Celebrating the Holidays with Health and Heritage
At Season Health, we know that dietician-recommended meal plans and recipes are not one-size-fits-all, and we believe that engaging with culturally-familiar food is essential for better health outcomes. We know that we need better representation and culinary expertise to represent the Black and LatinX communities that make up a significant portion of our patients. That’s why we work with a diverse group of chefs to make sure our food and recipes are culturally relevant to all members of Season.
What better time to celebrate the diversity of Season’s community, than over the holidays? This is a time for joy, family gatherings, and of course, delicious food. For many, holiday traditions are deeply rooted in cultural heritage, and while traditional dishes are undeniably delicious, they often come with a heavy load of calories, sugar, and saturated fats. However, there are ways to put a healthy twist on these beloved dishes without sacrificing the flavors that make them special. With the help of our council of chefs, we’ve put together some holiday-inspired recipes that take into consideration healthier alternatives, affordability, accessibility, ease, and an homage to the classics.
“Tamales are an iconic holiday dish across all Latin America. They can either be wrapped in corn husk, banana leaves, or even foil. The filling depends on where in Latin America you are. Typically, the matriarch or patriarch will make a large number of tamales for family gatherings and to give to guests.” - Chef Nicolás Ugaz-Valencia
At Season, to simplify the labor-intensive process of making homemade tamales, we’ve developed a shortcut recipe using polenta in place of masa and creating a “tamale bowl” for the same flavor profile with minimal effort. Tamales usually contain pork lard, which we omit from our recipe but add enough melty cheese to make up for it. Try our Bean & Cheese Tamale Bowls or get creative with meaty toppings like Chicken Tinga or Pork Stew with Poblano and Orange.
“Some signature holiday dishes commonly found in African-American/Black households in America include macaroni and cheese, yams or sweet potatoes, and collard greens. Recipes may differ by household, but none will debate that the mac is always baked! Families have FOUGHT over the corner piece with the extra crispy cheese bits. Though not everyone has these beliefs or still upholds the practices, a lot of Southern, Geechee, Creole Black people have many beliefs about what some dishes represent and what they mean for your future. Greens signify wealth, health and prosperity. Black eyed peas signify abundance.”- Chef Breana Jackson
Season’s Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese has all the cozy comfort of a homestyle macaroni and cheese, but with the added benefits of whole wheat pasta and cauliflower. For wealth, health, prosperity, and abundance, dig into our Spicy Black-Eyed Peas with Sweet Potatoes which features symbolic ingredients such as black-eyed peas and collard greens. Or, try the Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Sweet Potatoes to really get into the holiday spirit without the fuss of roasting a whole bird.
“Aside from tamales, pozole is traditionally eaten at Mexican celebrations, especially Christmas. Rojo or verde, meaty or vegetarian, pozole is a deeply flavorful dish that is a labor of love. Arroz con Leche, or Mexican rice pudding, is also a nostalgic holiday treat that is sweet, creamy, and feels like a hug. It is good hot or cold, but either way I like it with extra cinnamon over top.”- Chef Juan Carlos Ruelas
While abuela’s pozole may be a multi-hour (or day!) labor of love, our pozole recipes use a few shortcuts to get this delicious Mexican chili-spiked stew on the table in a fraction of the time. Leaning on the convenience of canned hominy, tomatoes, chipotle peppers and bags of pre-shredded cabbage - these recipes come together and will fill your home with a tantalizing aroma. Traditionally, pozole is made with pork shoulder, but these leaner options are just as tasty. Take a look at our Mexican Pozole with Beef and Oregano, Chicken Pozole, and Vegetarian Mexican Pozole recipes.
Arroz con Leche, which translates to rice with milk, is a comfort food around the world, also known as rice pudding. Have you tried our Cinnamon-Raisin Brown Rice Pudding? It comes together in only 15 minutes with the help of precooked brown rice and gets its sweetness from naturally sweet raisins and cinnamon.
The holidays are a time to celebrate traditions and cultural heritage through food. By incorporating these healthy twists on traditional holiday dishes, you can enjoy the flavors and memories while also taking care of your health. These modifications don't sacrifice taste but allow you to savor the best of both worlds – the rich culinary traditions of your culture and a commitment to a healthier, happier holiday season. So, gather your loved ones, put on some festive music, and savor these delicious holiday dishes that pay homage to your cultural roots. For more holiday recipes, check out the Holiday Specials recipe category in the Season app.
Reach out to us at email@example.com for any questions, comments, or suggestions - we’d love to hear from you!