Lunchbreak: Healthy holiday food swap ideas from Dawn Jackson Blatner

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Dawn Jackson Blatner

Holiday Food Swaps

Swap half of the meat for cooked lentils in meatball recipe
Why: Lentils add plant protein and fiber.
How to: Use your favorite meatball recipe and swap HALF beef for the same amount of cooked lentils.
Time saver: Buy pre-cooked lentils sold in a box in the produce section of many grocery stores.

Swap white processed bread croutons for roasted potato "croutons"
Why: Potatoes are naturally white & contain potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
How to: Pre-heat oven to 425F. Cut white potatoes (with skin on) into small crouton-sized cubes. Toss in extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & pepper, place directly on baking sheet, and bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once, until golden & crisp. Add on top of your favorite salad.
Salad tip: Try this combo for your next holiday salad, toss spinach + shaved brussels sprouts + pomegranate seeds + pecans.

Main course:
Swap traditional noodles for butternut squash slices
Why: Squash has less calories and more nutrition than white lasagna noodles.
How to: Use your favorite lasagna recipe & swap HALF the lasagna noodles with ¼ inch slices of raw butternut squash.
Time saver: Use a mandolin to make the slices thin and even.

Swap butter/oil and salt for NAKANO – original seasoned rice vinegar - on mashed potatoes and/or stuffing
Why: Vinegar brightens the flavor of side dishes so you need less butter, oil, salt, and gravy. I use Nakano brand seasoned rice vinegar because of their clean label initiative – simple ingredient list with no artificial flavors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. You can buy it nationwide, and locally at Jewel Osco and Mejier.
How to: Just drizzle seasoned rice vinegar on finished/hot side dishes.

Swap traditional eggnog for golden milk.
Why: Traditional egg nog is loaded with white sugar and has 250 calories or more per cup. This golden milk swap has less than 100 calories and no white sugar (honey instead).
How to: Heat 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in a mason jar. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric +1 teaspoon honey + 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon + pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake to get it mixed and frothy. Drink as is or add your favorite rum or whiskey.
Don’t drink Eggnog? Try “Winter Sangria”: Brew herbal apple cinnamon tea (1 tea bag for every 8 ounces of hot water) and let chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Add chopped up apples pieces & oranges to float in it before serving. Drink as is or add white or red wine.

Swap traditional fudge for no sugar “freezer” fudge
Why: The no-sugar fudge has similar calories to regular stuff (120 for small 1” piece), but has no sugar and is more filling because of the protein in nuts.
How to: Mix 1 cup almond or peanut butter + 4 Tablespoons melted coconut oil + pinch of sea salt. Pour in parchment-paper lined 8x4 loaf pan. Sprinkle unsweetened cocoa on top and freeze for at least 1 hour. Cut into 16 small pieces and serve. NOTE: Keep in freezer. It’s called “freezer fudge” because it melts if it’s out of the freezer too long.



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