We’ve all been there before; you feel guilt, regret and a little less breathing room in your favourite pants.
This time around, why not get a head start on the New Year and resolve to eat a little healthier? That doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy the Christmas cake and Chanukah cookies, it just means that you should enjoy everything in moderation.
Whether you’re a host or a guest, a few modifications to the traditional menu will go a long way in keeping your holidays healthier and your clothes fitting comfortably.
Add a little crunch to your munch
While waiting for the big meal it’s customary to put out small snacks and finger foods to whet one’s appetite. In lieu of the usual potato chips, cheese platters and baked brie, switch it up and take some inspiration from your childhood:
- The Veggie Platter. Remember when you were a kid and you’d go to a birthday party and there’d always be the one platter of carrot and celery sticks that no one ate? Well, you’re not in third grade anymore, and vegetable platters are no longer a pariah at the party. Place roasted bell peppers, cucumber and carrot sticks around a chickpea or spinach dip instead of cream cheese and other rich dips.
- The After School Special. No, I’m not talking about Smartfood. I’m talking about the good old-fashioned microwave or air-popped popcorn. Spice it up (literally) by mixing in a teaspoon of five-spice mix, which can easily be picked up at your local grocery story.
- The Forbidden Food. Unlike elementary school, nuts aren’t a no-no anymore. Bear in mind that you don’t want your guests to feel like you’re serving them trail mix so keep the nuts separate: one bowl of cashews, a bowl of almonds and a pile of walnuts with a strategically placed walnut cracker nearby. And unless you’re trying to replicate the ambiance at Jack Astor’s or a dingy bar, don’t forget to provide a bowl for the shells.
Eat your greens… and your reds, oranges, and purples.
Vegetable-based dishes are a tasty and colourful addition to the dinner table. Stock up on dishes that complement the main course, such as green beans, roasted eggplant, baked squash and stuffed mushrooms. Eliminate excess butter and cream by opting for recipes with high-impact flavourings such as fresh herbs, ginger and spices.
Tame your sweet tooth
Everyone has an extra sweet tooth around the holidays and it’s hard not to be tempted by the platters of freshly baked cookies and your grandmother’s 12 pound fruitcake.
If you don’t have the willpower to say no to dessert entirely, at least try to scale back on the extravagances. Going for the pie? Leave the ice cream, whipped cream and guilty conscience for someone else.
Better yet, bring a crumble instead; the mix of oats not only makes it lighter than a pie crust, but is full of fibre. For an A+ in healthy desserts, broil in-season fruits such as apples and pears, with a sprinkling of brown sugar on top.
Sure, we all have to remind ourselves to be mindful of what comes out of our mouth when sitting around the dinner table, but it’s another thing to think about what goes into your mouth.
Give yourself the best gift for the holiday’s and cross “lose five pounds” off your New Year’s resolutions. With these tips, you won’t need to.