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It’s common to eat more than we should during the holidays. Something about this time of year just seems to make us crave everything. The good thing about living a natural lifestyle is that the quality of the food we eat keeps us feeling full longer. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we are immune to traditional Christmas dishes and treats. That’s why I want to share some ideas with you of how you can stay on track and still have some delicious meals that are just a bit more nutritious, healthy. That way you can keep that Christmas spirit while still maintaining a lot of flavor in everything you make.
Add a little Tumeric:
Turmeric is a very powerful root in nutritional terms. It works well as an anti-inflammatory and is as effective as any drug at the pharmacy. It is also loaded with antioxidants that help to protect the liver, and has antimicrobial properties and is good for brain health. Turmeric is very easy to add into our daily diets. We can do this simply by including it in a smoothie, (for example, orange, pineapple, and mango) or by adding it to some of our favorite vegetable creams and soups. It doesn’t change the flavor too much and it will give you that extra boost of nutrients.
Try natural sugars, but in moderation:
Refined sugar is the number one enemy to a healthy natural diet. Although naturally occurring sugars are permitted, ideally we should minimize how much we consume and get ourselves use to eating less and less of it. Even though honey is natural, and has health benefits, it is also still a sugar. Which is why it should be eaten sparingly. Below are four natural sugars which you can experiment with in small quantities:
- Raw honey: Raw honey is great, it is rich in natural enzymes, it is antibacterial, and it has amino acids and other important properties. When eaten raw it keeps all those vitamins and minerals. Whereas, when it’s heated it will lose them.
- Maple Syrup: has much less sugar than honey, is rich in antioxidants, calcium, and iron. It is also one of the best ingredients when preparing desserts because it mixes easily and blends well leaving a very pleasant taste.
- Coconut Sugar or syrup: being derived from coconut they have a lower glycemic index than the others while at the same time contain many important minerals.
- Dates or Date Syrup: rich in fiber, potassium, and B vitamins helps increase energy levels and decrease stress levels in the body.
Season with more fresh herbs and less salt:
Fresh herbs and roots complement the flavor of our dishes with real flavors. Herbs such as thyme, dill, oregano, turmeric, coriander, parsley, ginger, and basil all have properties that help detoxify the body while at the same time greatly enhance flavors. Get them fresh and keep them in a glass jar to help them last longer.
Introduce more vegetables and nuts in your recipes:
Usually, when we prepare a roast we accompany it with a side of potatoes. Serve this typical December dish of milk-fed roasted lamb with some original vegetable and nut-based side dishes that will be sure to surprise your guests:
- Cauliflower rice or Mashed Cauliflower: Who would have thought that this vegetable could have so many uses. Use it to make rice to go with any protein dish, or substitute those mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower instead.
- Almond bread or cookies: Ground almond is like any flour, it is used a lot as a substitute for wheat flour in cakes, cookies, and breads. Not only does it taste good, but it also provides us with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
- Sweet Potato: Use it to make sweet potato puree, rösti ( a swiss dish), or add chunks of it to stews or in vegetable soups. They are a good source of very powerful antioxidants which is why it has that bright orange color. Additionally, they are packed with fiber and help keep us feeling full at every meal.
Invest in quality fats- both for eating and cooking:
Cheap cooking and salad oils typically found at the grocery store are low-quality ones. They spoil quickly and burn easily thus releasing free radicals that harm us in the long term. Choose your fats according to how you plan to cook, if you’re going to fry or sauté something at a high-temperature coconut oil would be your best option. For cooking over medium heat or in the oven use organic butter from grass-fed cows. In addition to giving you a great flavor, it will also provide you with nutrients and healthy fats which should be included in your diet. Lastly, invest in good olive oil, one which you can just pour directly over your salads and other foods as a dressing.
As you can see, making healthier and more natural holiday meals can be very simple using these easy strategies. All you have to do is substitute some ingredients and enhance their natural flavor with your own personal touch. What are your thoughts on these tips? Tell us in the comments below how you plan to incorporate these strategies into your holiday meals.