Just back from the market (it’s already crazy) but haven’t started my cooking yet (so I apologize for no photos.) I did want to send this off in time for holiday prep – for both the budget and the waistline. I will only indulge you with healthful suggestions this week. No extra calories required.
“Trimming” at home:
If you are hosting one of the major meals at your house, consider some of these options in your menu plan.
Have a strategy. You know not to go to the store hungry, but also take time to prepare a list of items you will need for your gathering. If you can do this in advance (of Christmas, let’s say) – be on the lookout for pre-holiday sales. Just today I got a 2-for-1 deal on pumpkin and cranberries. And shop early – in the day.
Pick seasonal fruits and veggies. With produce, it’s key to know what’s in season to take advantage of better prices (not to mention all the health benefits, etc.) Right now there’s an abundance of fresh apples, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, persimmons and pomegranates. Corn and tomatoes are out, but if you find they are absolutely essential, buy them canned or frozen (organic, of course.)
Try a buffet. This is an economical way to serve many. Start with the healthier foods at the beginning of your table, and ‘heavier’ items at the end. People’s plates will usually be full of the good stuff by the time they reach the big-ticket section. Just make sure you offer several choices of colorful veggies.
Remember, beverages have calories, too. Especially alcoholic ones. I have been known to sip here and there (to keep with the festive spirit, of course) and when cooking, it’s easy to lose track. Just 4 ounces of wine adds up to 100 calories, and come on – that’s barely an aperitif for some. Be kind to your liver and remember moderation.
Make your own dessert. Ah, my favorite subject. Some of the sugar-laden, trans fat pies I’ve seen out there continue to feed this recession! Even store bought pie crusts can fetch up to $4 a piece, vs. about $1 for homemade (and so much tastier, too.) If you’re intimidated by baking, tomorrow’s post will contain some healthful tips in part 2 of our series this week.