dFriendly Sides: Healthy Holiday Eating
By Marlene Koch, author of Eat What You Love: More than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories
A typical holiday dinner can deliver 2,000 to 4,000 calories, depending on what (and how much) fills up your holiday plate. Typical side dishes like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and Yorkshire puddings — plus those gingerbread men or celebratory glass of champagne — can make your holiday feast as excessive in carbohydrates as it is in calories. Healthy holiday eating can be a challenge. The good news is that with a little bit of planning, a few healthy holiday eating and cooking tricks, and some great recipes, you can transform your holiday sides from meal plan killers into meal plan makers.
- Include two green veggies and a salad. When designing your holiday menu, be sure to include one to two fresh, non-starchy vegetables and a large salad with your favorite (sugar-free) dressing.
- Pick sides. Determine which starchy sides are “must-haves,” and which can be omitted without affecting your holiday table. For example, a lower-carb blend of mashed yams (or cauliflower, rutabaga, or parsnips) and white potatoes is a great substitute for two separate dishes.
- Budget your carbs. Review your meal plan and determine ahead of time which starchy or sugar-laden items you will budget for in your healthy holiday eating plan. Once they are on your plate, you’ll be able to pile the empty space with non-starchy sides or lean turkey to keep temptation at bay.
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If Charlie had a seat at Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving Day ping pong table, the texting between him and Susanne might look something like this. Susanne: Text me a picture of what you’re eating. [elapsed time] Susanne: ??? Charlie: [elapsed time] ...