5 Healthy Holiday Hacks
Did you know that between wrapping presents, writing cards, decorating, and cooking that one large meal, the average family will spend almost two weeks preparing for the holidays? Since every second of your time counts, we have put together 5 kitchen hacks that will help you reclaim time, reduce waste, and have a healthy holiday season!
1. No time to bake cookies? Freeze them instead!
You may have heard that PB2, also known as powdered peanut butter, is a great high-protein and low-calorie replacement for traditional peanut butter spreads. You might not have known that PB2 can also be a life-saver when you need a last-minute dessert! Hey Wanderer’s three ingredient recipe for no-bake vegan peanut butter cookies takes just 20 minutes to prepare in your seasonal ice cube tray of choice.
2. Repurpose metal cookie cutters to make christmas pancakes!
If you take a careful look at most recipes, you will notice that about a sixth of your average cookie dough by volume is sugar—and that’s before we add frosting and chocolate chips! If you want to cut back on refined sugars, you can use your metal cookie cutters to make festive pancakes shaped like trees, gingerbread men, and reindeer! You can even use your favourite pancake recipe or premade mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix. Want to add even more holiday cheer to your festive breakfast? Add walnuts, dried cranberries, cinnamon and ground ginger to the batter.
3. Have guests who are watching their sodium intake?
Did you know that over half of Canadians over the age of 70 report being diagnosed with hypertension, a condition often linked with sodium intake? If one of your guests is on a low-sodium diet, try keeping a shaker of nutritional yeast at your table! Nutritional yeast, also known as “nooch”, is often recommended as a dairy-free substitute for parmesan cheese, but the rich, salty flavour that comes from the high concentration of amino acids makes nooch an effective table salt replacement.
4. Preserve fresh herbs in your favourite healthy oil!
Holiday recipes often call for fresh herbs, especially rosemary and thyme. If you’ve ever bought a bundle of herbs, you may have noticed that these greens have a tendency to wilt and spoil in the fridge before you have the opportunity to use them in a second dish. If you want to use more than a couple sprigs of fresh herbs at a time, you can always freeze the leftovers in your favourite healthy cooking oil.
While bloggers often recommend olive oil for this trick, you can preserve herbs with any oil that has a high smoke point, such as avocado oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, or coconut oil—though you may have to melt your coconut oil before you are able to properly immerse the herbs.
5. Bake with bananas, even when your bananas are green!
Overripe bananas are frequently used in vegan baking as a substitute for eggs, but what can you do if it’s the day before Christmas and all your bananas are still green, starchy, and difficult to mash? Just bake the bananas for 30 minutes, and the “oven-ripened” fruit will be sweet and soft enough to add to dough.
Do you have a secret holiday tip, trick, or hack that makes your life easier? Be sure to spread the cheer with our community on Twitter and Facebook. We promise that one of our elves (probably me) will take a moment out of holiday preparations to read every comment.