(BPT) - Decadent meals are often part of celebrations, but for those looking for a healthier holiday, it can feel like you must choose between your nutrition goals and the foods you love.
Swearing off your favorite seasonal foods could make you feel like a Scrooge, but a few simple cooking and entertaining hacks will let you enjoy the treats you love while keeping your health top of mind.
It might seem counterintuitive, but eating before a big meal can be a smart step for healthy living. Try creating a crudité platter with a variety of fresh veggies. If you make dip, swap mayonnaise and sour cream for Greek yogurt, which provides similar flavor and texture without the calories. Fill up on this healthy pre-meal snack and you'll eat less during dinnertime.
Replace half the sugar in baking recipes with Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag, a zero calorie sweetener made with extracts from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant. By keeping half of the regular sugar, you still achieve the proper browning, rising and caramelizing only sugar can provide, but the swap allows you to cut calories without sacrificing sweetness. In fact, up to 700 calories are saved for every cup of sugar that is swapped out. Baking with Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag is a simple hack for baking any time of year, as it is formulated so that 1 cup has the same sweetness as 1 cup of sugar — so no conversion is needed.
Gravy is a staple at holiday feasts, but it's also heavy in calories and fat. If you're making homemade gravy, try putting it into the refrigerator before serving. As gravy chills, the fat collects at the top and you can skim it off before rewarming and serving to guests. When eating, resist the urge to dump gravy over everything on your plate. A light drizzle on potatoes and meat provides plenty of flavor.
One of the simplest healthy entertaining tricks has nothing to do with food and more to do with psychology. Whether you use a big or small plate, people tend to fill the whole thing up. So instead of those grand China dishes, use moderately sized plates and you'll likely end up eating less. Your eyes will see a full plate and your belly will be satisfied.
Have you been tasked with creating a holiday dessert, but want a healthier option that will still please everyone's sweet tooth? Be inspired by this recipe that features two classic holiday flavors: chocolate and peppermint.
9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon Sugar In The Raw
1 tablespoon Stevia In The Raw
12 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Sugar In The Raw
3/4 cup Stevia In The Raw
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Sugar In The Raw
1 teaspoon Stevia In The Raw
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round springform pan with removable bottom and sides. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse chocolate cookies until fine. Transfer to a bowl and stir in melted butter, Sugar In The Raw and Stevia In The Raw until well combined. Press mixture into bottom and up the sides of pan. Bake crust until firm, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
In a medium bowl, add chocolate and butter. In a small saucepan bring cream, Sugar In The Raw and Stevia In The Raw to a boil, whisking constantly until Sugar In The Raw and Stevia In The Raw are completely dissolved. Pour cream over the chocolate and butter and whisk until chocolate has melted. Stir in peppermint and pour into crust. Chill at least one hour.
In a large bowl beat cream, Sugar In The Raw and Stevia In The Raw on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve tart.
Slice tart, top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.