Shopping Tips for the Holidays

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Tis the season to be merry, but wary.

Almost half of Americans will put on weight during the holiday season. Here are shopping and eating tips I share with supermarket tour attendees to help them enjoy the holidays and avoid unwanted pounds:

• Add chopped apples, unpeeled orange segments and raisins to prepare a delicious cranberry sauce and to increase fiber, vitamins A & C and iron. It is okay to reduce the sugar by 25%-50%, too.

• For an edible centerpiece and dessert, use lady apples, fresh cranberries, persimmons, pears, pomegranate chunks or kiwi in a horn-of-plenty. This makes an attractive centerpiece that encourages everyone to fill up on fruits during conversation. You’ll save calories and help meet your quota for 5 fruits and vegetables a day.

• Use light preserves instead of marshmallow topping for sweet potatoes and save roughly 40 calories.

• The vegetable section in your grocer’s produce section and freezer has all sorts of prepared vegetables to save you time. In most cases you just need to cook the items or set them out as raw snacks with no peeling or chopping required. Look for diced onions, sliced bell peppers,  winter squash, salsa, salads, stir fry medleys and festive vegetable medleys.

Shift your focus away from meat as the entree in your holiday meals. A hefty serving of broccoli or sweet potatoes supplies only 50 to 120 calories respectively compared to 250 in a four ounce serving of Cornish hen. Fill up your plate with veggies then add a little protein and starch.

• Use wine, low-fat chicken broth or fruit juice concentrate to baste and flavor poultry instead of butter or margarine. Try Welch’s Cranberry-Raspberry or Welch’s Orchard with Apple, Grape and Raspberry juices. The light versions have less than one half the calories of regular per serving.

• Omit added fat in homemade bread stuffing, which can have up to 26 grams of fat per cup. Use moistened dried fruit or apple sauce. Prepare your own bread cubes with hearty whole grain bread for more fiber.

• Stove-top reduced sodium stuffing mix has only 270 mg. versus 440 mg. sodium per half cup serving, a 25% reduction. Omit the margarine or butter called for on the package and you will reduce fat but not the flavor.

• If you use evaporated skim milk and egg whites or nonfat egg substitute, you can still enjoy pumpkin or custard pie. Try a dollop of fresh or frozen vanilla lowfat yogurt, a sprinkle of cinnamon-flavored sugar or a touch of sweetened cocoa to top holiday desserts instead of whipped cream and save 50 calories per tablespoon.

• Choose pumpkin pie versus pecan pie for a savings of 14 grams of fat and 316 calories per slice.

• One cup of classic eggnog can have 400 calories and 17 grams fat. Try powdered eggnog mixed with skim milk and you’ve saved 200 calories and 14 grams of fat. Soy eggnog is found in most stores and is delicious and lower in fat and calories than regular eggnog.

Try this Banana Nog from Food and Health Communications

Banana Nog

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 cup
Total Time: 5 min | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 0 min


4 bananas, peeled
1-1/2 cups skim milk
1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
pinch ground nutmeg


Place all ingredients, except nutmeg, in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth.

Pour into 4 fancy serving glasses and top each with a pinch nutmeg.

Serves 4. Each 1 cup serving: 198 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0gtrans fat, 7mg cholesterol, 114mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 26g sugars, 9g protein.

Allergens: Milk

Want more recipes that are printable with nutrition facts? Join now and use the code HOLIDAY2017 to save 11% off any membership or course through January 2018. Hurry! It's our best offer on current prices. Offer good on new orders and void where prohibited.

By Jacqueline Marcus, MS, RD, LD, CNS, FADA


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