Healthy Holiday Swaps for you and your family

luisella filled fruit tart cups

I don’t know about you, but for many of us it’s the same deal every time the holidays come along. We vow to resist all the goodies and stick to a plan of healthy eating to keep our energy, resilience and mood up for the crazy season. We try our best but always temptation comes along in the form of holiday parties, tasty gifts, and last minute, poor choice food grabs after long days. 

 

There is something to be said for giving yourself a break and acknowledging that it is a difficult time and well…there’s always January. The holidays are after all meant to be a time of pleasure and indulgence. But before you throw in the towel completely…consider that sweet spot of conciliation, that harmonious state we are told daily to seek out…balance.

 

Here at Luisella, there is no doubt we all have our sweet…tooths…teeth(?) but the commitment we show in making sure every ingredient we put in our delicious spreads is as wholesome as possible is the same commitment we’re putting in to our holiday choices this year.

 

Here are some easy and healthful options to consider incorporating this holiday season:

 

  • Use the best sweetening options for your baking this year. Cut down on added sugar by swapping in fruit like dates, raisins, apricots or applesauce. Yes, these all contain natural sugar too but you get the bonus of fibre to regulate that dreaded sugar rush!
  • Having guests with allergens to your table? Be mindful of additions like nut milks to sauces and baking. These can be terrific and healthful alternatives for those with dairy sensitivities but dangerous for those with nut allergies.
  • Along the same lines, baked goods can be treacherous for folks with eggs allergies or vegans. Did you know you can create a ‘vegan egg’ combining flax seeds or chia seeds with water? Yep…true story.
  • Swap up your fat for some more healthful options that are also sure to give you a boost of energy, keep you fuller longer and give you a glow.  Swap out avocado or coconut oil for vegetable oils or butter. Choose store bought items carefully avoiding products made with trans fats, hydrogenated oils or palm oil.
  • Always on the go? Think of ideas like these to stick in your purse or glove box:  single serve packs of nut butter or coconut oil (great to stick in your coffee, slather on winter damaged skin or spread on a coffee shop bagel), carry around a baggie of veggies, single serve smoothie powders, packs of raw nuts, pouches of olives etc.
  • Getting dinner into your family can be a massive challenge when you are running between concerts, parties, work or shopping – cut yourself a break here. Get some homemade soup or pot pies…homemade by someone else that is. Or buy a rotisserie chicken, cut up some cheese, fruit and veggies and have a picnic the kids will love; this transitions beautifully into healthful salad or sandwich the next day …or throw in a pot with some bone broth for a nurturing soup.

 

  • Now…what about those parties? Your first order of business is to not go to the party starving! Then, if you’re going to mindlessly pick at the food table while chatting try to stick first to the veggie tray. But alas, you are here to enjoy so do dig into the shrimp, zinc and iron-rich oysters, a bit of cheese keeps you going, some olives, or a few nuts and if you’re going for the sweets…try to grab the darkest, most beautiful looking chocolate. Quality is everything here, avoid icing-rich, multicoloured desserts…a little bit of dark, real chocolate goes a loooong way to satisfying that sweet tooth.

 

So, go ahead, indulge a bit but try these little tweaks to help you keep from going overboard. Remember to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible, get plenty of water into you, and every day make sure you get outside or somewhere quiet and take some time to breathe, regroup and remember all the reasons you have to celebrate this holiday!