Christmas is fast approaching, and it is time to savor all the joy it brings — friends, family, meals together, giving & gratitude. Of course, these are accompanied by hearty dishes and sweets that can certainly wreak havoc on our bodies. Casseroles laden with cream, sugary cakes and cookies, and other tempting empty calorie bombs will adorn the dining tables we surround. Unless we do something about it, that is!
But how can you make healthy decisions during this season of eating, especially without anyone noticing? Well, I have a few of my favorite tricks to share with you that I have used – and the best part is, nobody ever notices.
My favorite ways to sneak healthful ingredients into my meals are ….
Reach for bone broth or herbal teas
When you roast food, make soups or stews, or even gravy, use something that gives you a boost of health in place of canned sodium-riddled broth or plain water. Using bone broth adds more depth of flavor, and it will provide you with healthy immune boosting properties. You could also try herbal teas like ginger tea or green tea which will add a light flavor and add more antioxidants for better health.
Sprinkle on some turmeric
Turmeric is a naturally powerful anti-inflammatory that is filled with antioxidants. Related to ginger, it looks similar to a ginger root, and is usually consumed in dried form. Add just a little bit to your sweet potatoes, salad dressings, and dips to enjoy its benefits. Start with small amounts since the flavor can be strong to those that aren’t used to it.
Use sweet alternatives
Don’t worry — I’m not suggesting you do away with your dessert table altogether, but the refined sugar is what I’m encouraging you to avoid. If you swap out the unhealthy stuff for a natural sweetener that is a better option, you’ll still get the sweet tastes everyone loves without the slew of chemicals. Try raw organic honey – local is best – which can typically be found at your local farmer’s market or health food store. You can also look for coconut sugar which has less effect on your blood sugar levels.
Freshen up flavors with fresh herbs
Fresh herbs add a new dimension of taste to your dishes without adding fat and calories. Beyond flavor, they naturally add more antioxidants to reducing inflammation. Experiment with your favorite ones to add more zing to your mashed potatoes or liven up your veggies. Note that fresh herbs are best added in the final minutes of cooking.
Christmas and the many holidays that surround it don’t have to be so heavy on the unhealthy foods, particularly when you use these simple tricks for making your favorite dishes healthier. You can certainly balance your meals with colorful fruits and vegetables as a simple way to increase their nutritional value.
Would you email me to tell me which of these ideas you incorporate and how it turns out? Did anyone notice your adjustments?
I wish you a blessed Christmas, whether you are gathered with friends and family or spending a quieter day. Truly, this is the season to remember the most significant gift ever given, that of the birth of Jesus, God with us.