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Healthy & Delicious Holiday Dishes

Healthy and Delicious Holiday Dishes

Christmas and New Year’s are days for fun, healthy, and delicious holiday dishes and treats.

The best way to beat the holiday blahs that come from overeating and drinking is to change to new dishes that boost your energy for a good time.

Some tips:

Reduce your stress. If you are cooking or entertaining, keep it simple and prepare in advance. Christmas is celebrated over two weeks in most church calendars. So don’t stress out about getting everything done on the 24th and the 25th. Spread out the gifts and parties. If you are feeling pressured, cut back. It is supposed to be a time of celebration not a grind.

If you are upset or depressed — and many people are at this time of year — be sure to get some help and try to do things that make you feel better. Sometimes we make too much of the holidays. Everything is supposed to be perfect. Family problems are solved in an hour on TV shows. Be realistic. If you have lost your job, have financial or health problems, or lost a loved one, something would be wrong if you didn’t feel down, frustrated, and grieving. Christmas, even for non-believers, is a story about faith, hope, and love. It is about spiraling upward, about the return of the sun. Don’t spiral downward. Be sure to get professional help. If you are feeling good, try to be a good listener. You don’t need to solve other people’s problems and they don’t need advice as much as they need someone to be there for them.

Alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana will not solve your problems or make Uncle Harry any more tolerable. Be sure to set boundaries for yourself and be clear in communicating your feelings to others who may be pressuring you to attend a family or social event.

Serve limited amounts of hard liquor, mixed drinks, and cocktails. Focus on a couple of special wines or sparkling cider. Make sure your guests have plenty of water before, during, and after they drink alcoholic beverages.

Dial back the drama. Be cordial and welcoming without being phony. Christmas miracles can happen when you forgive others and let go of the past. People will see it in your happiness, comfort, and smile.

Make sure that there are plenty of good snacks, water, and juices. Set out platters of fresh fruit and cheese.

Hide all of the heavy sugar fudges, candies, and cookies. Put out fresh baked or brown and serve whole grain breads and rolls. Focus on vegetarian dishes, fish, poultry, and lean cuts of meat.

Plan some outdoor activities, if possible. If you can’t get out make sure there are some fun games and puzzles. Make reservations for a bowling party or indoor miniature golf.  For the sports crowd, focus on sports trivia games. Play stretching and flexibility games. If you have a video game system that allows you to play golf or other non-sedentary games, set it up in a place where everyone can use it or at least learn how to use it. Keep it light. Don’t push people into doing things.

Too Much Heavy Stuff?

I thought this post was supposed to be about healthy and delicious holiday dishes. How come you’re dealing with all of this heavy stuff?

Well, as your friendly neighborhood anthropologist will tell you, holiday gatherings in American culture — and most cultures — are ceremonial and ritual occasions. They are part of religion and the secular religion of non-believers. These celebrations are a model for our relationships and a model of our relationships which follow social patterns.

Changing to healthier recipes means changing customs — those patterned relationships. But our habits and expectations will push back against these healthy changes because we will have to shift to healthier relationships. Many people have tons of recipe books. Most people know what they should do to make their food healthier. So why don’t we change? Unfortunately, it is often less scary to stay in painful and destructive situations than to open the door to a better life.

Whether you are religious or not, food is about coming together — about nourishing each other. So enjoy the holidays and be mindful that a better world begins at your table.

Happy Holidays from Advanced Surgical Associates!