The holiday season has just begun. The 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is perhaps the most eagerly awaited period of the year. This is the time for family, friends, gatherings, fun, and frolic. The kids are full of zest, but unfortunately, moms tend to go in the opposite direction – stressed out and tired. They’re just pulled in every direction imaginable and stretched thin in each.
An added worry amidst the joy and celebration is the effect of the holidays on the family’s health. After all, the average weight gain during this period is 13 oz, and already overweight people gain as much as 5 lb. Do note that the survey was done in 2000 – the addition to your waistline is likely to be greater these days!
That’s why we’ve given you 5 simple ways to make your home-cooked meals healthier. Armed with this you’ll be cooking delicious and healthy meals even during ‘weight gain’ season. Let’s get started!
5 Smart Steps to Healthier Home-Cooked Meals
Try Instant Pot
Instant Pot is a great way for anyone and everyone to cook top-notch healthy and delicious meals in a flash.
What cannot be debated is the fact that Instant Pot maintains more nutritional value per meal cooked than any other conventional method of cooking. This means you don’t lose precious vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or flavor that is normally lost during traditional oven, stove, or slow cooking.
Not only that, the Instant Pot helps you spend less time in the kitchen by minimizing prep-time and supercharging cooking times. You must try this recipe – instant pot cod. Substitute the butter with a healthy oil of your choice to make it even lighter.
Seasonal vegetables are a great way to build immunity and improve digestion and vigor as we move into the winter months. From adding kale to spinach or carrots to broccoli depending on your recipe, you’ll not only taste the difference but feel it too. Do try the Low-Carb Eggplant Roll-Ups – so delicious, you wouldn’t believe it’s also good for you!
Fresh meat is the single best way to up your protein count and limit the amount of carbs taken onboard among the cakes, pies, and gallons of hot chocolate.
You also can’t beat a bunch of dark leafy greens on the side of your plate to boost antioxidant and nutrient count per meal. In addition, you can supplement your fresh food with a healthy dose of yoga or exercising your mind, body, and spirit to really feel a difference.
Use Healthy Oils
Ever wonder why you can’t eat another bite at your favorite restaurant or why you’re guzzling on sugary drinks after meals?
It’s because restaurants typically use butter, vegetable oil, and a ton of salt to cook with. You can however take your meals to the next level but remain healthy by using olive or coconut oil.
Oils from sunflower seeds, canola, palm, and corn seeds are best avoided. Olive and Coconut oil helps fight inflammation. In addition, they give you the vital antioxidants as well as the cardiovascular and brain support you need to cope with not only the physical effects of constantly harrying around but the mental effects too.
Watch That Garnish
Store-bought chicken, beef, or vegetable stock is a big no-no. Why?
Well, the store-bought stock is loaded with sugar and salt that increases blood pressure as well as dehydration, not to mention any number of other nasty side effects.
A top tip is to garnish salads with freshly grated lemon zest for a great vitamin C and immunity boost. Using fresh herbs such as basil and oregano can not only make dishes taste better, but also boost detoxification and aid with digestive tract health too.
Hummus, garnished with herbs of your choice is perhaps the healthiest side to dip into. You can also add variety to the dish, like a Roasted Beetroot Hummus.
Eat Good Fats and Lots of Fiber
Fats can be good and bad. Sounds confusing, right?
What most people don’t realize is, that fats are a vital component of a healthy diet. Good sources of fat include olives, coconuts, eggs, nuts, and seeds. They’re not only great for a healthy balanced diet but they have great anti-inflammatory benefits too. The key is to consume them in moderation.
Fresh fish is also packed with omega-3 which is great for heart and brain health. Using organic meat also helps you avoid ingesting nasty growth hormones and antibiotics used in cattle feed.
Keeping fiber high should also be a priority. A great recipe for achieving this is by making a lovely strawberry greek yogurt dessert as opposed to other dairy options.
It’s vital to review each meal you cook during the holiday period. While it’s okay to indulge once in a while, ensure that you balance it out with healthy meals too.
What’s more, don’t let the busyness affect your mental and physical health. That’s why it’s also vital to make sure that you get the exercise, and mental health right, alongside the dietary stuff.
Spending more time in the kitchen should be fun and we’ve given you lots of great tips and tricks on how to keep meals healthy and exciting while being easy to cook and prep. You’ll start to feel the difference straight away!