It’s often cited that people gain an average of 5 pounds around the holidays. It’s no wonder with Americans consuming between 3,000 – 4,500 calories for their holiday meal. Smart & Final RD Patricia Bannan can share some really easy ideas to cut that calorie total significantly.
1. Go Light on Appetizers
Set out a few easy and healthier appetizers like a veggie platter with hummus, roasted almonds, or whole grain crackers with swiss cheese. This cuts back on prep time, as well as not filling up too much on heavy finger foods before the meal even starts.
2. Start with Soup
Starting off your holiday meal with a veggie-filled soup like butternut squash, carrot, or minestrone can help fill you up more, and leave less room for the calorie-heavy dishes with the main meal. It’s also an easy way to add more veggies to your plate. Smart & Final offers First Street Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth, which can be used as a soup base making it fast and easy to feed homemade soup a crowd.
3. Serve with a Salad
Set out a green salad filled with colorful veggies like pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and grated carrots with your holiday spread. This makes is easy to fill half your dinner plate with filling veggies, and leave less room for the decadent stuff. This delicious and healthy recipe for Orange Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Tangy Turmeric Dressing looks beautiful on holiday tables.
4. Add More Veggies
Add extra veggies to classic dishes, such as using half cauliflower and half potatoes in mashed potatoes, adding extra carrots and celery to stuffing, or mashing in cooked carrots to sweet potato casserole. Smart & Final offers whole, riced, pearled and even mashed cauliflower options to make adapting recipes easy.
5. Half the Sugar
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in some holiday favorites that come only once a year, but that doesn’t mean they have to be sugar bombs either. Make your own sweet potato casserole with half the amount of brown sugar or maple syrup, and the same for homemade cranberry sauce. These dishes are just as sweet, without the need for loads of added sugars.
6. Use Whole Grains
Easily up the fiber by using whole grains in your side dishes. This could be a brown rice stuffing, quinoa salad, or whole grain dinner rolls. They are just as easy to prepare, and loaded with nutrients. Sun Harvest Super Grain Blend, available at Smart & Final, is an easy way to give your recipes a boost of nutrition.
7. Skip the Butter
Instead of loading your veggies with butter, swap it out for a drizzle of olive oil instead. They are roughly the same amount of calories, but olive oil is much lower in saturated fat, with a higher amount of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. If you’re still a butter fan, save it for spreading on your rolls, or as a finishing touch to your plate. Smart & Final’s Sun Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a high quality and value-priced option.
8. Go Skinless
What’s Thanksgiving without the turkey! Opt for leaner skinless, white meat turkey for a lower calorie and saturated fat option, or at least go for half white meat half dark meat if you’re a fan of its flavor. For small gatherings, consider cooking just a turkey breast instead of an entire turkey. It can save you money, and they are easier to prepare.
9. Half the Crust
Go for a pie that only has a bottom crust like a pumpkin pie to easily slash calories and saturated fat. You can do the same by leaving out the bottom crust for pies that usually use both a top and bottom crust like fruit pies.
10. Include Fruit
Sometimes you still want something sweet, but not something as heavy as pie, cake, or cookies. Set out a colorful fruit salad, cut melon, or bunches of grapes with dessert to give a healthier option that still satisfies a sweet tooth.
Extra Tip: Shop Online
It’s easy to be tempted by all of the unhealthy goodies at the grocery store this time of year. Shopping online saves precious time and prevents you from making impulse buys your waistline might regret. At SmartandFinal.com you can even get your groceries delivered in less than two hours.