Holiday Foods and Your Oral Health

As the days grow shorter and cooler, most of us have one thing on our minds: the holidays! Cue all of the pumpkins, family meals, presents, and more!

While the holidays can be a great time to celebrate and reflect, it’s no secret that those beloved gatherings can also play host to some pretty unhealthy foods. Looking for festive recipes that are delicious and good for you? We’ve got you covered!

Today, we’re sharing a few dentist-approved meals that you can indulge in guilt-free. We’ve also included a few tips to help you eat well this season and beyond.

Healthy Holiday Recipes You’ll Love

Round out your holiday menu with these easy, health-conscious recipes. They’re so delicious and flavorful, you’ll never believe they’re also good for you!

Butternut Squash Stew With Wild Rice

Looking for a Thanksgiving side dish that’s low on carbs but rich in flavor? We love this Butternut Squash Stew with hearty wild rice stuffing! The soft and tender squash is a gorgeous complement to the veggie-rich rice, which also includes shallots, celery, and garlic.

You won’t miss the traditional bread stuffing with this aromatic alternative. Roasted pecans give it a decadent crunch, while fresh herbs like sage and thyme add a nice balance.

Meat-Free Lentil Loaf

Most dining room tables will boast a perfectly-brined turkey or gorgeously glazed ham at the holiday dinner. While those entrees can be fine in moderation, why not switch it up this year with a meat-free alternative? This Vegan Lentil Loaf is packed with flavor, thanks to red and brown lentils, savory herbs, and a variety of robust root veggies.

Serve it with some steamed broccoli or mashed sweet potatoes on the side for a family-friendly meal everyone will love. It also pairs well with a fresh garden salad.

Banana and Nutella Crepes

Need something sweet to serve on Christmas morning? Look no further than these unbelievable Banana and Nutella Crepes. The standout here is the chocolate hazelnut spread, but ripe bananas hold their own inside the delicate crepe batter.

Once you have the foundational recipe down, feel free to swap in other mix-ins that your loved ones prefer. From strawberries and blueberries to pecans and even brie cheese, there’s hardly anything that doesn’t taste great with Nutella.

Tips For Easy Entertaining

Are you in charge of planning a family gathering during the holidays? While the idea can seem overwhelming, there are plenty of ways to throw a feast that’s full of flare without over-exerting yourself. After all, it’s easy to get burned out during this time of year, so it helps to know a few shortcuts that can get the job done!

Start by making a game plan a few weeks ahead of time. Build in some flexibility but nail down the basics, including the main menu, sides, desserts, and any cocktails that you’ll serve. As you’re planning, don’t forget to delegate.

Does Aunt Martha make a divine green bean casserole? What about that chocolate torte that your cousin is known for? Most of the time, guests don’t mind bringing a dish or two, and this potluck-style format can save you from having to do it all yourself.

Once you know exactly what everyone is bringing, then consider how long each dish can sit out unrefrigerated. If an item needs to be stored in the fridge before or after serving, carve out space beforehand so you aren’t tossing items at the last minute.

Set aside your flatware, drinkware, and serving utensils, and make sure you have enough to go around. Keep the table settings simple, and prepare as much as you can in advance. Then, make sure everyone knows the time and order of events, and sit back and relax!

Tips for Limiting Over-Indulgence

It’s easy to overdo it with sweets over the holidays. While cakes and cookies can taste incredible in the moment, they aren’t so good for your oral health.

This year, prioritize your teeth and gums, as well as your whole body health, by swapping a few of your go-to goodies with some smart swaps. Here’s a handy list of nearly 20 foods that can serve as great stand-ins when those telltale sugar cravings hit.

While you’re at it, here are a few other tips to help you avoid overindulging at every meal.

  • Start with soup or a salad before eating a big meal.
  • Fill your plate with low-calorie, healthy food first.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Eat slowly and stop before you feel stuffed.

While these steps can help you control caloric intake and feel your best during this season, remember that a few indulgences here and there are perfectly fine! If you’re too strict with your meals, then you may wind up over-indulging later. Allow yourself access to those seasonal treats you love, but do so in moderation.

Tips for Accommodating Different Dietary Needs

Chances are, your guests will have varying palates. That platter of kids’ treats may have one or two items that not every child will adore. Some side dishes, like deviled eggs, might be polarizing, with guests either loving them or despising them.

While you may not be able to please everyone in that regard, you can (and should) be mindful of special dietary needs or restrictions that some of your guests may have. Before you begin planning your dishes, reach out to attendees and ask if there are any special requests you need to know.

From peanut allergies to gluten sensitivities, you may hear back about a range of issues. Some guests may also be vegan or vegetarian and need to stick to meat-free dishes.

Ask if there are any foods they would like for you to cook, as well as which ones to avoid. You can also check to see if your guests with special dietary needs would prefer to bring their own dishes to the meal instead.

Enjoy the Holidays and Feel Great the Next Day

The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to revel in those end-of-the-year festivities that we all look forward to. If you’re searching for a few ways to embrace your healthier side this year, then the recipes above are a great start.

As you plan your menu and prepare the event, don’t forget to take some time for self-care. Delegate, communicate, and keep your plans low-key and flexible so you aren’t thrown off-course by last-minute shake-ups. Above all, enjoy the company of your loved ones and remember what this time of year is all about.

From our dental family to yours, we wish you the very best holiday season. Feel free to contact our office if you need to ask a question or schedule an appointment!