Nutrition: Healthy holiday hacks

Healhty Holiday HacksHealthy eating during the holidays is not about deprivation, but about all things in moderation. We have some tips to help you put this crucial concept to work for you in the coming months.

Stay one step ahead when you’re head chef.

1) Delegate! 2) Shop early! 3) Prepare! Hosting doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Ask guests to bring whole-grain bread, a vegetable side, or a selection of no-sugar beverages. Next, study the recipes you have planned, and buy as many ingredients ahead of time as possible—like canned and frozen items and hardy vegetables like squash and carrots. Finally, one day ahead of the big meal, chop and peel vegetables, and make items like cranberry sauce and dessert.

Eat before you eat.

Dietitians swear by this hack! Heading to a holiday gathering? If you show up hungry, there’s a good chance you’ll overeat or fill up on high-fat appetizers. So before you head to auntie’s famous holiday potluck, eat a small, healthy snack like cheese on whole-wheat crackers or hummus with celery or tortilla chips. Take the edge off your hunger so you have more control at the party.

Contribute a healthy, savory dish.

If you’re heading to a shared meal, offer to bring a savory, nutritious dish. This way, you know for sure that your healthy eating habits won’t be forced to take a holiday! Explore interesting vegetable dishes, like this salad with roasted apples, squash and feta cheese. Keep it simple and use a bottled vinaigrette. Or maybe try fried rice with cauliflower. You might find a bag of cauliflower “rice” in the produce aisle.

Freeze the extras.

If you have lots of leftovers and are concerned about waste or overeating, try freezing them! Place cold portions in baggies, label them with name and date, and freeze. Leftover turkey, sweet potatoes and even mashed potatoes are healthy snacks—or interesting additions to new recipes. Explore ideas for leftover sweet potatoes. Or, as one foodie touts, “The Happiest Ending for Leftovers Is Quiche.” (Keep a frozen pie shell on hand!)