Thank you, Thanksgiving, for kicking off the holiday eating extravaganza that is before us all. Even if you’re not in the U.S. and don’t celebrate this particular holiday, between winter festivals (religious and non-religious) celebrated around the world, there’s some serious eating about to happen between now and January.
I’m not going to be the killjoy that tells you to bring the word “moderation” to the table at your holiday meals. I’m not going to guilt you that way. But here’s the thing of it: There are plenty of meals between now and New Year’s Day when we can take the opportunity to eat in a more thoughtful, healthier manner. I’m not asking anyone to take up the mantle of deprivation. I’m just saying that one way to keep the holiday pounds from piling on is to eat the special meals at special times, and to make lighter choices the rest of the time.
“You can either allow yourself to eat whatever for the next 6 weeks, or you can say, ‘whew, that was good, but today I’m going to balance it out with smarter, low-calorie choices.’” said registered dietician Georgie Fear in Friday’s post on askGeorgie.com.
Salads are an obvious choice when trying to keep eating lighter between holiday events. But the key is to find interesting salads that highlight what’s in season. For example, Alanna Kellogg posted a spectacular Carrot Salad with Pomegranate on A Veggie Venture yesterday. “It goes together quickly and packs a flavor punch and a crunch punch (ha!) too,” Alanna said of this recipe.
Elise of Simply Recipes has a colorful Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad recipe available that also looks easy to toss together, seasonal, colorful and delicious.
Right here on BlogHer, I invite you to check out Kalyn Denny’s post from last year that rounds up a terrific list of winter salads. There are even more ideas in the comments.
Kalyn also posted a recipe for Soy-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Seeds on Kalyn’s Kitchen earlier this month, and it looks amazing. I planned to roast sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, but ended up rescinding that part of the menu when I realized how much food we were going to be plowing through that day, but now I have seven potatoes that need to get eaten soon. I’ll definitely be trying this recipe this week!
I’m planning to put some of those sweet potatoes to use in the Creamy Sweet Potato Soup recipe offered by Fiber of 28 Cooks. “There's just enough cumin and coriander to let you know this ain't a boring soup, and the green chilies add just enough heat to make it exciting,” Fiber says about her recipe. “So go ahead and give this a try--I guarantee your stomach will thank you!” Though this soup gets some of its texture from half-and-half, Fiber recommends the fat-free version, so the soup stays healthy. I will probably use silken tofu as a substitute for the dairy in this--that would boost the protein content, too.
Though sweet potatoes would work particularly well with this, Elisa Camahort of BlogHer shared her favorite winter recipe with me on Twitter: Chop up seasonal vegetables (root vegetables and squash are her recommendations), toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and cinnamon, and bake this for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Like Elisa, I adore roasted vegetables, and the cinnamon addition is a nice touch.
If you’re looking for more of a snack than a meal, I must direct you to the Carrot Dip posted by Lara Ferroni of Cook & Eat. It would be a bright spot in any winter menu. The Polenta-Garbanzo Bean Blinis and Meyer Lemon and Black Eyed Pea Dip that share the post with the Carrot Dip also look delicious.
Getting in some healthy meals this holiday season can be delicious and satisfying—no deprivation required. What healthy recipes are your standards during late Fall and winter? Share them in the comments below.