It's hard to eat healthy during the holidays. You're surrounded by more food than you could ever need, most of it full of salt and sugar, and there's always that one aunt who insists you eat her fruitcake even though just looking at it makes you lose your appetite.
But not all hope is lost. There are ways to still indulge in delicious holiday dishes without compromising healthy eating habits.
We asked several dietitians to share their favorite healthy holiday mealtime tips for some #foodinspo — plus tips for how to honor your holiday traditions while still keeping health in mind.
The first healthy holiday dish that always comes to mind for dietitian Michael Lynch, who sees patients at Valley Medical Center, is also a simple one: roasted veggies.
“They’re so good and healthy, and roasted root vegetables really help you celebrate the season,” he says.
Root veggies include potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions and more. For potatoes, Lynch likes using red or Yukon gold potatoes for extra flavor. He also likes to roast potatoes (with the peels on) then mash them for delicious homemade mashed potatoes.
“Potatoes are one of the best sources of potassium, and a lot of it is in the peel,” Lynch says.
Roasting is pretty easy: all you need is some oil and spices.
For dietitian Judy Simon, who sees patients at University of Washington Medical Center-Roosevelt, some of her favorite veggies to roast are sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.
If you have a sweet tooth, forgoing dessert entirely during the holidays is pretty much impossible. But you can limit your sugar intake by making your own dessert instead of buying something from the store.
Homemade desserts will likely have less sugar and fat because you can control how much you put in, Simon says.
She likes to make a homemade pie or two during the holiday season. And she makes everything from scratch — even the whipped cream.
“Growing up, my aunt always made pies. She had a step ladder, and each kid would take turns beating the heavy cream. It’s a good memory,” she says.
For Lynch, homemade desserts and other foods are a critical part of making sure food is delicious but still nutritious, especially since he has type 1 diabetes and has to make sure he sticks to a healthy diet — even during the holidays.
He especially likes to make homemade pumpkin pie — using whole pumpkins, not the canned stuff.