Holiday Series: makeover tips for healthier and lighter holiday fare
Gobble, gobble, the HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! Don’t let them be a nutritional minefield. A few simple makeovers of some holiday favorites will lighten up your holiday yet still allow you to enjoy the festivities. Here are some last minute tips for helping you get through these holidays lean and fit:
Good: Sweet potatoes, white meat skinless turkey, plain green beans and carrots, cranberries.
Lighten them up: Mashed potatoes, gravy, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, creamy soups, and eggnog
Use a gravy strainer to strain off the grease. Add corn starch to strained and defatted broth to thicken.
Replace whole milk or cream with fat-free milk or fat-free half & half. Replace butter with half the amount of light margarine (trans fat free). Cut down on salt and use a dash of parmesan cheese instead (more flavor, less sodium). Use black pepper, garlic powder and dried parsley to season. Use Light Creamy Laughing Cow® cheeses in place of regular cheese.
If you use a boxed or bagged stuffing mix, dilute it with 3 cups cooked brown rice, low sodium chicken broth, light margarine, and healthy fillers such as sautéed onions, mushrooms, celery, garlic, peppers, even try adding sliced apples, cranberries and walnuts!
Mix cranberries with a small Valencia orange to add sweetness. Cut back on amount of added sugar and add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier. Add chopped walnuts.
Green bean casserole:
Omit cream soup and fried onion rings. For each pound of fresh green beans, combine the following and bake in a covered casserole dish at 350 ºF until bubbly (about 30 minutes): ½ cup fat-free half and half, 1 cup sliced carrots, 2 Tbsp minced dried onions, 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese.
Better yet, steam green beans and add sautéed mushrooms, shallots, balsamic vinegar, a touch of sugar and some sliced almonds and bacon bits for super tasty yet LIGHT.
For each pound of yams, bake use ½ cup OJ plus cinnamon to taste and ¼ cup raisins. Add light margarine, reduced calorie maple syrup and a touch of mini marshmallows and you cut the calories in half.
Or…for the more traditional sweet potato casserole…use the “mini” marshmallows; replace butter with light tub margarine; and the brown sugar with Splenda® brown sugar blend.
Purchase fat-free eggnog or make your own: 2 peeled ripe bananas, 1 cup fat-free milk or soy milk, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp rum extract. Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth.
Add oatmeal to the recipe, use a trans fat-free crust, substitute Splenda® brown sugar blend for brown sugar, substitute light margarine for butter, substitute Egg Beaters® for eggs. Use thawed fat-free whipped topping in place of whipped cream.