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How to Make a Traditional Holiday Meal the Healthy Way

Holiday meals can be healthy and tasty with the right techniques
Holiday meals can be healthy and tasty with the right techniques

Eating healthier doesn't have to mean scrapping all of the old traditional family recipes or eliminating your summer holiday favorites. There are some simple ways to reduce the calories, fat, salt, and other undesirable ingredients while loading your holiday dishes with flavor and nutrients. Here are some quick substitutions to make your holiday weekend spread incredibly tasty and exceptionally healthy. 

Substitute Greek Yogurt for Mayonnaise and Sour Cream 

Greek yogurt has hit the culinary scene with a bang. It substitutes into most any recipe that calls for sour cream or mayonnaise but contains several times less fat and calories than the traditional ingredients. Check the labels of your brands to find out how much healthier it is, but you can substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream or mayo in most any recipe at a one to one ratio (one cup equals one cup, one tablespoon equals one tablespoon, etc.) Try it in the creamed potatoes, salads, casseroles and other recipes for a tangier taste than usual. 

Opt for Vegetable Dishes in Lieu of Casseroles 

Instead of squash, sweet potato, green bean, corn, or other casserole dishes, serve up the vegetables whole. Substitute steamed squash, baked sweet potatoes, simmered green beans, and stewed corn for the casseroles. This delivers more nutrients and cuts down significantly on the butter, flour, breading, and other unhealthy ingredients. Find fun ways to serve these whole veggies, such as in a bread bowl or with a tomato-based sauce. Avoid creamy sauces, as these tend to be higher in fat and calories. 

Half the Butter in Most Recipes 

Unless you are baking bread or rolls, you can easily half the butter in most recipes without affecting the flavor. Try adding less butter to potato dishes, soups, stir fries, and other butter-laden dishes. As long as you use enough butter to prevent scorching during a saute, the flavor is there without piling on unnecessary calories and cholesterol.

Unsure if you're healthy or need to see a doctor? Talk to an online psychic about your concerns. 

Substitute Healthier Oils for Vegetable or Canola Oil 

Some dishes simply require fatty oils, but olive, almond, avocado, palm, and sunflower oils are healthier alternatives than vegetable or canola oils. The only precaution is that some of these oils burn at lower temperatures, so you may need to bump down the heat a bit. Also, these oils are pricier, so it reduces the temptation to pour in more than necessary. 

Consider Smoking Meats Instead of Frying 

Another way to boost the taste factor while cutting down on the ingredients that aren't healthy is to smoke meats and vegetables instead of frying them. This is easily done on most outdoor charcoal or gas grills by adding wood chips and reducing the temperature. Follow the directions for your grill for the best result. The smoke flavor means you don't have to pour on salt, sugar, and other nasty stuff to get off the charts flavor. Plus, these meats and veggies are easily chopped and added to other recipes to use as leftovers (think next-morning omelets or salads for sandwiches).

Want to know if your recipes are what your family wants? Talk to a phone psychic to plan your next meal. 

Learn to Use Herbs to Reduce No-Nos 

Herbs and spices, such as basil, chives, dill, and tarragon, boost the flavor of all foods, yet contain little of the bad stuff, such as sodium, fat, calories, or sugar. Put the salt and pepper shaker away, and try new flavors to complement dishes, such as mint with potatoes, cumin with beans, nutmeg with broccoli, basil with tomatoes, and ginger with onions. This also lets you create a variety of tastes using the same foods. 

Holiday meals no longer have to mean extra pounds and a reprimand from the family doctor. These simple steps will help you create a luscious family tradition that keeps you all trim, fit, and ready for the new year. 

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