Festive, Not Fattening
Tastes Good, Too
The Hampl Strategy
Jeff Hampl, PhD, RD, an assistant professor of nutrition at Arizona State
University in Mesa, cooks Christmas dinner for family and friends and knows all
about substitution, too. He suggests replacing oil with an equal amount of
applesauce when baking cakes. "No one can tell," promises Hampl, a
spokesman for the American Dietetic Association.
Spreading out the high-fat foods over the course of the dinner
is another strategy. "It's a shame not to prepare [some traditional]
foods," he says. "Modify the recipe as much as you can." Then just
don't serve them all at once. His main course, for instance, is goose -- high
in fat. A 3.5-ounce serving with skin has 305 calories and a
whopping 21.9 grams of fat. But he limits the damage by using a turkey baster
to remove the fat from the pan every 45 minutes.
The Ayoob Approach
For a decade, Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, an associate professor of
pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has flown from New York
to San Francisco each year to prepare a holiday dinner for at least a dozen
family members and friends. He has several techniques for preserving flavor
without tipping the fat scales.
Take old favorites and give them a nutritious and interesting
twist. For instance, instead of fixing sweet potatoes with butter, he slices
the potatoes into three-quarter-inch thick chunks and cooks them covered in
apple or pineapple juice. He starts the meal with a huge salad of vegetables.
And he serves steamed (green) broccoli with red peppers, giving the meal a
seasonal flair. "Combine foods for color," says Ayoob, a spokesman for
the American Dietetic Association, and the result is a lot of eye appeal.
Like Tribole, he aims not for zero fat but less of it. "I
rub the inside of the turkey with a bit of butter, but I also use herbs and
garlic," he says. For the dressing, he combines onion, celery, garlic,
chicken broth, and seasoned bread cubes. And he uses fresh herbs whenever he
Indulge the family's love of traditional favorites. "My Mom
is Greek and likes stuffed grape leaves," Ayoob says. "They can be a
little high in fat, so she makes them without meat" to reduce the
Offer Options, Keep Perspective
Aware that some holiday diners may be more weight-conscious than others,
dietitians suggest giving people many options. "Set up the dinner as a
buffet and guests can pick and choose," Ayoob suggests.
And don't be too strict with yourself or your guests. Holiday
dinners only come around once a year. Half the fun is eating foods we normally
pass up or don't have time to prepare.