The holidays are a time to indulge in lavish traditional foods. It may be a bit of a challenge to stick with a low calorie eating plan when you are faced with such tempting treats and nibbles at every turn you make! While every culture certainly has their own high calorie high fat holidays foods, every culture also has at least a few favorite items that can be enjoyed without too much guilt! So, the trick to enjoying food over the holidays without overindulging is to enjoy a bit of those high calorie items (dipped chocolates, fried desserts?) so as to not deny yourself the pleasure, but then to indulge a little more in those traditional foods that won't completely blow you diet. Here's a few items from all around the world that you can enjoy over the holidays without too much guilt.
The main course can really shine on the British holiday table for those watching their calorie intake. Roast goose is quite popular are the main Christmas dish. While wild goose may not be as low in calorie as say, roast turkey, by removing the skin you can still enjoy a heart portion and know that you are eating a nice protein rich meal. Pair it together with the popular dish of roast potatoes or parsnips for a hearty meal.
You can also feel good about indulging in a little smoked salmon, also popular around the holidays. Just be sure to go easy on the mayonnaise type sauce served with the salmon.
If you are watching your weight around the holidays, Eastern Europe may be a great place for you to be! Many traditional dishes involve lots and lots of vegetables, and oftentimes not a lot of meat it the family is practicing advent. Several vegetable stews and soups such as borshch, Ragu iz Ovoshej, and Sukhoĭ Gribnoĭ Sup are just loaded with not much else but vegetables, a dieters friend. Another dish to consider is kutya, which is a mixture of wheat berries, nuts and fruits all of which are very heart healthy. Go easy on the cream or half and half with this one.
Greek food can be very good for your heart with lots of healthy olive oil and vegetables. While olive oil certainly adds calories just like any other type of fat would, it is the heart healthy kind. Don't overindulge, but don't feel too bad about eating a bit of olive oil either. A few great choices here include the cabbage salad lahanosalata, keftethes or meatballs made with lean beef, and Riganatha, or Greek bruschetta.
Maybe you have heard of ratatouille! If you haven't, you should give it a try. It is a popular dish in France around the holidays. Ingredients include eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, colored bell peppers, basil, parsley, and zucchini and other than seasonings, not much else. This list of vegetables is most certainly popular with the low calorie dieter. Indulge in ratatouille! Other good choices include pureed white beans with vegetables, roast beets, brandied goose, and halibut provencal.
Mexican holidays are filled with feasting on delicious foods that have been prepared for hours and hours. Tamales are an especially popular item when there is something to celebrate, but they aren't especially friendly to the dieter with their savory meat fillings and lard and massa breading. So certainly limit youself when it comes to tamales, but don't forget to enjoy a few other favorite that aren't so hard on the waistline like atole or posole made with lean pork.
The holidays in the Dutch culture have no shortage of sweet and fried breads and indulgent desserts. And in fact, treats popular here during the holiday are drawn from more than one event. There is the two day celebration or Christmas, but then there is also the celebration occuring early in December called Sinterklass where children look forward to gifts and goodies. During the month, look for kerststol or Christmas bread, or a lean rolled pork loin with brandies raisins to keep calories in check.
Cookies, cakes, and chocolates abound in the United States during the holiday season. And don't forget the countless number of fried and creamy appetizers that you will go through at party after party. Keep calories in check by limiting yourself when it comes to sweets. If you are going for the popular ham or turkey, choose a lean ham or choose the turkey breast meat without the skin. A simple sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie not covered in thick frosting won't set you back too far, so enjoy one without too much guilt. A small mug of wassail and lots of fresh veggies and dip are great foods for holiday parties.