This is the time of year when all you want is a hearty, warming meal that is rich and flavourful. Whether it’s pasta, lasagna, stews, mashed potatoes or a cheesy macaroni – your body knows what it needs (or wants?). There is noting wrong with this, as long you make them healthy! By healthy, I don’t mean tasteless! When the craving sets in for these types of meals, you have some choices to make that can benefit your whole family.
Here are some alternative options that will satisfy your desires and allow you to indulge without guilt!
Make it hearty – Instead of heavy meats and starchy white carbohydrates that make you feel tired and heavy. Use chickpeas, lentils, black beans for a veggie loaf instead of a meat loaf. Choose whole foods like barley, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa for the base of a soup, stew or pilaf. These foods are high in protein, fiber and slow burning carbohydrates. You will feel satisfied and full without being overstuffed.
Make it creamy, thick or cheezy – Instead of heavy creams and cheeses that are loaded with saturated fat and calories, that leave you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. Choose naturally creamy alternatives like tahini, cashews for your cheese sauces and lasagnas. Avocados can also be used to cream up a recipe – especially for a velvety dip or a smooth chocolate pudding. Your body will absorb their nutrients much easier and utilize the fat calories for energy rather than for storage.
Make Tasty – Instead of desserts and beverages loaded white sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives with empty calories and other unnatural substances. Choose whole foods that are naturally sweet like butternut squash or yams for a side dish. Make an apple crumble for dessert sweetened with maple syrup or honey. Play with herbs and spices like cinnamon which give a sweet warming accent to your dish or hot chocolate. These foods not only contain natural flavours but are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients.
Choosing some of these healthy alternatives to create your holiday meals will not only provide you with variety, but it will also give you unique flavours to create comforting meals that are sure to please your whole family!