Healthy Holidays: Making Healthier Choices & Stuffing Recipe
The holidays seem to be the most difficult time of the year to make healthy choices. It’s a time filled with family, friends and festive gatherings and food, food and more food. But the holiday season does not also have to be filled with food guilt and calorie counting. In this blog series we will explore a host of topics focused on freeing you from your holiday headache (and bellyache)!
We will discuss how the quality of your calories is more important than the quantity. We will talk about rethinking your patterns of eating, finding balance in your diet, setting SMART goals, and improving your physical and mental health throughout the season.
Each post will focus on one area, and provide information to better maintenance of our health, particularly during the holidays.
In addition to some general healthy holidays tips and techniques we will also discuss how you can directly affect the healthfulness of some of your favorite holiday menu items.
If you are worried that your family is going to be up in arms if you change their favorite macaroni and cheese, or sweet potato souffle, never fear. We are going to discuss some stealthy ways to add nutrition to traditional dishes. You will be able to sit back with pride as you watch your family devour all those macro and micro nutrients!
Stealth Health Cooking TipChoose the whole wheat option! You can boost the health of holiday meals by opting for many of the whole grain options that are available for bread crumbs, pasta, rice, and other grains. Whole wheat options are higher in fiber than their enriched or processed counterpart.
The extra fiber makes whole wheat a complex carbohydrate meaning that it takes longer to break down in the body. This means that the energy that you get from breaking down these foods will last longer over the day reducing the risk for a dramatic spike in your blood sugar. Plus whole wheat options are EASY to hide from prying eyes! You can easily incorporate them into casseroles and bakes without anyone knowing. Remember to look for the word “whole” when you are shopping!
Holiday Stealth Health Recipe: Rachael Ray's Best Thanksgiving Stuffing
Serving size: ½ cup
Makes 8 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 small McIntosh apples, chopped
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 8 cups whole wheat bread croutons
- 5 cups chicken stock
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Add olive oil and butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted add the bay leaf, celery, onion, apple, salt and pepper, and poultry seasoning. Stir well until combined and cook for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables soften.
- Add parsley and bread crumbs to combine. Stir in chicken stock until all of the bread is moistened, but not soggy. Remove bay leaf.
- Brush a casserole dish with olive oil and add the mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until set and crisp on top.
*You can always add more seasoning like sage and garlic or more fruits and vegetables like dried cranberries or mushrooms! Try substituting whole wheat into your favorite family recipe!