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Merry Makeovers: Healthy Holiday Foods

No matter what traditional treats are on your table, keep your feasting healthy with these buff buffet strategies.
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Healthy Holiday Foods: American continued...

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 says.

Healthy Holiday Foods: Latino

Families in Latin American countries traditionally gather on Christmas Eve to share ponche (eggnog-like drink) and a meal. But the fun starts long before the holiday, as relatives get together on weekends to help make the festivities' tamales. Think of it as a merry assembly line: One person makes the masa or ground corn dough, another prepares the pork, and still another is in charge of putting the right amount of masa in the corn husk, adding the pork and chile, and at the end, closing the corn husk just the right way.

Traditional treat: Depending on where it is made, ponche, the Latino-style eggnog, may contain less sugar and be free of heavy cream, unlike its American classic counterpart. The tradition is to add rum and/or fruit. Some versions are made with whole milk and condensed milk, others with only evaporated milk. And Puerto Rico's version of ponche contains cream of coconut and is called "coquito."

Leaner eat: Buy a lower-fat version and skip the alcohol to save calories per cup of eggnog, says Malena Perdomo, RD, a dietitian in the Prevention Department of Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Latino nutrition spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Or make it yourself the way Latinos do (that way you can use fewer egg yolks and more egg whites). And if the recipe calls for heavy cream or evaporated milk, reach for fat-free evaporated milk instead.

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