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How to Prepare the Ideal and Healthy Holiday Meal

We are certainly giving a lot of love during the holidays. We love to hang out with family and friends. We love to give and receive gifts. We love to have parties and have fun. And, we also love to eat holiday food.

Holiday food is actually good because it satisfies our cravings and creates an opportunity for us to bond with family, co-workers and friends. However, holiday food can also bring about excess calories, high blood cholesterol levels and allergies! This is why after Christmas, a lot of people suffer from high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, asthma and heart problems. This is not a good way to end Christmas!

Thus the search for the perfect holiday meal is on.

So, what is the perfect holiday meal according to experts? Based on our readings, here are some tips:

Appetizers

The ideal appetizer should be healthy and should contain vegetables and dips. The ideal holiday dip should not contain fat. Plain non-fat yogurt, fresh lime or a yummy salsa dip are some good choices. You can use these dips with raw vegetables and they will taste good. Olives are also good appetizers, since they contain healthy fats that boost heart health.

Want a quick fix? You can try some of these:

  • Green salad made up of lettuce leaves, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. The dressing is made of vinegar, salt, fish sauce, ground pepper and sugar
  • Seaweed salad, otherwise known as “lato” with seaweed, tomatoes, and onions. the dressing is made of vinegar, salt, sugar and ground black pepper
  • Green mango salad composed of cubed green mangoes, tomatoes, onions, calamansi or lime juice and shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
  • Avocado shrimp salad made up of ripe avocados, shrimp, garlic powder, sour cream, calamansi or lime juice, salt and chives for garnishing
  • Eggplant salad composed of grilled eggplant cut into pieces, tomatoes, onions, sugar, salt, ground pepper and shrimp paste

Main Course

For the main meal, you can have roasted chicken with herbs. You can also have a side dish such as a creamy broccoli and cauliflower gratin with olive oil, wheat bread crumbs and low fat milk. Or you can also have chicken or fish with vegetables.

Dessert

For dessert, choose the ones that are light and easy. Some top choices include

  • Blueberry yogurt
  • Cassava cake
  • Yam (Ube) balls
  • Banana cake with walnuts
  • Squash pie
  • Banana in dumpling wrappers (Saging turon)
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Pineapple pie
  • Apple pie
  • Mango pie

Some Tips

Here are additional tips on how to have healthier meals

  • Whenever you’re using fruit sauces, jams and jellies, prepare them from fresh fruits.
  • Mashed potatoes can be combined with low fat milk or low fat cream. You can also add roasted garlic to boost flavour.
  • You can add honey instead of white sugar in desserts
  • Before attending dinner parties, eat a light snack at home to avoid overeating
  • Eat slowly while interacting with friends and family
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Opt for fruit wines or red wines instead
  • If you like sweets, eat vegetables first before eating the main course, so that you won’t overindulge in desserts later on

Christmas is a season for love and sharing food with friends and family. Don’t forget that the ideal holiday meal is actually the meal that can make one happy and relaxed! Merry Christmas!

– Medical Observer

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