Holiday get-togethers nearly always involve food — and lots of it. It's easy to take in more than your share of fat and calories along with your healthy dose of good cheer.
According to Cassandra Vanderwall, MS, a registered dietitian at Rush University Medical Center, a few simple changes can help you make your holiday habits healthier.
1. Cut the fat. Traditional holiday recipes are often high in unnecessary fat. To make recipes more heart-healthy, choose tub margarine instead of butter and use canola oil in place of vegetable oil. Use the light or reduced-fat versions of ingredients such as cheese and sour cream. When you're baking, substitute two egg whites for one whole egg. You can also try using unsweetened applesauce in place of half the oil, butter or margarine listed in the recipe.
2. Limit the sugar. Cookies and other treats will still be flavorful if you substitute spices, such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg, for some of the sugar. In fact, you can cut sugar in most recipes by one-fourth. Instead of frosting baked goods, dust them with powdered sugar to reduce both sugar and fat.
3. Curb the carbs. Holiday meals can be loaded with sweet and starchy foods, which are high in carbohydrates. Limit the carbs by substituting mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes and removing the rolls from the table. If stuffing is a staple, use whole-wheat bread and replace some of it with hearty roasted vegetables, such as eggplant.
Cassandra Vanderwall, MS, a registered dietitian, helps patients with weight and chronic disease management.
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