Top 10 Holiday Tips on Healthy Recipes

By Susan Burke MS, RD, LD/N, CDE

eDietsChief Nutritionist

Every year about this time, I hear the same holiday songs. I hear people sing the old refrain of overindulgence -- I have to have it. Whether it's for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or other seasonal celebrations, people have a hard time with holidays and overeating. Some throw up their hands and give in to temptation; others rationalize the holidays as a time in which they are destined to put on pounds.

Top Tips for making your holiday recipes healthy ones. Low-fat cooking techniques should be used. Bake, broil, grill, poach and saute foods in a very little bit of fat in a non-stick pan.

Use nonstick pans for baking, grilling, for breads and cookies, for sauteing and even for soup. Nonstick is one of life's little pleasures -- you need to just lightly spray with cooking oil.

Reduce the fat in the recipes. One of the simplest methods of making all your recipes healthier is reducing the amount of fat in a recipe. If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, use 1/4 cup, plus 1/4-cup fruit puree or unsweetened applesauce. This is good for any quick bread, cookie or cake. Yeast breads and piecrusts need a precise balance of ingredients, but experiment to see if you get acceptable results.

Don't add fat to your food,especially unhealthy, saturated fats. Most stores carry margarines without trans fat if you want to put a spread on the table. Instead of basting the turkey with butter, try flavorful vegetable broth, white wine or orange juice (my personal favorite). Buy low-fat and nonfat varieties of milk, sour cream, yogurt and cheese. You'll lower the fat and calories effortlessly. I use low-fat buttermilk in baking -- substitute for milk in any recipe.

Substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil for 1 ounce of baking chocolate, and lower the saturated fat.

Two egg whites can substitute one whole egg, depending on the size. All the fat, cholesterol and most of the calories from eggs are in the yolk.

Substitute crunchy cereal for bread crumbs. I like to use crushed corn flakes or nuggets like Grape Nuts. Cut servings smaller! Make that cake serve 12 instead of eight.

Buy the leanest cuts of meat, and substitute 1/3 ground turkey breast. Don't buy ground turkey because it also contains skin and dark meat, making it just as caloric as ground meat or more.

Don't forget; the holidays are not an excuse for cheating on your meal plan. Going out or staying in, you get to choose what you will eat, how much you'll eat, and when you will eat. Don't skip meals, keep exercising (in fact, make it your business to get the whole crowd out for a walk after your big meal), and remember that there are no good or bad foods. Think of food as fuel; it may be good for your engine, or it may clog the fuel line. Foods may be fatty and full of sugar, but that's often what makes them taste so good.

If you want some dessert, either share with our tablemates or opt for a small piece. Balance with an otherwise healthy meal, and stay active.

posted by Diet & Body @ 3:00 AM


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