Holiday Recipes Makeover
Traditional holiday dishes can stir up a bad case of heartburn - as well as pack on the pounds. Here's how to lighten your favorite recipes, but keep the satisfying taste.
What's a holiday feast without a turkey or a roast with all the
Indeed, that's what we love about the holidays -- all that rich satisfying
food we don't often get. We load up the dinner plate with our favorites, then
go back for more. Trouble is, those foods are full of fat. For people prone to
heartburn, too much fat - and too much food - that is just asking for
"Holiday foods are rich, festive foods, which is why we gravitate toward
them," Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, tells WebMD. "These are foods we don't
normally eat, and we tend to indulge in them. That's what gets us into
In the kitchen, there are tricks that cooks can use to lighten the fare.
"No one's here to take away the traditional flavors," says Magee, who
is WebMD Weight Loss Clinic's 'Recipe Doctor.' "We have a way of making
mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pie a few pounds lighter
(in fat) without compromising taste and integrity."
To make a lighter version of turkey gravy, use the brown bits at the bottom
of the pan to flavor your gravy, she suggests. "Don't add too much of the
actual fat, because the flavor is in the brown bits... not so much the
'drippings.' For creamy gravy, I use fat-free half-and-half or low-fat or whole
milk instead of real half-and-half."
Magee's book Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Acid Reflux offers these
- Most pumpkin pie recipes call for at least 1 cup of cream or evaporated
whole milk and 2 eggs. Use evaporated skim and 3 egg whites to cut about 300
calories and 30-38 grams of fat.
- Buy brown-and-serve bread rolls instead of higher-fat crescent rolls to cut
about 1,100 extra calories and about 100 grams of fat per dozen.
- Use light cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese in your holiday
dips, spreads, and cheesecakes to cut about 16 grams of fat per cup of cream
- Use a great tasting fat-free sour cream (like "Naturally Yours" in
the black-and-white cow hide container) for dips, spreads, and potato dishes to
cut about 320 calories and about 35 grams of fat per cup of sour cream.
- Use reduced-fat cheese in cheese logs, appetizers, and side dishes to cut
36 grams of fat and 320 calories for every 8 ounces.
- Make dips, appetizers, and side dishes using a blend of real mayonnaise and
fat-free sour cream. This cuts over 1,000 calories and 132 grams of fat per cup
When we cut fat, we cut calories and heartburn, Magee tells WebMD. "The
dish still tastes great, so there's still a feeling of satisfaction."
Her stuffing recipe, for instance, uses much less butter than traditional
recipes -- with chicken broth serving as the substitute. Also, her recipe
doesn't use spicy sausage. "Both the spices and the fatty sausage can be
problematic for people," Magee tells WebMD. "A traditional recipe for
dressing would have twice the fat that's in my recipe."
Here's another tip: When going to a potluck, take a "safe" dish -
one you know you can eat without heartburn trouble. "You'll know there's at
least one thing there you can eat," Magee says.
Here are three recipes from recipe doctor Elaine Magee, MPH, RD.