by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD Director of Community Outreach, CHEF
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and for most of us, the busiest! Between office parties, family events, and social gatherings, there are plenty of opportunities to put our healthy eating habits to the test. If you’re wondering how to navigate your way through the holiday season, while still prioritizing your health goals, we’re here to help!
Incorporate our tips into your routine and you can enjoy the holidays while staying on track.
Add more veggies! Mushrooms, beans, and onions make great additions to just about any dish. Not only do they add valuable vitamins and minerals to your recipe, but they also add heart-healthy fiber!
Try oven fried chicken instead of deep fried. Oven fried chicken can be just as tasty and so much healthier! Start by dredging boneless, skinless chicken breast in a mix of bread crumbs, a pinch of pepper, and 2 teaspoons of paprika. Bake the chicken at 400°F for 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165°
Add flavor without adding salt! Use herbs, spices, garlic, onions, and peppers to enhance your food.
Use less cheese by cooking with bold cheeses such as sharp cheddar, goat cheese, or parmigiano-reggiano for more flavor with less fat!
Sometimes it’s not what you take out, but what you add in to make a recipe healthier. Add more Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet by substituting fish for chicken or by adding heart healthy oils, nuts, and seeds to your recipe.
Use whole grain flour for baking. When eaten regularly, whole grains can lessen your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Skip the fat! Choose low-fat options. Substitute yogurt when a recipe calls for sour cream, mayo, or cream cheese for more protein with less fat.
Try making a recipe meatless. Add nuts, beans, tofu, or a protein-rich grain like quinoa instead.
Use healthy oils such as olive oil, canola oil, or soybean oil instead of solid fats like butter that are much higher in saturated fat.
Enjoy in moderation. Sometimes there is just no substitute for that delicious pie! So instead of eating a huge slice with regular whipped cream, eat a smaller slice or share with a friend.
For more healthy eating inspiration, check out our recipes here!
If you’re stuck at home, looking for something to do, now’s the perfect time to give your kitchen a CHEF-Approved makeover! Cleaning out a cluttered pantry will not only help you stay organized but also more likely to use the ingredients you already have on hand. Stocking up on healthy staples will mean your family is more likely to make nutritious choices.
After a long day, opening the door to a messy pantry doesn’t provide any encouragement to cook a healthy meal.
Preparing a healthy meal starts with an organized pantry, full of healthy ingredients. Being able to see which ingredients you have, can help cut down on food waste. The First In – First Out (FIFO) method is a great way to organize your pantry in order of which food you purchased first. After returning from the grocery store, simply move existing ingredients to the front of the shelf and add your new items to the back of the shelf. This process will help eliminate food from reaching its expiration date, saving you money!
Here are 7 easy steps to organize your pantry:
Declutter! Go through your pantry and toss out food that has expired.
Clean it up! Wipe down your pantry shelves to clean up any dust, dirt, or food crumbs to keep your food safe from germs.
Group similar foods. Organize the food in your pantry by food group so that your ingredients are easy to find. Be sure to place healthier foods on shelves at eye level to encourage you to cook healthy meals more often.
Arrange foods based on their expiration date. Practice First In, First Out to prevent food waste and save money.
Shop your house for pantry organizers. Before you spend lots of money on pantry organizers, search your house for unused baskets, shoe boxes, and other storage containers that can help you organize your pantry for free.
Optional: Purchase pantry organizers. No need to splurge on pricey pantry organizers. Simply shop around to find a few airtight containers to help extend the life of your food. I purchased a can rack, and I don’t know how I ever lived without one!
Label it: Use labels to help keep each shelf organized and to identify foods in airtight containers. Be sure to write the expiration date on the label for items you remove from their original packaging.
Are you wondering which foods should go in the pantry instead of the fridge? Check out this helpful guide from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics:
The culinary nutrition education program of the San Antonio Food Bank