It’s that time of year when many of us are prepping to welcome family and friends into our homes to share a holiday meal. After living the last year and a half in a global pandemic, having festive gatherings again is something to look forward to. However, it’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted supply chains increasing food costs on several items. My 501c3 nonprofit organization, Fare Meals, focuses on equipping families with the resources they need to eat healthy and affordably. I’m a registered dietitian with a young family of my own. I know first-hand how important it is to feed your family nutritious meals. At this time of year, having the ability to partake in flavorful dishes that are fun and affordable is a staple of family life, so below I’m sharing my five tips on how to save money and eat healthy this holiday season.
Save by planning ahead
We have Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve all coming up. Keeping this in mind, try to find recipes and dishes for each occasion that use similar ingredients. We can buy things in bulk to save money. One of my go-to strategies for is to purchase ingredients that are shelf stable. Things like seeds and nuts are great for the holidays. They can be used in all kinds of dishes as toppings for a dessert or in a salads.
Maximizing your holiday leftovers is a good way to prevent food waste. It also saves us money! Leftovers can take us through the weekend or even the week ahead, if used in creative ways. For example, leftover turkey can be used for turkey sandwiches or salads. For a leftover turkey salad try using mayo, celery, and carrot. For leftover sweet potatoes you can convert them into a mash or a pie. The best shelf-life items to use as leftovers are: canned sweet potatoes, nuts, peas, and beans.
Focusing on macro nutrients
Macro Nutrients are made up of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. We’re talking about healthy fats – things like olive oil and avocado. Making sure to get a good balance of macro nutrients is a great way to eat healthy during the holiday season. You can do this by using olive oil in a salad dressing and by putting nuts or seeds into a salad. You could also use avocado oil instead of commonly used canola oil when cooking or baking.
Focus on lean protein
Lean Proteins are generally healthier with less impact on our cholesterol.
Examples of lean protein food: turkey breast (the white meat of the turkey) any kind of chicken, fish (for anybody who doesn’t eat meat). These are great choices during the holiday season.
Make meals colorful
Try different fall foods with different colors. Colorful foods have different minerals and antioxidants. Some colorful foods to turn to during the holiday season are: sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, yellow squash, and eggplant. They’re all great for steaming or roasting. You can get creative with roasting by adding different flavors. While, steaming helps keep the nutrients in the vegetable.
Hopefully, these five simple tips help you plan for a happy holiday season. One big concern many people have this time of year is trying not to over-indulge. There is always time and place for food, but if we’re intentional about eating healthy where we can, we don’t have to feel bad. The holidays, after all, are a time to feel good about ourselves.
Fare Meals will be discussing eating healthy & affordably this holiday season during a free webinar on Tuesday, November 16. Please visit FareMeals.org to register.
Another free webinar is also planned for December 14 focused on kicking 2022 off on the right note. We hope you can join us!
WRITTEN BYArielle Kestenbaum