Classic Holiday recipes are all about the nostalgia - but you don’t need to throw all your healthier eating habits out the window. Feel your best and stay your brightest this holiday season while still enjoying all of the traditional holiday classics with these eight ideas to make your holiday dining more mindful.
#1 Make Mindful Decisions
The holidays are all about being merry and bright and if that means enjoying your favorite mug of eggnog or a slice of homemade pie, go for it. However, if you find yourself not being drawn to your usual holiday favorites, take this time to find a new favorite. For example, swap that classic cup of eggnog for a warm mug of apple cider or make your own homemade eggnog recipe with a more mindful spin. Try this easy recipe from the Gracious Pantry.
#2 Opt for Good Grains
It’s easy to fill up on bread from the bread basket long before your favorite holiday dishes have made their way around the dinner table to you, so either skip the bread basket entirely, opt for grain-free options or incorporate heartier grains like ancient grains (amaranth, farro, freekeh, kamut, millet, sorghum and teff). If you are making your own bread recipe from scratch, replace whole milk or full-fat milk with plain yogurt to keep the recipe light.
#3 Recreate Your Own Candied Yams
Instead of serving candied yams this holiday season, try serving another sweet side dish, oven-roasted sweet potatoes. Simply slice and dice the desired amount of sweet potatoes then toss them in avocado oil with a dash of Pink Himalayan Salt or sea salt. Roast in the oven at a low temperature (350 degrees) for 40-60 minutes. The natural sugars in the sweet potatoes will cause them to easily burn if you cook them on too high of a temperature, so remember low and slow wins the holiday race!
#4 Make Your Own Stuffing
Nothing says the holidays like a heaping spoonful of stuffing. Simply saute carrots, celery, onions and any other cubed vegetables of your choosing in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Combine the vegetables with cubes of artisan bread, vegetable or chicken broth and your favorite holiday herbs and spices like black pepper, sage and thyme then bake at 350 degrees for about one hour or until the artisan bread crumbs are golden brown in color.
#5 Get Some Homemade Gravy
Leave the jarred gravy on the grocery store shelves this holiday season and instead make your own tasty Thanksgiving turkey gravy. Simply take one cup of turkey broth, seasonings (i.e. salt, pepper, thyme) and the drippings from your roasting pan and combine them all together in a large saucepan. Then, place the saucepan on a stovetop burner set to medium-high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes. Continue to stir until gravy is brown then add 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour until mixture is thoroughly combined. Serve and enjoy!
Tip: If you prefer, you can skim the fat from the top of the drippings before adding it to your gravy recipe.
#6 Select a Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce
Although the canned shaped cranberry sauce is a staple at the holiday dinner table, the can of cranberry sauce you open for the holidays is laden with artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, sugar and other preservatives. (Yuck!) Cut out the processed sugars and make your own sugar-free cranberry sauce instead. Check out this simple recipe from the Wellness Mama.
#7 Serve Fresh Green Beans Instead of a Green Bean Casserole
Keep it simple with fresh steamed green beans sprinkled with slivered almonds. If you want to give your green beans an extra taste, add a small sprinkle of nutritional yeast, which will give your green beans an addictively delicious umami flavor. Or you can make a better Green Bean Casserole using our recipe.
#8 Say So Long to Processed Sugar
One of the best parts about the holiday season is the array of Christmas cookies on display at every holiday party. Skip the Christmas cookies that are filled with processed sugars and other artificial ingredients and enjoy Christmas cookies that have been prepared with real, whole food ingredients. In a pinch and don’t have the time bake up a fresh batch of Christmas cookies to share with family and friends? Try soft baked cookies or crunchy cookies and don’t forget the frosting!
Don’t skip the simple joys of your favorite classic dishes this holiday season. Instead, elevate them by being more mindful of how you prepare them so you and your holiday guests can feel their best and look their brightest from now until the New Year.
Remember to tag us @SimpleMills so we can see how you keep tradition with your favorite holiday classics!