The holiday season overflows with festive occasions and fantastic family gatherings . It can also bring an array of naughty temptations that can make it difficult to stay conscientious of your eating habits. Holiday parties pile on calories and carbohydrates. So, to stay in control, here are some festive recipes to keep your festive spirit up, without compromising your enjoyment.
The most important factor when aiming to be health conscious during the holidays is balance. Regardless of what kind of tasty treats you come across, you can still balance portions and macronutrients on your plate.
If you’re wondering what macronutrients are, we can explain:
Macronutrients are the major categories on the food pyramid, and include proteins, carbs, and fats. For portion control, try to stick to low-fat meats, one serving of a starch, and brightly colored veggies. Additionally, be careful of sugars, especially hidden sugars in certain fruits that appear healthy but actually spike your blood glucose.
To help out, we at Mississippi Care have made a list of healthy but gorgeous recipes that are easy to make for the holiday season. Not only will they be popular at your next event, but you’ll be taking care of your body (and everyone else’s ) too.
Protein In Mind
Slow Roasted Salmon with Cranberry and Nut Crust
This stunning heart healthy recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Plus, being such a protein-focused meal means it can be a great main course. The healthy fats found in salmon and nuts provide a nice balance, as well. At the same time, the cranberry gives you a sweet kick diverting your dessert cravings. Here’s how to make it:
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped dried cranberries + 2-3 tbsp extra for garnish
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup pine nuts
⅓ cup chopped parsley + extra for garnish
2-3 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
⅓ cup butter, melted + 2-3 tbsp extra for drizzling
3 lbs fresh salmon
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking or oven tray with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix panko breadcrumbs, cranberries, almonds, pine nuts, parsley, thyme, lemon, and orange zest together. Stir in melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pat salmon dry with paper towels, then place on prepared tray, skin-side-down. Season well with salt, and sprinkle crust mixture evenly on top, pressing down gently to adhere. Drizzle a little more melted butter. Place on a shelf in the middle of the oven, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until salmon is cooked through, and crust is golden.
- Garnish with more chopped cranberries and parsley for color. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Quinoa
Avoid overdoing it on the starch by choosing nutrient-dense sides. Search for options that have more vegetables as sides, as you can eat more veggies with a much lower caloric value. For example, an entire cup of cauliflower has only 27 calories. Just ¾ cup of mashed potatoes can have 171 calories, not to mention the additional fat from the butter and cheese that often accompany this heavy side.
1 small butternut squash about 3 cups, cut into squares
2 Tbsp coconut oil
½ cup dry quinoa
1 garlic square
3 leaves kale
Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Lay the pre-cut butternut squash flat in a pan, drizzle with coconut oil, top with salt and pepper, and roast for 20-25 minutes. The squash is done when the fork can easily pierce through it
- While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa according to directions.
- When the quinoa is close to done (but still hot), mix in the garlic.
- Tear the kale and add it to the quinoa.
- Combine everything into bowls, serve, and enjoy!
Roasted Beets and Carrots with Goat Cheese Dressing
This is another tasty side dish composed primarily of veggies. Beetroot is overflowing with nutrients and the goat cheese gives this dish an air of luxury. Here’s how it’s done:
1 ½ lbs golden beets with tops
1 ½ lbs red beets with tops
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 oz fresh baby carrots
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
1 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Peel the beets and cut into 1-inch wedges. Discard tough stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
- In a bowl, toss the golden beets with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 garlic clove halves, and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange in one-third of a large ovenproof skillet.
- Repeat with the red beets and then the carrots, using 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 garlic halves for each vegetable.
- Set the skillet over high heat and cook without stirring until sizzling.
- Cover the skillet and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes, until tender. Transfer the vegetables to a platter.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and half of the shallot. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in the goat cheese.
- In the skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the remaining shallots, and cook over moderately high heat until softened for about 1 minute.
- Add the chopped beet greens and cook until just wilted for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add half of the goat cheese dressing to the beet greens and toss.
- Add the roasted vegetables and toss once or twice.
- Transfer the salad to a platter and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve right away.
Your Health this Holiday Season
It is crucial that you remain mindful of your eating over the holiday season. Not only can this help prevent the dreaded seasonal weight gain, but it can help your overall health. Mindful eating can reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and stroke! Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for you, and always be prepared with a sufficient shopping list that caters to your new healthy lifestyle. The caring and professional team at Mississippi Care would love to partner with you in your healthcare. You can schedule an appointment by clicking here.