoy many holiday dishes that are deliciously healthy, and continue these habits into the New Year. Smart ingredient updates When looking at creating recipes, consider healthful ingredient swaps.
For example, in some recipes for baked goods, unsweetened applesauce or ripe mashed bananas can be used as a substitute for butter. Another example is adding additional spice such as cinnamon or nutmeg for flavour in order to cut some of the sugar content.
Go for lean proteins
Make lean proteins a staple for your celebratory meals this season. Some examples might include turkey, chicken, beans, lentils and fish. If cooking meat, trim the fat and consider alternate preparation methods such as baking, sauteing and steaming. Finally, consider skipping sauces and gravies that are often high in saturated fat and sodium. If you want to add flavour, try fresh herbs that add a bit of zest without many additional calories.
Try new recipes
In addition to your favourites, consider new recipes for your winter festivities. And remember, celebrations can happen any time of day. For example, this recipe for ‘Avocado, Egg and Spinach Sandwich’ is excellent for a joyful brunch or as a staple in your ‘new year, new you’ eating regimen.
Another option is an afternoon gathering featuring appetisers. Consider these stuffed mushrooms for the perfect savoury appetiser or starter for any meal:
Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Sandwich
2 slices whole grain bread
1/8tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8tsp garlic powder
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh spinach
1 egg white
1tsp sweet pepper, minced
1tsp olive oil
1tsp Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Toast the bread. In a small skillet over medium heat, saute sweet pepper in oil for two minutes and remove from pan. Place spinach and egg white in same oiled pan and continuously whisk over medium heat for about three minutes until egg is cooked through, and spinach is tender. Set aside.
Mash avocado with crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese (reserve a pinch), sauted sweet peppers, a squeeze of lime juice and black pepper to taste. Blend together.
Spread avocado mixture on 1 slice of toast. Top with egg and spinach mixture, sliced tomatoes, reserved pinch of Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper. Cap with second slice of bread. Enjoy!
6 slices whole grain bread, cubed
1-2tbsp olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1/8tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
20 button mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup roast turkey, chopped
1 1/2 cups spinach, chopped
150g block herbed cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180º C. Combine bread cubes, olive oil and garlic powder in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Toss carefully and bake another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Turn oven up to 200º C.
In a large skillet, melt butter. Add onion, mushroom stems, garlic and turkey. Once onion is translucent, add spinach and cook just until wilted. In a small bowl, mix together herbed cheese, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan and mushroom stem mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff mushroom caps with bread mixture, sprinkle with more breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until mushrooms are deeply golden and cooked through (approximately 20 minutes). Enjoy.