Cooking Festive Dishes The Healthy Way

cooking festive dishes the healthy way

Cooking festive dishes the healthy way are tips to help you cook superb delicious dishes and still maintain your healthy eating lifestyle.  The good thing about these tips is that they leave your dishes looking festive, easy to make, and extremely flavourful.

So it’s the Christmas season and what better way to show love to everyone? And since the focus is cooking festive dishes the healthy way, we share the secrets to healthy cooking and how to ensure food safety during your celebration party.

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Secrets To Healthy Cooking

cooking festive dishes the healthy way

A healthy eating plan doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite foods or give up flavor.  All that you need is a little adjustment, an open mind, and an experimental spirit.  Try some of the tips below when preparing your favorite Christmas foods for healthier low-fat meals.

Adjust your recipes for desserts, cakes, bread

  • Use fruit purees in place of butter or oil in baked goods.
  • Substitute 2 egg whites for one whole egg or three whites for two whole eggs.
  • In place of cream, try using yogurt or pureed low-fat cottage cheese.
  • Use skim milk in place of whole milk.
  • If you bake your bread, add various kinds of fruits or vegetables to make them more flavorful.
  • For extra fiber and wholesome goodness use whole grains as part of your ingredients instead of highly refined products.
  • Decrease sodium by using unsalted ingredients.
  • Reduce sugar by ¼ or less in baked goods and desserts. Instead add cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla to enhance sweetness.

Healthy cooking methods to try in dishes

  • Make marinades with juices instead of oil.
  • Add a variety of vegetables to meat dishes to reduce the amount of meat you eat and increase your vegetable intake.
    • Trim all visible fat from meats before cooking.
    • Refrigerate all stocks, stews, and soups, and remove the congealed fat before reheating.
    • Use non-stick pans and an oil brush to reduce the amount of oil and margarine.
    • Grill or roast meat on a rack so the fat can drop off.
    • Experiment with a variety of seasonings, spices, and herbs in your dishes to make them interesting
    • Steam your vegetables in a basket over boiling water or in a food steamer.
    • Stir fry meat and vegetables in a non-stick pan or wok using broth or a dab of olive oil
    • Brown meat and chicken pieces, drain off fat and rinse in a strainer with hot water before adding to a recipe.
    • Bake foods using non-fat marinades to retain moisture.

    Food Safety At your Christmas party

    Are you planning a party for Christmas? If so, beware of foodborne germs. Though you can’t see, smell or taste germs, they feast and multiply in your food and intestinal tract if you give them the slightest chance.

    Many outbreaks of food-borne disease during the celebration period rise from failure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.  For instance, foodborne germs can multiply quickly in temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F.  So, if left at room temperature for two hours or longer, an innocent-looking chicken or seafood salad can make you violently ill for days. 

    Although cooking destroys bacteria, not everything gets cooked. For example, raw vegetables for salads are eaten raw.  Also raw eggs, an ingredient in homemade ice cream or mayonnaise may be contaminated with salmonella.  And like many other foodborne germs, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other symptoms.

    Tips to keep food at your Christmas party safe

    cooking festive dishes the healthy way
    • Wash your hands with soap and warm water as often as necessary before and during the food preparation.  Dry your hands with a clean paper towel, not your apron or cloth towel, which can recontaminate your hands.
    • Ensure all utensils, cutting boards, and countertops are clean and sanitized.
    • If you’re roasting a turkey or chicken, use a meat thermometer to make sure the bird is at least 180 degrees F throughout before removing it from the oven.  Wrap leftovers and refrigerate within two hours.
    • Before cutting or peeling fruit or vegetables, scrub them under running water.
    • Do not allow foods that are to be eaten raw to come into contact with hands, utensils, or cutting boards that have been in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, or unwashed produce.
    • Keep food cold on the buffet table by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.
    • Take hot food from the bottom of serving dishes as soon as they are put out. Make sure the food is steaming before you eat it.
    • Avoid eating raw shellfish if you’re an alcoholic or at high risk of infectious diseases.  If you’re unsure about your risk level, ask your doctor.
    • When in doubt about a food’s safety, throw it out.  You can replace food. But you can’t replace your health.

    Bottom Line

    Christmas is a time for partying and merriment. However, cooking festive dishes the healthy way is important. Because the last thing you want is to have to battle with extra pounds of weight. Or fall sick after tucking into Christmas buffets. So remember to have fun, but do it healthily because your health is far more important.

    Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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