Healthy Holiday Foods on a Budget

17 Nov

A healthy diet is essential, but the holidays can threaten to stretch both health and budget out of shape. By slipping these creative thanksgiving and Christmas ideas into the festivities, food can remain the focal point of the season, even when money is tight.

Reduce Salt Intake

The villain in salt is sodium; it hides in many processed foods. Although important for health, most individuals get more than they need. Buy reduced-sodium and salt-free products whenever possible. In addition, the salt in recipes can be reduced by half without sacrificing flavor.

Use Egg Substitutes

Eggs are inexpensive but high in cholesterol. Using the correct egg substitute depends on its function in the recipe. If the egg binds the ingredients together, one tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with three tablespoons of water, or 1/4 cup of fruit puree will work. If the egg helps the batter to rise, then use two teaspoons of baking powder mixed with two tablespoons of water.

Replace the Fat

Just before thanksgiving and throughout the Christmas season, cake mixes often go on sale. While easy on the budget, these mixes require added oil. To solve the problem, replace the oil with an equal amount of applesauce. No one will notice the difference.

Choose Frozen Produce

When fresh produce is unavailable, frozen costs less and is healthier than canned varieties. Watch for sales and stock up. Frozen mixed vegetables can add an international twist to potato salads.

Buy Fresh Produce

A vegetable garden slashes the budget, but sometimes space is tight. Tomatoes will grow on a patio. Herbs can sit on a sunny windowsill for easy snipping. A few strawberry plants tucked into a planter box will provide a garnish for a healthy pudding. The local fruit and vegetable stand or a farmer’s market offers better deals than the grocery store, but a marked-down produce bin can also provide great bargains for holiday food. Add ripe bananas to traditional Christmas eggnog. Mash that leftover Halloween pumpkin for a special thanksgiving pie. Cooks can even turn those extra-ripe tomatoes into a homemade salsa for a unique holiday treat.

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


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