Whether you survived Thanksgiving by graciously passing on that second serving of pumpkin pie or by throwing your napkin to the wind for a full-out caloric splurge, you’re still in the trenches of holiday parties and festive meals. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa (and all of the traditional foods that accompany them) are right around the corner, but a few thoughtful adjustments can go a long way in making your favorite dishes and holiday preparations more health conscious.
Surprisingly, a study by The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the average holiday weight gain is at just over one pound. Does that mean free reign to splurge for the next few weeks? Not quite. Weight is just one factor in maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. The amount of cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and saturated fat consumed can skyrocket compared to your regular eating habits, so while you may not see much change on the outside, your body is still taking the hit.
We’ve called upon two culinary experts (plus thrown in a few tips of our own) to offer sage and simple advice to revisit your favorite recipes without sacrificing flavor. Alejandra Ramos is a culinary lifestyle educator and author of the award-winning blog "Always Order Dessert." While she certainly rolled her share of pasta dough during her course of study at Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy, Alejandra says it’s easier than you think to lighten up classic dishes. Chef Olivia Dupin brings her own brand of Miracle on 34th Street cred, focusing her recipe development on gluten-free cooking. Diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2009, Olivia says there’s no reason to deny yourself regardless of your dietary restrictions.
The best gift you receive this season may not be found wrapped with a big bow on top, but rather in this list of healthy, holiday-inspired tips, which will keep on giving throughout the year.