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Upgrade Traditional Family Holiday Recipes with Healthy Substitutions

By Kendra Thiel from Adventures of the Headless Family

One of the great pleasures of the holiday season is the family recipes that are passed from generation to generation. The tastes of the holidays bring back warm memories of simpler times spent with our favorite people. My grandmother was a spectacular cook and many of my childhood memories are centered around her dining room table. Most of those recipes, though, don’t take into account our more modern need to watch our calories, fat content, and carb counts.

If you’re a Biggest Loser fan like I am, one of the biggest take-aways from the show is “How do I eat healthier, without sacrificing the taste that I crave?” Modifying your existing holiday recipes is a perfect way to get the best of both worlds.

My grandmother’s recipe for Squash Casserole is the perfect example. With just a few substitutions and modifications I have dropped the calorie count significantly and preserved all of the yummy memories of my youth.


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Infuse Your Favorite Fall Recipes with Seasonal Vegetables

Fall weather typically means cooler temperatures and heartier meals. However, eating heartier doesn’t have to mean you are eating foods that are unhealthy. You can easily use seasonal vegetables that are available this fall to add flavor and nutrition to your traditional fall recipes.

Vegetables that are available during the fall season include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, potatoes and turnips. For fruits, be on the look out for apples, dates, pears, kiwi and tangerines. Simply putting some of these items on your grocery list can help inspire you to infuse them into your meals. Since these items are at their peak during the fall season, you can get them at a good price and while they are at their freshest.

Below are a few ideas that incorporate seasonal produce with your everyday fall favorites.


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A Guide to Healthy Fall and Winter Squash

During the spring and summer, a lot of the produce at the farmers market is familiar: fresh tomatoes, bright yellow ears of sweet local corn and bell peppers so large they’re nearly unidentifiable.

When autumn rolls around, it’s not hard to spot familiar apples and pumpkins, but you might find yourself overwhelmed with the variety of squash that suddenly fills the produce stands.

To keep you from falling victim to any winter squash conundrums, we’ve pulled together a guide of some of the most common, and some of the lesser known, types of winter squash you might come across this season.


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How to Grill Perfect Vegetables

Either as a side dish or the main event, grilled vegetables are a fresh, healthy way to celebrate the summer season.

Not only is it important to eat more vegetables as part of a healthy diet, but if you’re eating more vegetables, chances are you’re eliminating higher-fat foods in favor of colorful, plant-based foods.

Opt for Veggies that Grill Well

Just like meats, different types of vegetables stand up to heat differently. Eggplant, summer squash, button mushrooms, peppers, corn on the cob and onions are all excellent on the grill. To serve them in a more creative way, opt for kabobs or a grilled vegetable salad.


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Fall Veggies for Your Healthy Thanksgiving Table

We all know of Thanksgiving as a day of gluttony. I mean, a day of giving thanks for the people we love. Yes, that’s it. But in between bouts of gratitude, there is usually a large, figure-unfriendly meal involved with the national holiday.

Thanksgiving also kicks off the winter holiday season, which can be a season of sweets, treats and indulgences. To keep yourself from ditching your diet plan on Day 1 of the holiday season, make sure there are plenty of vegetables to go around on your Thanksgiving table.

Brussels Sprouts: The tiny green orbs might have a reputation for being less than favorable, but they also deliver a sweet, nutty flavor that is hard not to like. Shred the fiber-rich veggies into a salad with apples and raisins – the sweet fruit elicits the natural flavor of the sprouts. Toss them in your favorite vinaigrette and you have one side dish ready to go without even using the oven.
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