Healthy, Affordable, AND Festive Holiday Tips and Tricks from The Open Door

The Open Door has tips and tricks for staying healthy, while making affordable, fun and tasty dishes for yourself, your family, and your guests this holiday season: 

DIY and Save! 

Avoid pre-packaged “holiday-themed” cookies, candies, and other treats at the grocery store and instead make things from scratch! Making your favorite seasonal desserts, snacks and meals at home can save money and gives you the option to incorporate more nutritious ingredients.  

“Making homemade dishes is a great way to be both festive and frugal,” said Community Education Coordinator Rachel Orie. “Packaged holiday themed foods and candies can really add up, whereas you can easily turn humble ingredients into fun and healthy holiday dishes!” 

CLICK HERE for healthy holiday recipes.  

CLICK HERE for kid-friendly, healthy holiday recipes. 

See below for tips on using natural coloring, sugars, and shapes to add a holiday twist to your kitchen! 

Make a Simple Swap 

Use whole grains such as oats and whole grain flour when baking and cooking this holiday season. 

CLICK HERE for a gingerbread cookie recipe, an example of a recipe using white whole wheat flour. 

Be Sugar Savvy 

Leverage the natural sweetness of fruits and other ingredients instead of adding sugars.  

Cooking and baking with apples, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and other naturally sweet ingredients is a great way to add a touch of sweetness without overdoing it (and adding great nutrients to your dishes!).  

Make a Seasonal Menu 

Selecting produce that’s in-season can cut costs, and your recipes will taste fresher and more flavorful, too.  

Vegetables and fruit in season this time of year include: 

  • Root vegetables, such as carrots, beets, turnips, onions and garlic 
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash 
  • Leafy green vegetables and cauliflower 
  • Apples, cranberries, citrus fruits, pears 

CLICK HERE for a sweet potato latke recipe, an example of a recipe using seasonal ingredients. 

Leveraging Color 

What colors are associated with the holiday you celebrate? Using ingredients that are naturally colorful in your recipes can instantly elevate a dish, while keeping costs down and adding nutrients.  

A few examples of color combinations include red and green for Christmas; blue and white for Hannukah; and red, green, and black for Kwanzaa.  

Ingredients by color: 

Black: chia seeds, black beans, black berries, and black olives 

Blue: blueberries 

Green: broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, herbs, leafy greens, and zucchini 

Red: apples, beets, cranberries, red bell peppers, and tomatoes 

White: cauliflower, cheese, potatoes, rice, and yogurt 

Pictured above: A veggie platter arranged like a Christmas tree from vegetables including broccoli, tomatoes, and red bell pepper.  

Draw Inspiration from Classic Holiday Shapes  

Just like with color, there are many shapes that evoke memories of the holidays.  

If you celebrate Christmas, arrange vegetables into the shape of a Christmas tree, star, candy cane or Santa Claus. 

If you celebrate Hannukah, arrange vegetables into the shape of the Star of David, a menorah, or a dreidel.  

If you celebrate Kwanzaa, arrange vegetables or fruit into the shape of a kinara. 

Pictured above: Star of David shaped snacks using shredded carrots. Recipe linked here.  


Shop The Door Before the Store! 

After you’ve taken stock of the ingredients you may already have on hand, place a grocery order from The Open Door if you need a little extra help this holiday season!  This can be a big money-saver, as then you’ll have more room in your grocery store budget for the rest of the foods on your list. Call us at 978-283-6776 or make a new shopper profile online right now

You can also order a Holiday Basket for the December holidays, complete with all the ingredients you need to make a holiday meal at home. To order your basket call 978-283-6776. 

Wishing you happy, healthy holidays from The Open Door! 

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