Cook Fast, Live Young: Tips for a Healthy and Inexpensive Easter 2011 Dinner
Easter is on the way, bringing many fun activities with it: painting and hunting Easter eggs, handing out (and enjoying) Easter baskets, spending the day with your family, and eating a delicious Easter dinner. Unfortunately, the cost of all of those things can add up–in money and in calories! That’s why I’ve put together this list of ways to make a healthy Easter Dinner without breaking the bank to give you one less thing to worry about. Eat at home instead of going out
With everything else that’s going on around the holiday, just heading out to a restaurant for Easter dinner might be tempting, but don’t do it! Not only will you likely end up eating a meal that’s less healthy than one you could have prepared at home, many places jack up prices for “special” meals on holidays! Cooking at home means that you control the cost and the ingredients.
Buy from the local farmer’s market
The best way to get fresh, healthy, delicious food for a low price is to head out to your local farmer’s market. Who knows–you might even discover something new to spice up your normal Easter dinner!
Don’t be afraid to go non-traditional
Speaking of spicing it up, don’t feel like you’re limited to only a few foods because of the “traditional” Easter dinner. Instead of glazed ham, try a braised chicken. It’s delicious and it’s better for you! And instead of piles and piles of candy, try a lighter dessert of fruit, or seek out healthy desserts like this light carrot cake recipe from EatingWell.
Seek out healthy recipes
That carrot cake is only the beginning. A number of great websites not only offer Easter themed meal choices, but Easter recipes that are healthy. Besides EatingWell, check out Cooking Light, delish.com, practicalkitchen.com–even WebMD! If you are having a calorie heavy main dish, consider including lighter fare as sides, such as steamed veggies or a nice salad.
Make your favorite recipes healthier
Try substituting healthier ingredients to recipes you already know you like. Use reduced-fat dairy products and lean meats, and cut the butter in half. For baked goods, you can replace some of the butter with low-fat sour cream or cream cheese.
And don’t forget, this is meant to be a day of family, so if you’ve got a large extended one, consider hosting an Easter potluck. That way, you can see everyone while saving on the cost of the meal by having family members bring their own dishes.
Make use of your leftovers
Stretch that food out twice as long! Save the ham bone to make split pea soup, and add the leftover ham to sandwiches for next week’s lunch, breakfast quiche, or kabobs. Those eggs you hardboiled and painted? If they weren’t out of the fridge for too long during the celebration, consider cracking them open to add them a Cobb salad or to use for deviled eggs. They may have a little of the food coloring on them, but they’ll still taste great!
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine PinkRaygun.com, a contributor to the career blog at Resumark.com, and owner of the food blog CookFastLiveYoung.blogspot.com. Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at WeissRoessler.com.