During the holidays we are often tempted by mouth-watering meals, many including our favorite childhood foods. Unfortunately, many of these dishes are not the healthiest for us. Instead of overindulging on these questionable foods, and then feeling terrible about it, improve them. The Sheboygan Press printed my healthy eating tips, such as swapping your cooking oil for Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. Try these to have a have a more guilt-free holiday meal.
- Season dishes with healthy herbs and condiments. Whenever possible, season your dishes with fresh herbs. They provide flavor and nutrients without added salt or calories. Consider making dishes spicier than usual. Many people find it difficult to overindulge in zesty foods.
- Buy a turkey that is 100 percent bird. Consider ordering an organic, pasture-raised turkey from a local farmer. Most store-bought frozen turkeys have been injected with up to a 12 percent solution containing sugar, salt and flavorings. These birds are often labeled as ‘basted’, ‘marinated’ or ‘injected’. Additives are not allowed on fresh turkeys.
- Use a healthier cooking oil. Many common cooking oils begin to break down into dangerous chemicals at high temperatures. This may give your food a burnt or bitter flavor. Consider using Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. It is stable at high temperatures, naturally trans fat-free and a rich source of vitamin E tocotrienols.
- Find an alternative to boxed stuffing. Your traditional stuffing may contain partially hydrogenated oils, a primary source of harmful trans fats. My cornbread and sausage stuffing is easy to make and contains whole, sustainable ingredients.
- Avoid canned breads. Many people associate those canned crescent rolls with the holidays. Unfortunately, many refrigerated bread products contain trans fats and diglycerides. A healthier alternative is homemade drop biscuits.
- Steer away from powdered gravy. Instead of using gravy packets or the jarred chemical soup, prepare your own gravy by whisking a few tablespoons of flour into the turkey drippings. Packaged gravy often contains fillers, and artificial colors and flavors.
Chef Gerard Viverito, is an culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. He is also operator of Saveur Fine Catering.