Healthier Versions of 4 Favorite Holiday Foods

fruitcake

Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos’ feast!
He took the Who pudding! He took the roast beast!

He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.
Why, that Grinch even took the last can of Who hash!

 

Food is part of the holiday fun! Every culture and family has their own traditional foods from tamales to panettone, latkes to lutefisk. The holidays just don’t feel quite the same without them.

But while they can do wonders for our mental well-being, they’re not exactly renowned for their healthfulness. Does that mean we shouldn’t enjoy them? Even your mother’s cheesy hashbrowns? Your grandmother’s famous fudge and brittle? Your dad’s roasted basil turkey with heaps of potatoes and stuffing on the side?

The Tooth-Body Blog offers some good advice (be sure to check out the rest of their holiday eating tips, as well):

Despite our best intentions, it’s easy to go a little overboard…. We get distracted, we nibble while we socialize, and before we know it, we’ve made our way around the table. Those unconscious bites add up. Maintaining awareness – being mindful – can help you make smart choices. Checking in with yourself makes it easier to reach for the freshest and least processed food available while bypassing other options. And if you choose to indulge a little, okay. Bring your attention to the moment and savor the morsel. No moral judgement allowed.

Mindfulness is a path to moderation, where we can still enjoy some of our holiday favorites while avoiding a full-on carb/sugar-bomb.

Another option is to go with healthier variations on holiday foods. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Fruitcake
    There are a number of terrific gluten-free recipes out there, such as this one from Chris Kanzler, as well as flourless versions like this on GroupRecipes. Not a fruitcake fan? Try a 100% fruit “cake” instead – or just enjoy some fresh fruit on its own. It’s a better option than the dried fruits commonly eaten this time of year. Sugar is more concentrated in dried fruit (most are more than 50% sugar!), and the fruit tends to stick to the teeth.
  2. Sweet Potatoes
    Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of antioxidants and much higher in fiber than regular potatoes. Suffocating them with marshmallows and brown sugar kind of defeats the purpose, though. Instead, why not try baking them into a crispy, savory side dish? Twice-baked can be just as delicious!
  3. Gingerbread
    Gingerbread good for more than just making houses. It’s a delicious, warming treat – especially when you make it yourself with healthful eating in mind. For instance, this whole grain version uses honey and molasses. This gingerbread cake, on the other hand, uses some sugar but also coconut oil. Even gluten-free vegan variations are possible!
  4. Eggnog
    Toast the new year with this classic holiday drink made in a more wholesome way, either cooked or raw. Or try a nog made with nut milk – even a totally vegan version!

From all of us here at Pride Dental, happy holidays! We’ll see you in the new year!

Regular posting will resume on Thursday, January 7, 2016.

Image by Michele