Food News: Healthful Holidays

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Healthful holidays can be a tasteful reality with the integration of a few healthier solutions into traditional fares. Substitute lower-calorie, reduced-fat and lower-sodium products and leave your worries behind, along with those unwanted pounds.

Sensational Starters:
For a great low-calorie, high-fiber beginning prepared in minutes, serve a vegetable relish tray. Good suggestions: celery sticks, baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets and add a fat-free dip. To lower sodium further, add fat-free sour cream to ready-prepared dips.

Like cheese? Make your own healthier solution in minutes by adding: 8 ounces fat-free or light cream cheese, 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tablespoon dried or 3 tablespoons fresh herbs (try dill, oregano, basil, thyme and chives). Blend in a food processor and refrigerate to blend flavors. Serve with an assortment of fresh vegetables and whole grain crackers or pita triangles.

Shrimp cocktail is an elegant entrance that is low in calories and fat. Make your own low-sodium cocktail sauce with no-added-salt ketchup, fresh lemon juice and horseradish and save 190 mg sodium per tablespoon.

Main Menu:
Watch those birds! Find fresh turkeys or turkey breasts that have not been “pumped up” with high-fat and sodium solutions. To hold in moisture, try wrapping fresh turkeys in cheesecloth or a cooking bag after rubbing with desired seasonings.

If you prefer ham, buy 98% lean spiral hams and rinse before cooking to remove any added sodium. Although lower in fat, stick to a 3-ounce (size of a deck of cards) portion since it is still high in sodium and fill up on all the trimmings.

Slim Trimmings:
Need a cream soup for casseroles? Campbell’s® Healthy Request® line is lower in fat and sodium than their regular line of cream soups. You will save 4.5 g fat and 410 mg sodium per half-cup serving. Healthy Request® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup per 1/2-cup: 60 calories; 480 mg sodium; 2.5 g fat – compared to Campbell’s regular cream of mushroom condensed soup: 116 calories; 900 mg sodium; 8 g fat.

To make lower fat gravy chill meat juices, throw away fat layer and thicken with cornstarch. Need more gravy? Use Campbell’s® Healthy Request® chicken broth that trims 1.5 g fat and 580 mg sodium per cup from regular versions. You can also go with Very Low-Sodium Broth by Campbell’s or look for Health Valley brand. Another option is sodium-free chicken broth granules. Healthy Request® chicken broth per 1 cup: 30 calories; 405 mg sodium; 0 g fat compared to store brand chicken broth per 1 cup: 39 calories; 986 mg sodium; 1.5 g fat.

Like stuffing? Try Stove Top® Stuffing lower sodium mixes squeezing 200 mg sodium out and add lots of diced vegetables such as celery, shredded carrot, onion, bell pepper, water chestnuts and/or spinach. Better yet…substitute a wild rice medley using the Healthy Request® broth, chopped vegetables and dried cranberries for a tasteful change from traditional stuffing.

Remember to offer several steamed, baked or roasted vegetable combinations to balance out higher fat offerings.

Elegant Endings:
Baked pears or apples make a delectable dessert that is guilt free. To make: core fruits, stuff hollow core with dried raisins, apricots or cranberries seasoned with desired spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg). Pour fruit nectar over apples, cover with foil and bake in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. To serve, top with lowfat yogurt, slivered almonds and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Substitute a lowfat graham cracker crust for traditional high-fat flour crusts using reduced-fat graham cracker crumbs and light margarine to save 40 calories; 4 g fat; 80 mg sodium per 1/8 pie slice.

Slim down traditional pumpkin or sweet potato pies with three easy changes. Use evaporated skim milk instead of evaporated whole milk to remove 10 g fat and 70 calories per half-cup. Swap two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg beaters for each whole egg and save 50 calories and 5 g fat. Also try substituting cup-for-cup Splenda® sugar substitute for granulated sugar for a 700-calorie savings per cup.

For eggnog consider Silk® Nog. This soy-based product is delicious and a lot lower in fat and calories than regular soymilk.

If you are going to use whipped cream, go fat-free and watch portion size.
By Vicki Adcock, RD,?LD.

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