Holiday season is upon us and we all know there’s nothing traditional about processed foods. But cooking everything from scratch can be tough too. You don’t have to throw in the towel on your health routine just because it’s the holidays or give up your traditional Thanksgiving recipes – and it doesn’t mean you have to make everything from scratch either.
THE ISSUE: So many ingredients used in our Thanksgiving holiday spreads these days are now processed. Not so traditional. Typical holiday meals can now include trans-fatty acids, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and loads of processed sugar. A truly traditional meal doesn’t have to rely on these ingredients and you don’t have to make your entire meal from scratch just to avoid these additives! Easy healthy swaps can be made for almost every beloved traditional dish and ingredient. We’ve come up with a list of ten of our favorite swaps for classic holiday dinners.
Opt for a turkey that was raised without hormones, antibiotics, or arsenic-based drugs. Many groceries now carry free range, heritage birds, and often are held to a higher standard of how they are raised and what they are fed.
Gluten isn’t the only culprit here. Boxed stuffing can be heavily refined and processed, full of surprising ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Choose one that includes neither of these.
Not only are quick bake biscuits filled with processed flours, but contain excess sugars, hydrogenated oils and preservatives as well. You can still choose ones that are ready to go, just watch out for nasty ingredients on the nutrition facts.
You probably do your best to avoid this one already, but it can still sneak up on us in the most surprising of places and is still called for in many recipes. An easy swap is olive oil, safflower or sunflower oil. Look for unrefined, cold-pressed and organic oils.
Whether it’s for baking breads or desserts, there are endless swaps for the traditional highly processed white flour. Opt for stone ground whole wheat or a gluten free blend. Most importantly, make sure it’s organic to steer clear of GMO’s.
We were told to avoid fat and that gave us the oh so processed and hydrogenated vegetable shortening. Now fat is back, and its okay to eat butter every now and again as long as it’s organic and void of rBGH hormones. We can relax a bit with this one and choose the good stuff. If you need a vegan variety, choose coconut oil.
We’ll say it again, there’s no reason to sacrifice health for flavor or the other way around, and also no reason to have to reach for a crust that is full of artificial and processed ingredients. These babies are always better homemade!
It’s generally a bad sign when milk is able to sit on a shelf for years without any change. Although the healthier version is also a shelf-stable one, at least there are no hormones or bpa lining included. Coconut cream is an easy and delicious swap.
This staple glistens with caramelized refined sugars. The easiest swap? Peel, chop and bake some organic yams or sweet potatoes and season with a little natural butter and just the amount of sweetener you desire. Coconut sugar is our pick for sweetening our sweet potatoes. It tastes like caramel, naturally, and is an unrefined and much healthier swap for brown sugar.
CANNED CRANBERRY SAUCE
Or anything canned for that matter, is likely to contain preservatives, a lot of sugar and a BPA lining. Thankfully, many companies have caught on and are revamping their packaging. A classically processed side dish is easily swapped for a healthier version with natural sugars, organic cranberries, water and nothing else – packaged in a box, not a can.
Now use these hints to have a HAPPY and HEALTHY celebration with your loved ones!
Source: The Chalkboard Mag