Columnist offers healthy alternatives for season favorites

By Blake Dykes

For people that are on diets, this is the season that it usually goes downhill. It’s hard going to family gatherings and holiday parties while resisting the yummy foods. Not only are these foods great looking, but they are usually only prepared during the Holiday season. But you don’t have to fast on the day of Thanksgiving or Christmas. Instead you can chose some healthier alternatives with similar flavor.

Stuffing vs. wild rice
Even though stuffing is well loved by most people, it’s incredibly high in fat with all of the butter in it. Something that can be used as a substitute is wild rice. Wild rice is gluten free, high in fiber and helps lower cholesterol. It may not taste quite as good, it still has that savory taste and little kick to it.

Mashed potatoes vs. potato gnocchi
Potatoes are not bad in moderation, but once a stick or two of butter gets added, it becomes unhealthy. A healthier alternative is potato gnocchi, which is a potato form of a dumpling. Gnocchi is much lower in fat and can be served multiple ways such as; covered in a tomato sauce, in soup, or plain. Gnocchi still has similar texture, you just don’t have to feel guilty after eating them.

Whole turkey vs. turkey breast
Turkey is high in protein and a lean meat. That is however, if it is prepared properly and you eat the right parts of the bird. Turkey breast is much more lower in fat, any time you have a dark meat and a white meat option, the white meat is always the better choice. It’s also crucial that you avoid the skin! The skin of turkey is loaded in calories.You can make a nutritional turkey by smearing the outside of it with a little bit of olive oil and stuff the cavity with an apple, orange and or onion.

Pumpkin pie vs. pumpkin muffins
Pumpkin pie is a favorite amongst Christmas and Thanksgiving, however, it can be loaded in sugar and calories. Something much more healthy with similar taste is pumpkin bread/muffins. Not only do they contain less sugar, but they also don’t have that buttery crust. For the recipe I use, click here
Candied yams vs. sweet potato fries
Now I’m not talking about the fried sweet potatoes, but the baked sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes have many health benefits such as: they help prevent cancer, heart disease, they are fat free, and can help cure asthma and arthritis. The main reason potato fries are a better option is because of the sugar content. With all of the marshmallows and brown sugar in them, they are basically a dessert. Sweet potato fries can be made by simply chopping up some sweet potatoes in fry form. Then sprinkle them in olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. After that just bake until crunchy! This way you still have that sweet tang!

These holidays only come around once a year, so it’s okay to pick one of the foods you love and binge on that. But if you want to maintain your diet, then these are all great recipes to follow!

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