Put Your Christmas Dinner on the Nice List

Santa naughty and nice listOK 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!).Family Christmas dinner

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.
  • 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 Nutrition Nice List. Then see what’s under the tree Christmas morning!

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