Healthy Holiday Foods
As most of us begin to plan our menus for the upcoming holidays, we may fall into the mentality that it’s okay to eat unhealthy just for this special occasion. You don’t have to give in and give up on the idea that you can have your feast and keep it healthy too.
With so much confusing information on food labels these days, we could all use some help when we head to the store for our holiday grocery list. I have come to rely on EWG “Rate your Plate” to help navigate my way through the deceptive marketing and challenging job of finding good food for my family.
EWG’s Food Scores database helps me make healthier, greener choices that I can feel good about and help me avoid hours at the store trying to decipher the labels on my own.
Renee Sharp, Director of Research at EWG gives us these tips to help people avoid potentially harmful ingredients and contaminants in food for our holiday meals.
- When you’re shopping for cranberry sauce, avoid products in BPA-lined cans and those that are loaded with sugar and corn syrup. Try making it yourself at home with fresh berries or pick one of the top-rated products on Food Scores!
- Concerned about pesticides in fruits and veggies? Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to avoid the Dirty Dozen – the non-organic fruits and vegetables that are highest in pesticide residues – and choose items from the Clean Fifteen list instead.
- Stuffing is always a holiday favorite, but did you know that store-bought stuffing is about as likely to have added sugar as candy, ice cream and cookies? More than half of the stuffings rated on Food Scores are likely to contain ingredients of high or moderate concern, so we recommend making your own or using EWG’s Food Scores to pick one of the top-scoring products.
- Turkeys are often fed antibiotics in their feed as well as growth promoters to encourage development of lean muscle instead of fat. (No wonder they look the way they do!) Consider going organic and antibiotic-free this year!
- Avoid the problematic preservatives BHA and BHT, which often turn up in potato mixes that have added bacon, butter or cheese. If you make your mashed potatoes from scratch or from a box, add your own fixings at home instead.
- Love that pumpkin pie but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Use these great paleo pumpkin recipes for a healthy alternative.
Gathering with the ones you love for a feast that is as healthy as it is delicious should be on the top of your list. Don’t forget to count your blessings and reach out to those less fortunate this holiday season.
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