Merry Makeovers: Healthy Holiday Foods
No matter what traditional treats are on your table, keep your feasting healthy with these buff buffet strategies.
Happy holidays! Wherever you come from or wherever you're going home to this
season, here's how to serve up fare that is both festive and light. Whether
your table offerings lean toward Norman Rockwell-worthy all-American, Latino,
Jewish, Italian, or German traditions, the time-honored dishes you love can be
made with less fat and fewer calories -- without sacrificing taste.
Healthy Holiday Foods: American
Inspired by the foods ladled up by the Pilgrims, the traditional American
meal has come to mean eggnog, hot apple cider, and gingerbread cookies on Dec.
24. Christmas Day is usually spent with relatives over a big meal centered
around an oven-roasted turkey, honey-baked ham, or other impressive cut of meat
-- accompanied by all the fixins.
Traditional treat: What's a holiday office cocktail party without
savory finger foods, creamy dips, and fried canapés?
Leaner eat: Bypass the chips and other fried pound-packers and help
yourself to a small handful of nuts, reduced-fat cheese and fresh fruit, or
chilled shrimp, says Arthur Agatston, MD, author of The South
Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook: Healthy Recipes for Entertaining Family and Friends. Or
serve a hummus dip with a holiday-themed veggie platter: red or green pepper,
zucchini, and jicama strips.
Traditional treat: Dark turkey meat covered in gravy -- because
nobody, but nobody, wants to eat the breast meat (not till the next day, that
is, when everyone wants white-meat turkey sandwiches, slathered with mayo).
Leaner eat: Choose lower-fat white meat without the skin
and enjoy it with just a drizzle of gravy made with defatted pan juices, dry
white wine, and low-sodium chicken broth, Agatston tells WebMD.
Traditional treat: A "must" at most Americans' holiday table
is a big mound of mashed potatoes drowning in butter and salt.
Leaner eat: Enjoy vitamin-rich mashed sweet potatoes or baked sweet
potato rounds or fries. Spritz the strips with cooking spray, add a dash of
cinnamon, and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Traditional treat: Corn bread stuffing cooked inside a turkey is a
mainstay of the meal for many and usually loaded with a variety of meats, nuts,
and veggies, with plenty of butter, of course.
Leaner eat: Try wild rice as stuffing instead, and bake it separately
in a covered casserole. Cooked inside the turkey, the stuffing absorbs too much
fat from the meat.
Traditional treat: Sweet, rich, oh-so-fattening pecan pie is a
holiday highlight. While the antioxidant-packed nuts are good for you, in
moderation, the corn syrup, butter, and sugar can pad your hips with up to 800
calories per slice.
Leaner eat: Opt for a small slice of pie minus the crust, and make it
pumpkin, which is lower in fat and calories and also provides a good dose of
beta-carotene. Or try a couple of strawberries dipped in chocolate, Agatston