Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Healthy Substitutes to Traditional, High-Fat Holiday Foods for Those on Strict Diets

Don’t Leave the Holiday Table Feeling like a Bloated, Bowl Full of Jelly

For those on strict, weight loss or medically prescribed diets, splurging during the holidays is not an option. Gradually forming new habits and achieving weight-loss goals will not be effective if interrupted for the holidays. Instead, use the holidays as the ultimate challenge towards your healthy future.
Green Bean Casserole 
Skip the green bean casserole and go for the vegetarian salad with no more than a teaspoon of salad dressing. Green bean casseroles are traditionally made with cream of mushroom soup and butter which will provide you with at least 8 grams of fat per one cup serving. Plus, you can tack on a few more grams of fat if there's cheese involved. A green salad made with only fresh vegetables will provide a host of vitamins, minerals and fiber in addition to being low in fat.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy 
Mashed potatoes and gravy are the most difficult holiday favorite to avoid. But if you substitute baked yams or sweet potatoes with an herb seasoning mix, you won't be disappointed. Traditional mashed potatoes are made with butter and whole milk then served smothered in fat-laden gravy. A one cup serving of mashed potatoes and gravy will provide 10 to 18 grams of fat. A one cup serving of yams or sweet potatoes served roasted with an Italian herb blend will only cost you up to 1 gram of fat plus you'll get a healthy boost of vitamin A, folate and more than 5 grams of fiber.
If you're serving the turkey this year, skip the stuffing and serve wild rice instead. Your turkey will cook faster if it's not stuffed and you'll be adding a low-fat alternative to the traditional bread crumb, butter and turkey drippings, stuffing mix. Stuffing cooked in a turkey cavity will provide you with around 5-10 grams of fat where wild rice will only provide around .5 grams per ½ cup serving.
Traditional pies are made with loads of sugar and butter, lard or hydrogenated, trans-fats. For dessert this year, try fresh fruit and dip made from low-fat yogurt and pureed berries. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fruit to keep it from browning. Stick with this pie alternative and you will eliminate 10-20 grams of fat per 1/8 slice of a 9" pie.
Forget the fatty egg nog, sugary punch or high-calorie alcoholic beverages this year and try something new. An iced mint, green tea served in a punch bowl with pureed cantaloupe as flavoring is delicious and won't make you feel bloated. Plus mint is considered an anti-spasmodic which simply means it calms the gastrointestinal tract.
Snacking during social events is one the first challenges to tackle in a weight loss plan. Instead of putting out potato chips for the quick grab, consider the old stand-by, vegetables and dip. A low-fat dip can be made with yogurt mixed with dill or a crushed garlic clove. Fresh vegetables can include broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and bell peppers.
These are just a few ideas to help you through the holidays. Keep your portions of turkey, baked not deep-fried, or ham to about a 2 ounce serving which is smaller than a deck of cards. Blaze a new trail and take control of your health with leaner foods. Just think you may become the example that others follow.