Healthy Holiday Substitutions for healthier meals

MSU Extension

During the holiday season, eating healthy can seem downright impossible. Between shopping for the holidays, family and work responsibilities and sometimes not enough sleep, temptation to indulge in your favorite holiday foods can be hard to resist. This holiday season, instead of feeling bad about making and eating your favorite holiday dishes and treats, make some simple substitutions to bump up the nutrition and decrease the fat, calories, and sodium in your recipes to have a healthier holiday season. Check out the following tips on making healthy holiday substitutions.

Making Healthy Holiday Substitutions:
• Flour: Try substituting whole wheat flour for half of the called for all-purpose flour in baked goods such as cakes and muffins to increase the nutrient content of your treats. Whole grains provide many nutrients vital for health, such as dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals.

• Cream: Top off holiday pies with frozen or low-fat yogurt instead of whipped cream or ice cream. When recipes call for sour cream, use plain, low-fat or fat-free yogurt to make snacks that are lower in fat and calories.

• Seasoning Salt: When the recipe calls for seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt, or onion salt try using herb only seasoning, such as garlic powder, celery seed, onion flakes, or use finely chopped herbs garlic, celery, or onions. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, a healthy adult should not exceed 2,300 mg of sodium a day, however many Americans consume twice that amount.

• Eggs: For cakes, cookies, and quick breads try using egg whites or cholesterol free egg substitute instead of whole eggs. Two egg whites or ¼ cup cholesterol free egg substitute can be used in many recipes in place of one whole egg. One large egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol, which is all located in the yolk, and it is recommended that healthy adults limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day. Egg whites contain no cholesterol.

The National Institutes of Health say Americans gain about a pound every winter holiday season. Although one pound sounds small, over several years this adds up. Remember, obesity doesn’t happen overnight, pounds accumulate slowly over time. So start a tradition this holiday season by getting creative and making your holiday recipes healthier through simple substitutions.

Red and Green Salad
3 cups mixed salad greens
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup walnut pieces
3 sliced green onions
1/3 cup fat-free raspberry vinaigrette

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour raspberry vinaigrette over salad mixture, and toss well. Yield 4 (3/4 –cup) servings.

Per Servings:
Calories 112 Fat 4.5g Protein 2.8g Carbohydrate 21.1g
Fiber 2.3g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 125mg
Exchanges: 1 Fruit, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat
Recipe Source: Quick and Easy Diabetic Recipes