“Clean Eating” expert, Diane Welland, shares 9 simple tips to keep the holidays healthy.
You don’t have to give up eating “clean” just because it’s the holidays. Many of your favorite special-occasion treats can
be “cleaned up” simply by swapping whole grains for refined ones, choosing low-fat dairy products, and using minimally processed
sugars like honey or dehydrated cane juice sugar over granulated white or brown. Even if you do splurge on a few items, be
smart and don’t overindulge. Follow these nine tips and you can eat well, feel great, and celebrate the season without feeling
guilty or deprived.
Read More: Seven Principles of Clean Eating
While most people associate the holidays with rich, high-calorie foods, there are plenty of other options available. Zero
in on produce first by loading up on raw vegetables found on crudite platters and salads. Instead of high-fat dressings, drizzle
your greens with balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon. Cheese is another good choice, but beware of going overboard, one
to two ounces is all you need (about the size of a pair of dice or a 9-volt battery).
Read More: 5 Healthful Holiday Foods
Preparing your own holiday “clean” meal is the perfect way to ensure that you’ll be eating delicious, healthy recipes. This
is ideal for potluck parties, but even without an official invitation many hostesses welcome homemade food. If you know you’re
going to a holiday party where “clean” options are slim, offer to bring your own dish. Choose items you can make ahead that
lend themselves to large gatherings. This Apple Cranberry Turkey Roulade fits the bill. To make it even cleaner, use whole-wheat
flour and low-sodium, uncured bacon in place of regular bacon.
View Recipe: Apple Cranberry Turkey Roulade
Choosing whole wheat or whole grain breads over white is one of the easiest ways to stick to your “clean” diet during the
holidays. Prepare traditional stuffing with stone-ground cornbread, whole wheat, or whole grain breads and be sure and load
up on the vegetables. If you prefer rice stuffing, substitute brown or wild rice in place of white. For an interesting twist,
try experimenting with different grains like quinoa, millet, or barley. This American version of the Middle Eastern tabbouleh
uses bulgur and offers a unique and tasty alternative for standard stuffing.
View Recipe: Bulgur with Dried Cranberries
Side dishes add color, flavor, and texture to your menu as well as pump up your healthy quotient. Make your vegetable side
dishes just as attractive as your main entrée by using fresh, wholesome, seasonal produce. Keep them simple by roasting vegetables
until they’re caramelized and crispy then top with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts, balsamic vinegar, or kalamata olives. Avoid
loading up mashed potatoes with butter and heavy cream and instead liven them up with roasted garlic, fresh herbs, or horseradish.
Try adding a small amount of a sharp, robust cheese like in this Camembert Mashed Potatoes.
View Recipe: Camembert Mashed Potatoes
Small plates are essential in the clean eaters’ kitchen because they help keep portion size under control and calorie overload
to a minimum. This is particularly important during the holidays when temptation is everywhere.
A good portion control trick for cocktail parties, when we all can go a little crazy over a pan of hot dip, is to stick to something in a self-contained package. These Mini Crab Cups do the trick. Two little cups have just over 100 calories, and the creamy lump crabmeat filling will feel like anything but deprivation.
View Recipe: Mini Crab Cups
For more tips on taming portion sizes, check out our ten top secrets of portion control.
Resist the urge to “save up” your calories and skip meals in lieu of a big holiday feast. The practice leads to overeating
and making poor food choices. Instead, follow the “clean” eating plan and eat small meals and snacks throughout the day even
when going to a party. This keeps energy high, blood sugar stable, and fatigue at bay. With only 200 calories, each these
mini roast pork sandwiches are a perfect small meal and leave room for a piece of fruit or vegetable side dish.
View Recipe: Roast Pork Sandwiches
Clean eaters focus on fresh, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and poultry prepared without loads of
fat, sugar, and salt. But, when it comes to the holidays it’s okay to indulge a little. The key is to choose a small amount
(think about taking a “taste”) and make sure the food is worth the extra calories. Something as simple as beautiful long-stemmed
strawberries dipped in dark, bittersweet chocolate can make the perfect indulgence.
Read More: Go Ahead, Indulge!
Everyone likes a sweet treat, especially this time of year. Don’t deprive yourself of dessert just because you’re eating clean.
Make desserts that highlight fresh whole fruit and search for lightened-up recipes of more traditional dishes. This light
French version of a Crème Brûlée is less than 150 calories. Pair it with fresh sliced berries or other fruit for a colorful
and healthy dessert.
View Recipe: Crema Catalana
Alcoholic and beverage calories can rack up fast. To stretch your drink quota, spritz your wine or juice with mineral water
or seltzer. At your own party, consider serving up flavored unsweetened teas, which make an interesting alternative to sugary
Read More: Healthy Holiday Cocktails