The holiday season is here and, no matter what you celebrate, chances are that your festivities involve delicious dishes of some of your favorite foods. For those looking to continue their healthy eating habits over the holidays, we’ve gathered up some of our favorite Arizona-based chefs and asked them to share their healthy eating and holiday hosting tips as well as their favorite holiday dishes.
Elizabeth Joseph, personal chef and educator at Be More Raw, LLC
Be More Raw, LLC, is known for helping its clients with blood sugar management, gut health, and organic living through food-based programs and services, along with catering.
Holiday healthy eating tips: Use dairy and butter alternatives in all of your dishes. They will taste just as good and feel so much better in your stomach. Gluten-free and organic also make a big difference. Your gut will thank you.
Top tip for hosting holiday gatherings: Painters’ tape and marker! Use then to label your mason jars so your guests don’t lose their drinks. Opt for eco-friendly utensils and plates if buying disposable. Reuse old mason jars from jams or oils for glasses.
Favorite holiday dish: Mac and cheese.
Chantal Hause, owner of Fabulous Food Fine Catering and Events
Photos by Janelle Bonifield
Fabulous Food is known for its diverse menu options, event planning options, and personalized service.
Healthy holiday eating tips: Refrain from overly sauced items. Don’t overeat! Prepare enough for leftovers so you can have small meals and graze. Fresh foods are much healthier than processed foods.
Top tip for hosting holiday gatherings: Don’t make your gathering so complicated that it takes the fun out of entertaining. Use the professionals to reduce your stress and anxiety. It affords you family time. It’s worth it in the long run.
Favorite holiday dish: I love non-traditional holiday foods – offering something that’s not expected. I’ve catered holidays where the client had a beautiful seafood paella as an option. Oven roast brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil is an amazing option for a vegetable side dish.
Jason Wyrick, Executive Chef of The Vegan Taste
Chef Jason Wyrick is a New York Times bestselling author, the owner and executive chef of Casa Terra, and the executive chef at The Vegan Taste, the country’s longest running vegan meal prep/delivery service.
Healthy holiday eating tips: Don’t eschew your decadent foods but do eat reasonable portions and have some healthy fare on your plate, too, so you don’t completely load up on mashed potatoes. I know, easier said than done, but you can do it.
Top tips for hosting holiday gatherings: Don’t sweat trying to please everyone with every single dish. It probably won’t happen. Just make great food! People will eventually start to come around. Make sure the whole cooking process is fun. If you make yourself miserable for days on end, for only 30 minutes of a tasty meal, what was the point?
Favorite holiday dish: My favorite Thanksgiving dish is a risotto with mole amarillo. It has roasted butternut squash and tri-colored cauliflower, and I cook the risotto in the mole. It’s a delicious mole that’s tangy from tomatillos and tomatoes and almost nothing like the more well-known chocolate-based moles. For Christmas, it’s vegan tamales, hands down.
Stacey Weber, owner of EAT by Stacey Weber
EAT by Stacey Weber offers prepared meals, catering, and personal chef services. “We are known for making the holidays easy, healthy, and delicious,” says Stacey Weber.
Healthy holiday eating tips: Plan ahead. Moderation. Give yourself grace. Stay active.
Top tips for hosting holiday gatherings: Cook ahead so you can enjoy your company. There are many appetizer, main dish, and dessert options that can be done well before guests arrive. Keep hot cider in a crock pot, spiked or regular. This is always a crowd-pleasing simple touch, especially when the weather is cooler.
Favorite holiday dish: I love frosted sugar cookies! But for Thanksgiving a smoked turkey with a citrus herb crust is hard to beat.
Mark Tarbell, owner of Tarbell’s, Tarbell’s Wine Store, and Tarbell’s Wine Bar
Tarbell’s provides high-level service, customized events, and catering options. They focus on sustainable food and beverage practices and utilize organic ingredients and local products from Arizona purveyors, farms, wineries, and ranches.
Healthy holiday eating tips: Fully enjoy everything during the holidays. However, eat in micro portions. It’s not necessary to overindulge. Just eat smart.
Top tips for hosting holiday gatherings: Planning ahead and preparation is key. On a high stress day when you’re entertaining, only cook the home runs or make your favorite recipes.
Favorite holiday dish: My ultimate favorite holiday dish is maple glazed carrots studded with jammy cranberries. I oven roast organic carrots, heat up cranberries, douse it with the best quality maple syrup from New Hampshire, and lastly, add organic butter on top. It’s low in effort, tremendously easy to make, extraordinarily flavorful, and the presentation is effortlessly beautiful with natural colors from a few ingredients.