Holidays are times for family and friends, so enlist them in helping you choose menus, shop, cook and clean for festive celebrations.
Remember that you do not have to do it all alone.
Marshfield Clinic Health System Dietitian Chrisanne Urban offers nine tips (and more!) for you to consider this festive season. They focus on having a good attitude, preparation, simplicity and truly enjoying time together:
9 tips for holiday cooking
- Create a mindset. With the holidays you don’t need to do it all, though we feel like we have to many times. Ask for help. Prepare your family and tell them you need their help. Create everyone’s mindset and don’t wait until the last minute.
- Prepare your kitchen. You do need to organize and maybe it’s time to straighten the kitchen up. Get your staple ingredients and proper tools to do the work.
- Plan – map out your destination. Look at sales for the week by checking out local grocery stores and keep in mind you can shop ahead for some things. Look for resources – there are lots online, talk to family and friends and ask what they have prepared in the past. Map out your holiday cooking. Make a grocery list. Take a family member with you when you shop. Take a child, since it’s good to educate children about the grocery-buying experience. Just don’t go when you’re hungry! Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be fancy. And check out ChooseMyPlate.gov, a government website that has great recipes and tips.
- Be the cheerleader. It’s never too late to set an example for others. It’s important to be a positive role model, too, when cooking with family and friends.
- Take time to discover. It’s important to try new foods and did you know it takes a child 12 times to accept new foods? You’re never too late to try new things, too, even as an adult.
- Make meals enjoyable, fun and media-free. That means no cellphone, no TV. Make conversation. Ask questions, like “What’s a new discovery for you?” or “What made you laugh today?”
- Plan for leftovers. It saves you time and money and you can always send leftovers home with people if there is a lot left, cutting down on food waste.
- It’s OK to not clean your plate! Start the meal by saying “stop eating when you’re full. It’s OK not to clean your plate.” You might not want to serve all food family style, or leave some portions in pans in the kitchen but put out fruits and veggies family style. And, make sure you have some leftovers but beware of the relatives who will sit and eat everything until it’s gone.
- Plan for a new family activity tradition. Have a family dance party. Bundle up and go for a walk. Find a fun reason to be active.
Urban notes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to cook with your immediate family that you live with this holiday season. However, you can use video conferencing technology such as Zoom or FaceTime to cook virtually with loved ones who may be at a different location.
In the spirit of the season, Urban offers this recipe for holiday cooking that’s simple, colorful and good for you.
Roasted Root Vegetables: 4 Steps
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
- Suggested vegetables: onions, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, winter squash-butternut and acorn, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, garlic
Prep cooking pan
- Use a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet large enough to spread a single layer of vegetables
- Layer bottom of pan in vegetable oil or cooking spray
- See ingredients for vegetable suggestions
- Cut suggested veggies into equal-size pieces and toss them with vegetable oil to reduce pan sticking
- Add salt, pepper and garlic powder
- Optional post-cooking flavor: balsamic vinegar
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F
- Place uncovered pan on the lower third of the oven
- Cook time: 20-30 minutes, check every 10 minutes
- Roast until golden brown and easily pierced with fork