It is officially holiday season, a time when we spend extra time baking and cooking for our loved ones.
We celebrate traditions, and many of us (including me with my notorious sweet tooth) indulge a bit more in sugar-laden delights.
I’m never one to frown upon a holiday cookie, so don’t even think I’d want to spoil any of the holiday spirit around eating and being merry.
I do have some ideas about how to make the season just a little more healthy if you’re game.
I love the number three when trying to organize my thoughts, so here are my three tips for Happy Healthy Holidays:
1. Have fun experimenting with new recipes. If you haven’t checked my new recipe database, you are seriously missing out! You can sort recipes based on cooking method, type of meal, allergies (if applicable) and more. There is a whole section of recipes called “Sweet Treats”. I can’t guarantee that these “Sweet Treats” are exactly healthy, but I love the three-bite rule to be able to taste yummy things yet still fit in my jeans. 🙂
Okay, and did you hear that extra tip inside of the tip? If you are going to indulge, follow the “three-bite rule”. The first bite is the “OMG that is soooooo good” bite. The second bite is, “well, that is pretty damn good!”. The third bite is, “I’m so happy that I was able to try this, but I know I’ll feel over-stuffed if I finish the entire thing; so I’ll stop now”.
I find that by the third bite, I’m feeling done anyway!
2. Try baking if you don’t like cooking. Here are ten ways to make your baking just a tad bit healthier.
- Use the highest quality ingredients you can find
- Experiment with different flours (nut flours and coconut are great!)
- Include nuts for great nutrition (assuming no allergies in your household)
- Add/ hide vegetables in the mix
- Avoid food colors
- Be watchful of unhealthy ingredients you may not be aware of
- Avoid trans fats
- Make healthy replacements
- Use fruits to sweeten
- Reduce sugar
3. Involve your kids in making healthy holiday foods (because if you involve them, they are more likely to participate in trying/eating the output). Going with ten tips again, here are my top tricks for cooking with kids:
- Have kids search for ingredients under the guise of a kitchen or grocery store scavenger hunt!
- Designate aprons, old shirts, and colorful bandanas as “cooking clothes”.
- Read recipe beforehand to find active kid-friendly “ing” tasks (scooping, measuring, crushing, patting, etc).
- Laugh together about the spills.
- Set out placemats or plastic cutting boards to designate a workspace and keep messes contained.
- Use a separate bowl if exact measurements are what you need. This way, no tears over spills.
- Use bowls with high sides.
- Make clean up part of the cooking activity.
- Help kids to make food containers fun with decorations such as stickers, drawings, etc.
- Rate the foods you make and vote on which recipes are the family favorites.
Need some ideas for healthy recipes? Download this free healthy eating cookbook. It features my daughter’s award-winning recipe).
Happy (Healthy) Holidays to all!