Take a different approach to holiday eating

This is what the spiralizer looks like. But if you like veggies, it sounds like a good buy.
This is what the spiralizer looks like. But if you like veggies, it sounds like a good buy.

With the holiday season in full swing, for most Americans, that means eating – lots of eating – followed by weight gain and a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.

The holidays are a time to enjoy family, friends and food. And, contrary to popular belief, you can have all three without putting on the extra pounds. So why not take a different approach this year during this holiday season and beyond?

Simply by curbing carbs with lighter delicious alternatives, you can make a big difference. For family meals and for those holiday gatherings, start by using a spiralizer that allows you to prepare these lighter dishes. Any calorie savings will help balance out all those special dense holiday foods you only get once a year.

If you haven’t heard, a spiralizer is a kitchen tool that easily makes noodles, ribbons and curls out of vegetables that replace pasta and grains in recipes. The good news is the vegetables taste great when spiralized and there are many spiralizer models to choose from that can fit into all budgets. One popular model is the Paderno, or if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, there is the popular spiralizer attachment.

Both of these are available at Things Are Cooking in downtown Concord. Another preferred spiralizer is the Inspiralizer. Don’t be intimidated. Spiralizers are very easy to use and even the novice cook can prepare many creative dishes. The nutritional bonus is the dishes you can make using the spiralizer not only can be lower in carbs and calories but jam-packed with vitamins. Boosting your immune system with these vitamins might be just what you need to get you through this year’s cold and flu season.

Incorporating spiralized vegetables into your dishes will add color and refreshing flavors. Listed are just some of the vegetables that work well with a spiralizer: beets, broccoli (ends), butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, cucumbers, black and daikon radishes, jicama, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabagas, summer squash, sweet potatoes, turnip and zucchini. For the best nutritional advantage, get in a minimum of five servings (about 2 ½ cups) of vegetables daily. If you don’t have a spiralizer yet, get yourself one or ask for one for Christmas and if you do have one, put it to good use and you will easily meet this five a day challenge.

If you are looking to get started, there are also many cookbooks to choose from including Spiralize & Thrive by Dalila Tarhuni which is available at Gibson’s Bookstore. Not only are there a variety of recipes, it provides recipe nutrition information, so you can decide for yourself which recipes fit best with your dietary preferences. Additionally, it highlights calorie savings by using spiralized vegetables in recipes over traditional pasta and grains. Check it out!

If you choose to purchase the Inspiralizer, you may want to consider the Inspiralized cookbook. This is where I found my favorite easy-to-prepare zucchini linguini and shrimp dish (listed below). Try this recipe for a quick evening meal or prepare in a larger quantity for your next holiday party. It is sure to be a hit!

Zucchini “Linguini” with Roasted Shrimp


2 small zucchini squashes

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Spiralize the zucchini into spaghetti shape noodles. Cut strands to desired length.

3. In a large bowl, mix the zucchini, shrimp, sliced bell pepper, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil until the mixture is evenly coated.

4. On a roasting tray, spread the mixture into one even layer and bake for 8 minutes.

Makes 4 servings. Adapted from Inspiralized.

Donna Patch is a registered dietitian nutritionist for Concord Hospital Center for Health Promotion. Patch facilitates group programs for weight management and diabetes prevention and is available for client-centered one-on-one nutrition counseling. Patch is a contributing member of the Capital Area Wellness Coalition (CAWC), which coordinates community resources and builds partnerships to create a culture of healthy living for everyone. The CAWC meets monthly on the second Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St. in Concord. Visit capwellness.org to learn more.

Author: Donna Patch

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