OK Thanksgiving is gone, but here comes Christmas. Many of us will be preparing big meals for family and friends. Oh oh, does this mean straying from our well-intentioned, healthy eating plan again? Getting on Santa’s nutrition naughty list?
Not necessarily! Who says that eating tasty, traditional foods must be a nutritional nightmare? Eat healthy without removing the fun, enjoyment and taste. Feel good about eating – as you should! Follow the tips below and make all your dreams sweet ones (sweet potatoes that is, not candy!).
Healthy Cooking Tips
- Instead of frying, cook low-fat by baking, boiling, broiling or microwaving.
- Grilling can be a low-fat means of cooking also. Marinade meats first and/or cook them away from the hottest part of the grill to keep them from getting overly hot, so they don’t release substances that can potentially be carcinogenic. Marinades will also provide taste and keep your foods juicy.
- Keep the skin on poultry to keep the meat moist, but be sure and remove it before serving. The fat under the skin won’t be absorbed by the meat during cooking.
- Cool gravies and soups and skim the fat off the top prior to reheating.
Other Ways to Cut Fat and/or Calories
- Instead of butter and sour cream, add salsa, pepper, raw veggies to baked potatoes
- Purchase canned fruit in its own juice, rather than syrup with sugar added
- Use low-fat or fat-free condiments (mustard, ketchup, pepper, light or fat-free mayonnaise) and salad dressings
Healthy Food Preparation Substitutions
Recipe ingredients aren’t written in stone. Alternative, healthier ingredients can be used and still yield great-tasting results. Just don’t tell grandma!
Original Ingredient Healthy Alternative Ingredient
|1 large whole egg||2 large egg whites, ¼ cup egg whites or commercial egg substitute (use this substitution for ½ the eggs if baking or product may be less tender)|
|Whole milk||Skim or 1% milk (optional: may want to add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for better result, depending on what you are preparing)|
|1 cup heavy cream||1 cup evaporated skim milk, light cream or Half & Half|
|Sour cream||Low-fat or fat-free sour cream|
|Cottage cheese||Low-fat cottage cheese|
|Full-fat cheese||Reduced-fat cheese (don’t use non-fat in cooking because it doesn’t melt)|
|Butter, shortening or oil||Fruit puree (e.g. apple sauce) for ½ the regular product; for prevention of pan sticking use cooking spray or nonstick pans|
|Soy sauce||Low-sodium soy sauce|
|Flour, all-purpose||Whole-wheat flour for ½ of the all-purpose flour in baked goods|
|Mayonnaise||Fat-free or reduced-fat mayonnaise|
|Sugar||Can reduce to ¾ amount ( ½ amount in baked goods); add sweetness with non-calorie sweeteners or vanilla extract, nutmeg or cinnamon|
|Salt||Omit or reduce by ½ (except in products with yeast), and/or substitute herbs, spices, salt-free seasonings|
|Full-fat cream cheese||Low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth|
|White bread||100% whole wheat bread|
|Iceberg lettuce||Romaine and other leafy lettuces, arugula, endive, chicory, collard and mustard greens, kale, baby spinach|
Follow these tips and you’ll surely be on Santa’s nice list. Then see what’s under the tree Christmas morning!