'Tis the season for holiday parties! Those parties are filled with festive dishes and desserts, which are traditionally made with high-fat ingredients and make it a challenging time of year for healthy choices. Healthy holiday eating is possible though.
--Cut the sweetness: Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by a third and enhance sweetness with fruit. With pumpkin pie or eggnog, reduce the amount of sugar by half and enhance sweetness by adding more vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
--Lower the fat: In baked goods, cut the fat by replacing half the butter or oil in recipes with unsweetened applesauce, prune puree, or mashed banana.
--Add fiber: Use half whole-wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose flour. This improves nutrition without compromising taste.
--Go Greek! Greek yogurt is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and can be used in a variety of recipes to decrease calories and fat. Try nonfat plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise.
Whether hosting or attending a holiday party, consider a healthy alternative to bring or serve. Here are some of my holiday favorites.
Cranberry Nut Muffins
2 egg whites
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts lightly toasted
--Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
--Combine egg whites, orange juice, orange zest, sugar, and canola oil.
--Combine flours, oat bran, baking powder, and salt.
--Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients.
--Fold in the flour-dusted cranberries and nuts (To avoid sinking fruit, dust them with 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour prior to adding them to the recipe.)
--Spray muffin tins lightly with cooking spray. Fill 2/3 with batter. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until pick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
Nutrition Information: (per muffin)
Calories 156, Total fat 3g, Saturated fat 0.2g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 28g, Fiber 3g, Protein 4g, Sodium 75mg
Goat Cheese and Vegetable Lasagna
8 oz soft goat cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 14-oz jars prepared pasta sauce (or make your own)
1 lb lasagna noodles, whole wheat if possible, boiled according to package directions
4 cups baby arugula
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers
1/4 cup grated parmesan
--Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix goat cheese, thyme, basil, oregano, and garlic in a medium bowl.
--Spread 1 cup pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Add one layer of cooked lasagna noodles.
--Top lasagna with arugula, spinach, and red peppers. Dollop spoonfuls of the goat cheese mixture over vegetables. Repeat layers, finishing with pasta and sauce.
--Sprinkle grated parmesan on top of the lasagna. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
--Let lasagna stand 10 minutes for easier cutting. Slice into 8 pieces and serve.
Tip: Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the cooking water to stop the noodles from sticking together once they're drained.
Nutrition Information: (per slice)
Calories 331, Total fat 8g, Saturated fat 4g, Carbohydrates 54, Fiber 4g, Sodium 465mg, Protein 18g
For additional nutrition guidance, please visit the Front Desk to schedule an appointment with one of our nutrition experts.