It may not seem true this time of year, but there are in fact some holiday comfort foods that are actually good for you. Sounds crazy, right? It’s all in what is in the food and how it is prepared. You can make healthier substitutions for the foods that you love, or you can focus on something that is healthier altogether.
Sure, we all want to splurge a little this time of year, but in the end you may need to balance your diet with some healthier fare. If you want to ensure that you don’t cause a problem with weight gain and healthy living, then focusing on these healthier options will always serve you well. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too—just try to mix in the nutritious with the decadent!
So when you think about the best holiday comfort foods, you definitely don’t tend to think of dessert, right? What if you could have something that tastes decadent but isn’t actually bad for you? Take a trifle as the perfect example of how to enjoy delicious food in a new, healthy way. You can make it better for you by using light whipped cream, skim milk in the chocolate pudding, and applesauce in the brownies, and then layering it with fresh berries. Voila! You have a delicious dessert that isn’t unhealthy yet also gives you that warm, comforting feeling. You will also find that you can enjoy a delicious chocolate pudding made with cocoa powder and fresh avocado. It’s clean eating at its best!
Healthy Swaps and the Right Focus Go a Long Way
Another thing to consider with holiday comfort foods is how to make your favorites a bit healthier. Take green bean casserole for example—upgrade it with fresh ingredients for a better version. Fresh green beans, mixed with mushrooms, toasted almonds, and a splash of olive oil and lemon juice will beat the casserole any day. How about a macaroni and cheese dish that features a bit less cheese than usual? Then add in butternut squash for substance and use low-fat half and half instead of cream. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if you focus on making your favorite dishes a bit healthier, you may also discover a new holiday favorite. You might be surprised to learn that some holiday comfort foods are commonly served in a healthy way. Take sweet potatoes, for example. Mix them with fresh pecans and a touch of brown sugar and you have a delicious and healthy dish. You can serve a favorite dip with veggies instead of crackers or swap out a fattening appetizer for a fresh bruschetta that is delicious and nutritious.
The holidays don’t have to be a time for fattening fare, just focus on what’s important and really enjoy the holidays for all that they are. If you keep on the program and use the right foods, you will always eat well and never gain weight during this most festive time of the year.