How to cook light for the holidays

If you are hosting this years holiday festivities, you can use that to your advantage to take control of what will be served.  You can make healthy swaps and substitutions that your guest will never notice and will keep everyone healthy this year!

Choose the Right Meat

When choosing your holiday meat, go for leaner cuts to avoid any added fat and calories.  Turkey and fish are great choices.  Choose the white meat over dark meat as it is leaner and less caloric.

Bake or broil your meat to reduce the fat content of frying.  Use vegetable oil spray instead of butter, remove the skin from poultry before eating, and always drain extra fat after cooking.  This will keep your meat tasty and healthy at the same time.

Need inspiration?  Here’s a recipe for a roasted turkey that is seasoned with a little bit of oil and a lot of herbs – no butter!

Make Smart Dairy Choices

When preparing casseroles or soups, choose low fat or non fat cheeses, creams and milk.  This will save on fat and calories but not reduce the taste of any side dish.  If your dish needs butter, use half the butter than the recipe calls for or use light whipped butter instead.

When baking, you can replace half of the butter in the recipe with Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin puree or applesauce.  You will still have the delicious flavor of the butter and not lose any moisture in your cake, biscuits or cookies!

Never baked with yogurt, pumpkin or applesauce before?  Here’s some ideas to spark your interest.

Pumpkin Yogurt Cake

Chocolate Banana Applesauce Cake

Greek Yogurt Biscuits

Make the majority of your side dishes vegetables

Vegetables are low in fat and calories, so choose a variety of these as side dishes for your holiday meal.  And avoid making your vegetables a caloric overload by adding heavy sauces, cheeses or butters as toppings.  Instead steam or bake vegetables to keep their nutrient content high, and use lemon, garlic, rosemary or other spices to add flavor.

veggies

Offer Healthier Desserts

You may still want to have a favorite holiday pie or cake, but offer healthier dessert options as well.  Fruit salad, yogurt and angel food cake are great choices for dessert that are lighter in calories but full of flavor.

 

 

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