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I'm Dreaming of a Light Christmas -- with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

WebMD Live Events Transcript; Event Date: Wednesday, December 15, 2004


MODERATOR: Low-fat yogurt with vanilla and cinnamon makes a nice dip for fruit.

MAGEE: For a small amount of effort, it makes a really nice presentation. I'm all for making fruit look good.

A couple other ideas for a quick appetizer buffet. So, so easy, is using that light cream cheese in a tub. Literally scooping it out, putting it on a nice serving dish, you can top this with a cranberry/orange or cranberry/raspberry compote or relish and serve with crackers. Another nice way to serve the cream cheese is to put jalapeño jelly on top and serve with crackers. I picked the jalapeño and cranberry because they're festive colors, but any unique and fancy relish or chutney would go nicely as a spread.

MODERATOR: Onion relish or mango pepper jelly is great too, as is Major Grey's chutney.

MAGEE: The key here is light cream cheese and serving it with something higher in fiber and lower in fat, like the crackers we talked about earlier. Even a nice sliced baguette can work; it's bread. If you can find a whole grain baguette, go for it. Even that is pretty good.

MODERATOR: Let's talk about holiday baking.

MEMBER QUESTION: I see a new sweetener advertised that is half Splenda and half sugar. Have you tried it yet? Does it work as well for baking as they say?

MAGEE: Great question. Thanks so much for asking. I created this blend -- ha ha! I've been using half sugar, half Splenda the last year myself. Basically what they've done is to blend it for you and sell it off the shelf that way. So have I tried the actual mixed product? No, because I mix it myself at home. I'll tell you why I prefer to do that, because in many recipes it will call for a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown. If I'm mixing it at home, I substitute it for the granulated (white) sugar, then add the brown sugar myself. I like the freedom of choosing to use it for the white sugar and add the brown sugar myself. Using this type of half Splenda/half white sugar equation tends to work pretty well. My husband tends to know when I've used Splenda, but most people are going to be in the dark that you've used half Splenda. It's just a simple way to cut the sugar calories in half without changing the texture or taste too much.

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