Festive food swaps

Fix Your Plate by Tara Reeves

‘Tis the season of celebration, and as we gather to indulge in the joyous moments, there’s no denying the allure of festive treats. However, the indulgence often comes with a lingering concern for our well-being. But, with a few savvy swaps, you can partake in the spirit of the season without fretting over the impact on your health.

Consider a timeless baking swap: instead of loading up your cookies and cakes with butter, opt for the sweetness of unsweetened applesauce. This switch not only infuses natural sweetness but also maintains the moist and delectable quality of your baked goods. Just note that this swap is not suitable where cold butter is required in a recipe.

Sugar cookies may be a holiday favourite, but the subsequent sugar crash is less enjoyable. Choose natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or dates for your recipes. These alternatives not only add sweetness but also bring along additional nutrients. It’s a delightful compromise that satiates your taste buds while aligning with your commitment to well-being.

Swap out traditional mashed potatoes for a lighter alternative using mashed cauliflower. Steam or boil cauliflower until tender, then blend or mash it with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and your favourite herbs. The result is a creamy and flavorful side dish with fewer carbs and calories, making room for guilt-free seconds.

For appetizers, consider a swap that transforms creamy dips made with sour cream or mayonnaise into a protein-packed delight using Greek yogurt. The result is an equally creamy and indulgent dip, adorned with herbs and spices. Enjoy guilt-free dipping without the lingering heaviness.

Eggnog, a seasonal favourite, often comes with an abundance of sugar and calories. Take matters into your own hands by crafting a homemade almond milk eggnog. Not only does this version carry fewer calories, but it also allows you to control the sweetness. Top it off with a sprinkle of nutmeg for a healthier, homemade rendition of this festive classic.

When the snacking urge hits, make a smarter choice by trading greasy potato chips for baked veggie chips. Slice up sweet potatoes, beets, or zucchini, drizzle with olive oil, and bake to crispy perfection. You’ll satisfy your crunchy craving without the guilt of excess fat and calories.

Indulge your sweet tooth with a healthier choice by opting for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and more cocoa, which is rich in antioxidants. It’s a decadent treat that satisfies your chocolate cravings while providing potential health benefits. Enjoy it on its own or incorporate it into your favourite holiday desserts for a delicious and mindful upgrade.

Remember, the season is about celebrating, not deprivation. These straightforward swaps allow you to relish the festivities without compromising your dedication to a healthier lifestyle. So, whether you’re hosting a gathering or contributing a dish, consider these swaps as your secret ingredients for guilt-free enjoyment this holiday season. 

Just a friendly reminder that if you plan to partake in some festive libations this holiday season, please don’t drink and drive. Happy Holidays!