stay holiday healthy
Give your holiday menu a better-for-you edge with our fresh and festive food tips.
25 days of healthy ideas for the holidays
- Apples are a great addition to many holiday recipes: bake into pies, add to stuffing, slice up for a fruit platter.
- Beets are delicious pickled but also try roasting them. Slice fresh beets into wedges, toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, place on a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast at 375°F for 30-40 minutes.
- For a gourmet touch, add fresh green beans or asparagus to a veggie platter. Steam whole beans or asparagus spears until just tender but still bright green, then place in ice water to chill down.
- Make fruit salads sparkle with a sprinkling of pomegranate arils (seeds).
- Keep onions and garlic on hand. Add to roasts, soups, stews and sautés for flavor and you won’t miss the salt.
- Coat potatoes with herb seasonings before roasting. Garnish baked potatoes with fresh herbs.
- Pears are at their peak during the holidays. Serve pears with various cheeses. Poach pears in wine, grape juice or cranberry juice with cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel for a splendid dessert.
- Create a welcoming fruit tray. Arrange fresh pineapple chunks, mandarin sections and grapes on a platter with the green pineapple top in the middle.
- Float orange slices in plain or flavored unsweetened seltzer for a refreshing beverage.
- Cook fresh cranberries into a tangy chutney or salsa for turkey, ham, chicken or beef.
- Offer right-sized mini sandwiches on your holiday buffet. Serve lean deli meats in little party rolls and provide condiments for guests to choose from.
- Use plain non-fat Greek yogurt as a creamy lower-calorie substitute in dip recipes calling for sour cream.
- Play on the red-and-green theme with pasta, tomato sauce and steamed broccoli. Sprinkle with Parmesan “snow”. Serve green lettuce and red pepper strips.
- Serve Caprese salad skewers of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls and basil.
- For a rustic side dish that pairs well with roasts, serve brown rice or wild rice. Use chicken or beef broth instead of water and add sautéed mushrooms and onions for flavor.
- Cook oatmeal for a comforting breakfast. Top with walnuts, sliced apples and cinnamon.
- While you’re stringing popcorn for the tree, pop some for a fiber-filled snack. Combine air-popped popcorn, lightly salted if you like, with raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- For easy canapés, combine canned tuna, diced celery, mayo and your favorite add-ins. Spoon onto mini baguette slices, top with shredded cheese and place in the oven just until cheese is melted. Garnish with sliced scallions.
- For a burst of flavor, without the higher calorie add-ons, mix mashed sweet potatoes with orange juice and cinnamon.
- Toast bread crumbs in a skillet with a bit of butter and sprinkle over roasted Brussels sprouts.
- Make roll-ups using flounder or tilapia fillets with a filling of chopped spinach and Parmesan.
- Julienne parsnips and carrots. Sauté in a skillet with just enough olive oil and butter to coat lightly. Sprinkle with parsley.
- For a tasty side dish, steam 4 cups of shredded red cabbage in a small amount of broth. Drizzle with a tablespoon of lemon juice to restore its bright red color.
- Almost any green vegetable can be used in pesto. Try spinach, peas, parsley, cilantro, arugula or kale.
- Scoop out fruits and vegetables and use as serving containers. Serve chicken salad in tomato cups, fruit salad in orange halves, or hummus in hollowed out cucumber rounds.