As the weather is getting colder we find ourselves drinking hot beverages and craving seasonal comfort foods like hot chocolate, pumpkin pies, and Thanksgiving staples like mashed potatoes and stuffing. But this year you say will be different. Along with the holiday season comes an excess amount of food. You may love packing presents, but you’re trying to avoid packing on the pounds. Here's a list of our fall favorites with a healthier alternative.
Mashed Potatoes- Try mashed cauliflower instead. Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender, then strain thoroughly. Begin mashing your cauliflower the same way you would potatoes. Depending on what you add to your potatoes this next step varies. If you normally use whole milk and butter, try adding skim milk and ghee. Garlic and pepper are also great substitutes for sour cream and salt. Experiment with it and find a way to make this healthy alternative your own.
Apple Pie- Instead of this sugary, flaky, calorie dense staple, try a “crustless” apple pie. Wash and slice an apple. Put it in a bowl and drizzle it with a little bit of honey. Microwave at half power until warm and tender then top with sugar free cool whip and granola if you choose. All the warm, gooey, sweetness with nowhere near the calories.
Pumpkin Baked Goods- There are several alternatives to pumpkin rolls, pies, and muffins that are loaded with extra butter and sugar. Here are some of the easiest substitutions. For a quick and easy pumpkin spice cake mix a box of spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin. By using canned pumpkin you can cut out the milk, eggs, and butter normally added to a boxed cake mix. This helps cut down the fat content, plus the pumpkin makes it a festive orange color while keeping your cake moist and flavorful.
If you’re craving pumpkin pie with ice cream, try a pumpkin protein shake. Mix ½ cup canned pumpkin, ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein, and ice for consistency. To get an authentic taste add in cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin pie spice. You can also add a banana or greek yogurt to your base and sugar free coolwhip, almonds, pecans, or walnuts on top. Experiment with it and have a little fun!
Brown Sugar Butter Sweet Potatoes- Sweet potatoes are an exceptionally healthy food, but when you add butter and brown sugar to them it detracts from their nutritional value. Try instead using coconut oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You’ll still get the creamy sweetness but from healthier sources. Coconut oil is high in omega fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides while cinnamon is good for adding sweetness while controlling insulin response to carbs and sugars.
Lasagna- A cold weather staple to heat up the house and fill you up. Try swapping the typical lasagna noodles with thinly sliced zucchini and be sure to check the sugar content on your tomato sauce. You can go meatless, use veggie crumbles (the Boca brand is fantastic), or use ground chicken or turkey for a leaner meat option.
Thanksgiving Dinner- The feast of all fall season feasts, and an occasion that is sure to leave you with leftovers. Instead of eating your leftover turkey on sandwiches all week, try a festive fall salad with spinach, romaine lettuce, roasted turkey, walnuts, and craisins. Another option is to wrap roasted turkey and spinach in a low carb wrap using laughing cow cheese wedges instead of butter or mayo.
Lastly, keep in mind that the holiday season is about more than maintaining your diet or losing weight. Enjoy the time with friends and family . If you don’t have control over what’s on the menu, remember you still have control over how much you eat. Try to fill up on protein and vegetables before heading for the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and desserts. This will help fill you up and provide you with the nutrients your body requires, so that you can enjoy a small piece of pie with your friends and family guilt free.