The holidays are a special time of the year to spend time with family and loved ones. December is a time to relax, enjoy favorite holiday dishes, and partake in the festivities, but it can also be a time where your health and wellness routine can go off-track. Instead of keeping a carefully tailor-made diet, you may be indulging in delicious meals that you have been craving all year. A regular exercise schedule may be replaced by watching movies and staying snuggled up on the couch. Taking a few days off from your routine may not be a big deal, but sometimes it can add a few extra pounds and can even damper your merriment.
A great way to keep your spirits bright is with food swapping. Food swapping is replacing one food item with another. No change is needed in recipes or even preparation. Being proactive and communicative with your loved ones during the holidays may also mean being hands-on in the kitchen. Preparing healthy meals together will create memories and improve you and your family’s nutritional choices.
Food swapping allows you to eat holiday favorites like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and even dessert. Here are 5 food swapping ideas to leap you into the New Year:
- Swap potatoes with cauliflower. If you have never tried this, even replacing half of the recipe with cauliflower in place of potatoes will go a long way by decreasing calories and increasing fiber intake. No change in preparation needed. Simply boil cauliflower with potatoes and leave the rest of the recipe unchanged.
- Swap sweet potato casserole with sweet potatoes. Place a raw sweet potato in the microwave for 5 minutes and voila! You have a baked sweet potato, feel free to add cinnamon and a pat of butter.
- Swap green bean casserole with fresh green beans. No major change needed, before the rest of the ingredients are added (cream of mushroom soup, milk and fried onions), separate the green beans, feel free to add salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you like. This will decrease the amount of sodium and calories in just one dish.
- Swap chips and dips for a veggie platter. Fresh fruit and vegetables are more attractive and packed with vitamins and keep you feeling full. Check out the insta-famous #veggie boards for ideas.
- Swap anything fried for anything air fried or baked. Some commonly fried dishes are just as tasty in the air fryer. Bacon, latkes, donuts, lots of desserts and have a significant decrease in calories and saturated fat when oil is omitted.
If you need any additional food swapping ideas to make your holidays a healthy and happy one, Food Network has a great list of delicious recipes.
Have a safe, healthy and happy holidays season!