‘Tis the season for gathering with friends and families around meals and recipes that have been passed through your family’s generations. Holidays are most enjoyable when you are at your best, with health and energy to carry you through the hustle and bustle of hosting, shopping, and celebrating!  Follow along as our clinicians post weekly tips in preparation for HEALTHY, happy holidays!

One nice thing about hosting during the holidays is that it allows you to have some control over the food being served. This allows you and your family to enjoy yourselves without going overboard and getting off track! Most of the time, a few healthy swaps or new options can go a long way towards creating a more healthy, but still delicious holiday meal! Here are some ideas to keep your event focused around healthy foods:

Appetizers are the easiest way to incorporate healthy options. A great option is a board or tray full of cut up veggies, grapes, rice or almond crackers, raw or goat cheese, mustards, raw nuts, homemade hummus and guacamole.  Turkey or chicken mini meatballs are easy to prepare and an excellent option as well!

Traditional recipes can often be made healthier with a few simple ingredients swaps. Use organic butter and healthy cooking oils instead of Crisco and canola. Try coconut palm sugar instead of white or brown sugar. Instead of purchasing canned cranberry sauce, try making your own using maple syrup or coconut sugar to sweeten it. Stuffing can be made healthier using sprouted bread with nuts and some brussel sprouts, turkey sausage or cranberries to add bulk. Sweet potato casserole can be topped with coconut flakes, chopped nuts and healthy sweeteners instead of marshmallows. (Next week, we will be sharing a recipe for another favorite: the Green Bean Casserole!)

If your family or guests will partake in wine, it is important to choose better options. Bonterra is in most local stores and is a better choice. Dry Farm Wines and Thrive Market carry good wines as well. The Organic Wine Exchange is a website that allows you to choose from even stricter selections. 

Pinterest and Google searches are great places to find alternatives to traditional recipes. Try typing in the original recipe and add some key words like “healthy,” “Whole 30,” or “Paleo,” and options will often pop up. There are so many delicious recipes that can be made healthier. Whether you swap out ingredients, find alternative recipes or just look up new recipes in healthy cookbooks or websites, remember to have fun! You can bet most of your guests will love what you come up with!