Special holiday treats are part of the season’s charm. Everyone looks forward to seasonal goodies. But these foods often come with a high calorie punch. Fortunately, there are easy and tasty ways to reduce the calories and fat content of many favorites.
- Get rid of trans fat. Baked goods can be sources of trans fat. For home baked goods choose trans-fat-free tub margarines and canola oil instead of shortening or stick margarines. Read food labels and nix the items with partially hydrogenated fat which indicates trans fat.
- Use low-fat dairy. Whole milk products are sources of saturated fat. Using low-fat, skim milk, fat-free evaporated milk, and fat-free sweetened condensed milk can yield as mouth-watering a product as full-fat dairy. This is also true for the low-fat and fat-free versions of sour cream. Plain Greek yogurt is a tasty substitute for sour cream in twice-baked potatoes and casseroles. I have used fat-free yogurt to replace half of the fat in coffee cake recipes with pleasing results.
- Substitute egg whites for yolks. I have nothing against whole eggs. There is research that indicates healthy people can enjoy eggs several times a week with no ill effects. But at this time of year, we can go way over our allotment with all the egg-containing goodies around. With that in mind, two egg whites can be used in place of a whole egg, or use the egg substitutes in the dairy case.
- Replace chocolate chips with dried fruit. Raisins, chopped dates, and cranberries offer flavors of their own and add a chewy texture. If you must add the chips, reduce the amount and use dark chocolate.
- Create healthy dips to replace the sour cream types. Hummus, salsa, corn relish, and bean dips are more healthful choices than sour cream versions.
- Eat half of the special treat and share the other half with your spouse or good friend. This is a helpful tactic during the holidays or at any special event.
- Choose nuts for a healthy snack. Although high in fat, nuts contain fiber and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. An appropriate serving size for nuts is one-quarter cup.
One final note. Cookies are abundant at this time of year. Here is an easy recipe for low-fat meringue cookie:
Easy Meringue Cookies
2 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until peaks fold over. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Using a tablespoon, drop meringue unto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet into oven and turn oven off. Leave cookies in oven until oven has cooled. Gently remove cookies and store in a covered container. These will last for a few days.
Enjoy your holiday treats.
Photo Credit: Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The articles written by Andrea Wenger, Birmingham Diets Examiner, are for informational purposes only and are not to be used in the place of medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician or other medical professional before changing any health care routine or before starting any diet, fitness, or exercise program. Although every effort has been made to include the most current information, new information is released daily and may cause some recommendations to change.