Happy holidays! Wherever you come from or wherever you're going home to this season, here's how to serve up fare that is both festive and light. Here are some time-honored dishes you love that can be made with less fat and fewer calories -- without sacrificing taste.
Traditional treat: What's a holiday office cocktail party
without savory finger foods, creamy dips, and fried canapés?
Leaner eat: Bypass the chips and other fried pound-packers and choose a small handful of nuts, reduced-fat cheese and fresh fruit, or chilled shrimp. Bring a hummus dip with a holiday-themed veggie platter: red or green pepper, zucchini, and jicama strips.
Traditional treat: Dark turkey meat covered in gravy
Leaner eat: Choose lower-fat white meat without the skin and enjoy it with just a drizzle of gravy made with defatted pan juices, dry white wine, and low-sodium chicken broth.
Traditional treat: A "must" at most Americans' holiday table is a big mound of mashed potatoes drowning in butter and salt.
Leaner eat: Enjoy vitamin-rich mashed sweet potatoes or baked sweet potato rounds or fries. Spritz the strips with cooking spray, add a dash of cinnamon, and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Traditional treat: Corn bread stuffing cooked inside a turkey
is a mainstay of the meal for many and usually loaded with a variety of meats, nuts, and veggies, with plenty of butter, of course.
Leaner eat: Try wild rice as stuffing instead, and bake it separately in a covered casserole. Cooked inside the turkey, the stuffing absorbs too much fat from the meat.
Traditional treat: Sweet, rich, and fattening pecan pie is a
holiday highlight. While the antioxidant-packed nuts are good for you, in moderation, the corn syrup, butter, and sugar can pad your hips with up to 800 calories per slice.
Leaner eat: Opt for a small slice of pie minus the crust, and make it pumpkin, which is lower in fat and calories and also provides a good dose of beta-carotene. Or try a couple of strawberries dipped in chocolate.
Traditional treat: Potatoes, onions, eggs, and matzo flour are formed into a batter and fried in oil to produce these crispy latkes, or potato pancakes.
Leaner eat: Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of higher-fat kinds such as corn oil, and toss out the egg yolks. When cooking with olive oil, you can't take the temperature past 350 degrees, so add a bit of canola oil because it can handle the heat. The bonus: The pancakes are even crispier. Yolks make dough tender, whereas the egg whites create a crispy, crunchy
Traditional treat: Typically eaten on Christmas Eve or
Christmas Day, pork roast is a moderate-fat meat. But goose, another Christmas Day treat, stuffed with apples and dried fruit, tends to be high in both fat and cholesterol.
Leaner eat: Enjoy your roast, but limit your portion of meat to 6 ounces or less, with a few small spoonfuls of the flavorful stuffing -- and you'll save fat, calories, and cholesterol.
Remember to keep your perspective!
Even if you slip up once or twice, it's not the end-of-the-world, or the end of your ability to make wise eating choices again. Balance low- and higher-calorie foods, set your own traditions with healthier recipes, take short walking breaks for yourself, and you'll have fun this season.
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