Help, It’s The Holidays! Healthy Cooking Tips

by Kim Arnold, RDN

It’s that time of year again; my favorite time of year!   The crisp air, the decorations, the gatherings with family and friends…and the over-abundance of rich meals and sweet treats.  Okay, maybe that part isn’t so great.  For those of you trying to lose weight or maintain it, this happy time of year can quickly turn into a stressful and frustrating experience.  If you try to ignore those favorite foods that you look forward to at the holidays, you are likely to feel deprived and eventually devour twice as much.  So what should you do?

1.     Keep Hunger In check!  Follow your regular schedule leading up to the event.  If you arrive starving, the chances are that you will overindulge.

2.     Drink water.  For every caloric beverage you have, drink 1 glass of water.  It will help keep you hydrated and reduce those empty calories.

3.     Offer to bring a favorite dish.  Incorporate some of these healthier ‘tweaks’, take a reasonable portion and ENJOY!

Want to reduce calories and overall fat content in your favorite baked goods?  Replace half of the shortening, butter or oil with a fruit puree.  Try unsweetened applesauce, prunes in chocolate recipes or peaches in muffins or spiced cakes.  You may have to reduce baking time by 25% (more time to shop – bonus!)  If you usually use whole milk, half and half or evaporated milk, switch to low-fat milk, fat-free half and half or evaporated skim milk.

And while you are at it, why not add some calcium and protein!  For every 1 cup of butter in your traditional recipe, use ½ cup of butter and ¼ cup low-fat yogurt.  It works with oil as well.  Just use ¾ cup of Greek yogurt instead of 1 cup of oil.

Check out these and more in the attached chart.

Happy Holidays!

Kimberly Arnold RDN is a nutrition consultant and owner of Creative Health Solutions, LLC in Ringoes, NJ. She specializes in adult & pediatric nutrition education and corporate wellness.

Barbara Spalding RDN Culinary Dietitian

Hi, I am

Barbara Spalding MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian

As a dietitian and world traveler, I love bold flavors — in food and in life. 14 years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole into Breast Cancer Wonderland. Since then, I’ve learned to cook differently while savoring the pleasures of food and companionship. I’ve built a resilient new life and a bold new kitchen. Let me show you the flavors of the world.
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