Helpful tips for the holiday

Happy Holidays!

Holidays do not have to be a nutrition disaster.

Invited to a family gathering? Here are some simple suggestions for making your traditional dinner healthier.

Traditional Menu    Calories  Fat (grams)  VS. Healthy Alternatives    Calories   Fat (grams)   

Fresh raw vegetable (1/2 cup)   50                  0          No change                                         50                0

Vegetable Dip (2 tbsp)                  60                  0        Made with non-fat sour cream    20                0

Dark Turkey (5 oz.)                      262                 10       White Turkey  (3 oz.)                    129                3

Gravy (1/2 cup)                               58                   4        Gravy (Use only 1/4 cup)               29                 2

Stuffing (1 cup)                              340                18        Only 1/2 cup serving                      170                9

Cranberry Sauce (1/4 cup)           90                 0           No change                                          90                 0

Mashed Potatoes (1/2 cup)       130                   6         Prepared with non-fat sour cream       82           0

prepared with butter & whole milk

Vegetable casserole (3/4 cup)    135                   8      Steamed vegetables (1/2 cup)               25               0

Dinner roll with butter                100                  6        Don’t add butter                                      60                2

Sweet Potatoes (1/2 cup)              164                 3       Mashed with syrup, no butter            106                0

Candied with brown sugar and butter

Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream   350          20     1/2 piece with no whipped cream    160            8

Traditional Total                        1739          79       Healthier Total                             921                      24

Traditional meal is 41% fat.                                       Healthier meal is 28% fat.

Plan to eat less for breakfast and lunch and less on the days before and after, if you expect to eat this large a meal. But don’t starve yourself the day of the meal.You save 818 calories and 55 grams of fat by making these small changes!  WOW!

  •         There are so many good foods! Take smaller portions (1/2 cup or less).
  • Alternatively, you don’t have to eat everything that is served. Focus on your favorite holiday foods and skip the foods you regularly eat (like dinner rolls).
  • Use a smaller plate.
  • Fill up on foods that contain the fewest calories first.
  • Take a walk after dinner. Invite your family and friends to walk with you.


Build A Better Recipe:

Add Flavor Without the Fat

Because fat can add a lot of calories, reducing the amount of hidden fat or added fat in your foods can help to reduce calories. Look for high-fat ingredients in your recipes and use low-fat ingredients instead:

Instead of… Use…
Regular ground beef or pork sausage Ground turkey breast (lean only no skin)
Regular cheese Fat-free or low-fat cheese (less than 2 grams of fat per ounce)
Sour cream Low-fat or nonfat sour cream or plain, nonfat yogurt
Margarine, oil, or butter* Low-fat or fat-free margarine, vegetable oil spray
Chocolate Cocoa powder plus a small amount of low-fat margarine (see instructions on cocoa label)
Pork or bacon fat for seasoning Small amount of trimmed pork loin chop, extra lean trimmed ham, or turkey ham
Cream soup Low-fat cream soups or flavored white sauce made without fat
Evaporated milk Evaporated skim milk
Whole eggs 2 egg whites, egg substitute
Regular mayonnaise or salad dressing Non-fat or low-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing, plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt
Whole milk or heavy cream Skim, 1%, or evaporated skim milk
  • In recipes for cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads, try cutting the amount of margarine/butter by 1/3 or ½ and replace with the same amount of unsweetened applesauce, pureed prunes, or skim milk.
  • Experiment with different herbs, spices, seasoning mixtures, flavored vinegars, mustards, and low-fat sauces.
  • Make even healthier menu changes. Serve a colorful fresh fruit salad instead of pie or rice instead of stuffing (try mixing wild and white rice for a special touch)
  • Don’t add the cheese topping to a casserole.
  • Make spaghetti sauce without the meat.
  • Spray frying pan with vegetable spray and use a fraction of the oil to brown meat or onions.
  • Trim fat from meat; take the skin off of chicken and choose white meat.
  • After cooking, drain and rinse browned ground beef.
  • Refrigerate a soup or stew until the fat becomes solid and skim the fat from the top.
  • Buy lean cuts (round, loin, leg)
  • Bake, roast, broil, barbeque, grill instead of fry.
  • Blot fat with a paper towel.
  • Try salsa, nonfat sour cream, or low-fat yogurt for a topping on a potato.

2 thoughts on “Helpful tips for the holiday

Add yours

    1. The recipe you sent has too much sugar for a diabetic with no substitutions. Also, the calories, carbs, fat etc…are not listed. Thanks for trying though.

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