The Holidays are officially HERE!!! I truly hope this season and especially this week bring you all the joy and cheer you have been anticipating after the year we’ve had! I hope it’s magical in every way!
I will go ahead and make the assumption, that food is the center of the holiday festivities for all of us. As you know, I want you to enjoy ALL the delicious foods during this time of year, but I still want us to be mindful and include healthy foods without feeling like we are missing out! Here are a few quick easy substitutes for some of those foods that will be served this week!
For those western favorites keep these tips in mind:
- Have white meat verses dark meat this will save you on saturated fat grams and calories.
- Choose the plain mashed potatoes over sweet potatoes as that will also save you extra calories and saturated fat from the sugar and butter added to those the sweet potatoes.
- Make a vegetable salad part of the main course.
- Serve fresh fruit rather than fruit salads that have added sugar in them with all those toppings and creams
- On that meat tray, choose the ham and turkey over the salami as it has less saturated fat and less calories overall.
- By selecting swiss cheese over other cheeses you are reducing your sodium by nearly 50%.
- Always pick the reduced fat dairy products, these will be lower in fat especially that saturated fat and typically don’t have anything added to prevent the compromising of flavors (contrary to popular belief). Remember my blog earlier this month that had all the white fats that Greek yogurt can be used in place of? Refer back to that here😊
- Choose whole grains whether it’s the bread, the crackers, the pasta or rice dishes. Don’t forget those dinner rolls, make those whole grain too! This will keep you fuller for longer to help prevent you from overeating due to the fiber content, which can also help to stabilized blood sugars among other benefits.
- Keep in mind that beverage calories can really add up! Go back to my first blog this month to see my better for you holiday beverages!
For those traditional Kenyan Holiday favorites here are some tips and swaps to keep in mind!
Cut the excess fat off of the meat
Add chicken and fish as part of the protein mix rather than just always red meat. The chicken is leaner and the fish will cut out the saturated fat and even add some heart healthy fats. Rather than deep frying that tilapia consider baking in- it can still get crispy that way, but with way less fat.
Choose whole grain
Include whole grains rather than refined grains. For example, have brown chapatis or do ½ white unga and ½ brown unga, choose brown rice and make traditional ugali or the brown ugali. The main reasons for this is… you guessed it! That fiber!
Less carbs more green
Don’t focus so much on the meat and carbs that the green produce goes missing. Remember all those nice traditional greens that will pair so nicely with the rest of your meal. Kachumbari is a great way to add even more and don’t leave out the avocado as it is a great source heart healthy fat.
Add a fruit salad to the table this year! Think of all the amazing fresh fruits in season, especially those mangos! This is a great way to keep the meal healthy and balanced.
Use healthier oils
Traditional holiday foods in Kenya have lots of oil, right? Keep this in mind as you are cooking and as you are serving. A good tip is to switch the oil to a canola oil which is a heart healthy oil full of omega 3’s.
Be mindful of beverages! Even though one cup of 100% juice can be totally fine, don’t overdo it as those calories can add up quite quickly. Also remember to keep soda to a minimum is it has A LOT of added sugar!
Balance that plate
Don’t forget to have half your plate fruits and vegetables and try to keep it balanced like “My plate.” And as I always say, don’t bring your food guilt to the dinner table, it’s a horrible dinner date. Enjoy everything in proper portion and moderation! Refer to my previous blogs this month for even more tips! Enjoy the holidays! Take some time off and try to relax and celebrate the merry that this season brings about!