As a contract food services company, we know that many people look forward to gathering with family and friends over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays – and of course, the delicious meals. Turkey, dressing, ham, pecan or pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings. Certainly many of the foods we devour over the holidays aren’t so healthy, but you can make nearly any food healthier – and be mindful of what you eat. Here are a few tips to make your holidays healthier, while still focusing on taste.
Fall flavors are an opportunity to savor. Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are healthy, and a big part of holiday meals. Cinnamon spiced beverages, sage in the dressing, turmeric – spices are a healthy addition to almost any meal. According to some studies and registered dieticians, curcumin is found in turmeric, which may have anti-cancer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is beneficial to glucose levels, so diabetics take note!
Love butternut squash soup or sweet potato casserole? There are lots of spices that add rich flavor to food and make them healthier options when you can eliminate some of the not-so-healthy ingredients. For instance, by adding a dash of nutmeg to sweet potato spears, you’ll never even give the marshmallow-laden sweet potato casserole another thought. Instead of cream in your butternut squash soup, go for turmeric.
Food swaps for a healthier holiday menu
White meat turkey is healthier than dark meat, and you may want to have a wine spritzer to celebrate the holidays rather than other alcoholic drinks, which can be loaded with calories. Roasted sweet potatoes are a great alternative to candied yams, and you can control what’s in the stuffing or dressing when you make it at home, rather than buying it pre-made at the store. You may also want to try out a low-fat gravy on your potatoes or stuffing; chances are you, won’t be able to tell the difference.
Making banana bread as gifts for the holidays? Consider swapping out the butter and sugar for avocado and maple syrup. And what about those fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes? Celery root and cauliflower mash is a wonderful alternative and provides that creamy, smooth texture you love. Gluten-free, low fat, and a great source of protein and calcium! Give it a try, you might just be surprised at how delicious this strange-sounding concoction is.
Perhaps most important of all is being mindful of what and how much we eat over the holidays. Instead of grabbing a small brownie or other snack, or “just a bite” of something, put it on a plate so that you know just how much you’re eating. A lot of times we get into “mindless” eating over the holidays, grabbing a bit of this and that and not really focusing on what we’re eating. Be aware, savor the flavors in your food, and enjoy every bite.
At Gourmet Services Inc., we know how to enjoy the holidays with foods that are delicious, healthy, and nutritious. Foods don’t have to be filled with butter, cream, sugar, or other unhealthy ingredients to taste just as amazing as those that are. For corporate dining, concessions, catered events, K-12 and college dining, airport concessions and other needs, count on our food services management team for quality, freshness, and excellence in everything we do.