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Healthy Swaps for your Favorite Holiday Recipes

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Holiday season is something we look forward to, enjoy, and sometimes – fear. Why? Some fear gaining weight due to the abundance of yummy foods, treats and drinks. Even though, according to statistics, the weight gain in insignificant between Thanksgiving and New Year (about 1 pound), the issue is that it will most likely stay on, amounting to a double digit on the scale a couple decades after. To avoid any weight gain it is important to stay mindful while eating, choose foods you truly enjoy and not just because they are on the table, and keep up your fitness routine to get your through this holiday season without any undesired consequences.

And if you are cooking, here’re some healthy swaps you can use to lighten your dishes calorically while preserving the taste, or even doing a healthy delicious remake of the original:

  1. Non-fat/low fat Greek Yogurt for mayo or sour cream. It is just as thick and flavorful but with less calories and fat and a lot more protein to improve satiation. To make it savory for a potato or chicken salad – just add some Dijon mustard, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and soy sauce.
  2. Make your own salad dressing – mix tahini (ground sesame seed paste), apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, smoked paprika and water to desired consistency – nutritious and delicious.
  3. Use vegetable crudité instead of tortilla or pita chips – cut lengthwise mini cucumbers, bell peppers of all colors, carrots, celery – great for dips.
  4. Speaking of dips – make your own hummus – blend 1 can of rinsed chickpeas, 2 Tbsp tahini, garlic clove, juice of 1/2 lemon and a teaspoon of olive oil (as opposed to quarter-cup in commercially produced) in a food processor or blender and serve with the crudité, mentioned above.
  5. Use apple sauce instead of oil in baking (or use half or each) – it adds sweetness, preserves some fluff and reduces the calories. Texture will be a bit different, but nothing less than.
  6. Flax seeds (ground) instead of eggs in baking – if you are out of eggs, making a vegan dish, or simply reducing caloric load, whisk 1 Tbsp of ground flax seeds with 3 Tbsp of water, let it sit for 5 min to reach gelatinous composition and mix in your batter.
  7. Rice – half rice and half riced cauliflower. Some may not even notice the change up, praising you for such flavorful side dish!
  8. Pasta #1– half spaghetti half zoodles (spiralized zucchini) – half the calories, extra fiber and amazing presentation.
  9. Pasta #2 – half spaghetti half cooked spaghetti squash.
  10. Apple slices instead crackers and cookies – dip in peanut or almond butter for a balanced snack.

Happy Holidays!

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