Breaking News
More () »

Easy ways to make your holiday dishes a little healthier

According to both the American Heart Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people gain one to two pounds over the holidays. But that does not have to happen to you this year!

KREM2 checked in with three nutrition experts to see what they thought about these statistics.

One nutritionist said most people gain even more than one or two pounds.

“People tend to gain six to eight pounds over the holidays and over this one month,” Carolyn Brown, a nutritionist at Food Trainers in New York City said.

They all agreed that is it is possible to maintain your fitness, sanity, and still have fun this Christmas while incorporating some healthy foods into your diet.

“You can still enjoy yourself. You can lower the harmful ingredients, oils and sugar required in recipes , replace with applesauce still have a great product ,” Jen Ropp, RD MultiCare Health System, Rockwood Clinic said. “You can cut sugar by a third, really take that sugar intake down and not even taste a difference.”

Mandy White, a health coach from Las Vegas recommends her clients to have a glass of red wine a day, both for sanity reasons and for heart health.

“We are not talking about sweet white wines or moscato or anything like that, we are talking about a great merlot or cabernet,” she said. “Red wine that has the polyphenols and resveratrol that is good for your heart.”

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Some other tips for keeping yourself in check this season…

Stay hydrated

Even though food is the star of the season, if you keep drinking water you will have more energy. Plus, there is less room for fat and sugar in your body.

Plant-based foods

Get your nutrient dense foods in first by incorporating seasonal vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and a variety of fruit.
When you are properly nourished, you limit your unhealthy cravings.
When it comes to fat, you don’t want to cut back on omega-3 fatty acids. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but they reduce your risk of heart disease, inflammation, and depression.

The human body can’t make omega threes from scratch. You must get them from food.

Foods high in Omega-3 include lean proteins, fish, leafy vegetables...

Salmon and shrimp cocktail are both low in saturated fat, high in omega threes and great options to replace fried foods.

Herbs and Spices

The ones we use around the holidays are a great way to add flavor, cut back on buttery and creamy sauces and have an array of health benefits.

Cinnamon has been found to contain a high level of manganese, a mineral important in blood sugar regulation.

Nutmeg contains magnesium, potassium, zinc and compounds that have been found to help with mental focus, relaxation and sleep.

Ginger is one of the best-known digestive aids and also has anti-inflammatory properties, assisting in relief of body and joint pain.

Cardamom is one of the few spices that has high amounts of iron and manganese. The oil of cardamom can be used topically to heal infections and as an anesthetic.

All of these can easily be added to appetizers, main entrees and desserts.

Himalayan Pink Salt has more of the natural minerals like potassium and magnesium when compared to iodized salt is that is 100% pure sodium.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Don’t be afraid to swap or cut back in recipes

There are plenty of times you can swap out ingredients in your traditional recipes for slightly healthier ingredients.

If you’re baking, for example, you can trade vegetable oil for equal parts of apple sauce. It will maintain the moistness, without all the fat content of the oil.

If a recipe calls for butter, you can make the same swap for apple sauce. Coconut oil is also a healthier option for baking, and keeps the saturated fats down.

Even with the cream and butter in casseroles, you can add half the amount and still get great flavor with half the fat.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Changing out the chocolate

A lot of people eat milk chocolate, but dark chocolate has a very powerful antioxidant that lowers blood pressure and helps prevent blood clots! Dark chocolate helps brain function and gives you natural energy!

Melt a little dark chocolate that is 70% cacao or higher, dip some fruit ... that is such a healthier option as a desert for the holidays rather than something baked.

If you can be open to new tastes and textures this season, you can wake up feeling energized on New Year’s Day. Your diet does not have to start January 1. You can make a lot of changes now and still enjoy the festivities!