The holiday season is amongst us, which includes an ample dose of delicious celebratory foods and drinks. It can be hard to pass up egg nog, creamy dips, latkes, or any holiday food. And as a number one fan of my mother’s sugar cookies, I wouldn’t ask anyone to give up their indulgent holiday favorite.
However, several days ago, I contributed to a healthy holiday potluck gathering with fellow HealthCorps’ corps members. The spread of “healthified” and inexpensive options varied from creative appetizers to desserts and reaffirmed the notion that healthy holiday treats can extend beyond an entire table of carrots and yogurt dip. I’ve chosen several inexpensive, healthier, and delicious recipes to incorporate into your regular holiday fare this year. Follow the recipes to a “T” or create your own versions.
Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes and Guacamole
- 1 large sweet potato or yam, cooked and peeled
- 1 large carrot, peeled and very thinly grated
- ½ Jalapeno pepper, minced
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium onion, minced
- Fine bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small container of Guacamole
Combine all ingredients, except bread crumbs and butter. Mix well.
Pour out a small, but thick layer of bread crumbs on a plate or cutting board. Place about ¼ cup of mixture on bread crumbs, shaping into a circle or oval patty as you do so. Generously coat top of patty with more crumbs.
Repeat step 2 until all mixture is used.
Heat 1½ tablespoons of butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat.
Cook patties in two batches. With spatula transfer coated patties to hot skillet (you may need to reshape patties at this time). Deeply brown patties on both sides.
Transfer patties to a paper towel to drain. Place a spoonful of guacamole on top. Serve hot.
White Bean Dip
- 2 (14 oz.) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Parmesaen cheese, to taste
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
By hand: mash beans, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice until fairly smooth. Fold in parmasean cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with red cherry tomatoes or red peppers, and green vegetables —broccoli, green pepper, celery — skewers.
Homemade Applesauce with Vanilla Ice Cream
- 6 Apples
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Nutmeg, to taste
- 1 cup Water
- 1 small carton vanilla ice cream
Peel and core apples. Cut apples into large chunks. Place apples and 1 cup of water into a medium pot. Bring apples to a boil over high heat, stirring often.
Turn heat to medium and simmer the apples for 30 minutes or until the apples are very soft. Stir often. The applesauce may be left lumpy or mashed with a fork to become smoother. Serve warm with a spoonful of ice cream on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Chocolate Peppermint Smoothies
- 6 cups fat free or skim chocolate milk
- 1 4-serving size pkg. instant fat-free chocolate or vanilla pudding mix
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Miniature Peppermint sticks
In a blender container combine half of the chocolate fat free skim milk and the pudding mix. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into a pitcher. Stir in remaining chocolate milk and peppermint extract. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To serve, stir mixture, pour into glasses. Garnish each serving with a peppermint stick.
Eating well and taking care of your body is even more important during the holiday season since it is also the high season for colds and flu. Take some time to not only enjoy your favorite holiday treats but exercise, de-stress, and sleep well. You deserve it.