Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips

Lisa Nelson Health Pro
  • Are you the cook for your holiday festivities? If so, here are a few tips you can use to help you stick with your heart healthy goals this holiday season while making healthier options for those around you.


    Now, this doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the flavors you love! I'm not suggesting you tamper with your favorite family recipe that's been passed down through the generations; however, you can modify newer recipes to better balance out your holiday meal. As you plan your holiday menu you want to balance out heavy dishes with lighter fare.


    Here are a few examples of how you can adjust your holiday menu:

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    1. Instead of serving the typical cheese and crackers appetizer you could serve fruit kabobs with fresh mint and orange juice sauce.
    2. Taking the time to remove the skin from your turkey is an easy way to avoid unneeded calories and fat.
    3. Instead of serving the traditional green bean casserole with cream soup and French fried onions you can prepare green beans with a lemon Dijon sauce. Still tastes grab with significantly less fat and calories.

    Let's not forget some easy recipe substitutions!

    1. In baked goods, replace butter, margarine, and oils with applesauce and fruit purees.
    2. When preparing pumpkin pie replace the cream or evaporate whole milk and 2 eggs with evaporate skim milk and 3 eggs whites.
    3. Improve creamy dips, appetizers, and other side dishes by replacing the mayonnaise with a blend of real mayonnaise and fat-free sour cream.

    Now, do you really need a refrigerator full of leftovers? Try to get a head count of who will be attending so you do not prepare too much food. If you do have a lot of leftovers package up small "to go" containers for your guests. You could also freeze reasonable portion sizes as way to avoid going overboard on the days that follow the holidays for fear the food will spoil. It'll be easy to defrost portions in the weeks to come and enjoy without having to overdo it in a short period of time.


    What's the other big problem for the family cook? Grazing while you cook! Watch out because all those little nibbles can add up quickly. When it's time to eat you want to be able to sit down and savor your meal!


    Be sure to sign up for The Heart of Health and receive the free report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Habits at


Published On: November 16, 2009