Aaahh the holidays. What a glorious time of year. It starts with Thanksgiving and moves straight on through Christmas and New Year. It’s a time for gathering with family and friends and being grateful for all the blessings in your life.
The holiday season brings a lot of parties and entertaining. How would you like to enjoy the season without packing on the pounds? I have some helpful tips to help you get through with minimal damage.
If you are the host, offer some healthier options to snack on such as fresh vegetables, olives, nuts or fruit. For creamy dips, swap out sour cream for Greek yogurt. Another alternative is either a Hummus or white bean dip. Cooking Light Magazine offers some unique dip ideas such as caramelized onion, gruyere, and bacon spread; orange and avocado salsa or peanut butter with cucumber dippers.
When preparing side dishes, you might consider caramelized roasted vegetables instead of steamed vegetables in a buttery sauce. or lightened up scalloped potatoes instead of traditional mashed potatoes loaded with cream and butter.
Lighter Scalloped Potatoes
- Olive oil spray
- 3 pounds yellow potatoes, like Yukon gold, unpeeled, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 3 cups cold milk (1 percent low-fat)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large or 2 small sprigs thyme
- 1 3/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a shallow baking dish with olive oil.
Put the potatoes into a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil until the potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside.
Put the milk and flour in a large saucepan and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Add the garlic and thyme and heat over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and is thickened. Remove from the heat, discard the thyme sprig, and stir in salt. Add 1 cup of the cheese and stir until melted.
Arrange half of the potatoes in the baking dish. Pour over half of the cheese sauce. Add the remaining potatoes and top with rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until bubbling.
For cocktails, instead of a glass of white wine, make it a white wine spritzer made with 3/4 wine and 1/4 club soda. Might I also suggest a carrot mimosa made with champagne and 100 % pure carrot juice in lieu of the standard orange juice mimosa?
Get creative by reducing higher-calorie ingredients for healthier choices such as almond milk, agave syrup, and club soda vs cream, simple syrup, and tonic. Fresh fruit vs sugary juices is a healthful option.
Skinny hot chocolate can be made with your favorite liquor for a special twist like an ounce of amaretto, coconut rum, or black cherry bourbon. You could also add flavor without alcohol such as peppermint extract, cardamom or cinnamon. Try this version for a lower calorie hot chocolate and you decide if you would like it straight up or with a twist.
Skinny Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 5 teaspoons of high-quality dark cacao powder
- Maple syrup or stevia to taste
Some other helpful hints to get the best sensual experience out of your holidays is simply to be present in the moment. Inhale the aromas and savor the delicious scents of the season. When you chew your food, feel the different textures in your mouth, and remember to chew your food (30 times per bite!)
Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!