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(Boston) – Thanksgiving is one of the highest calorie-consuming days in the entire year. Americans eat more than 690 million pounds of turkey on this day each year, not to mention the sides and desserts that go along
While holidays are a time of celebration and spending time with family and friends, they are also considered a time when tend to overindulge, adding excess calories and fat to our diet. However, not all holiday meals, including Thanksgiving, have to be high in calories or fat. Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., a clinical assistant professor of nutrition at Boston University (BU) Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences teaches that you can still enjoy favorite holiday foods without expanding your waistline.
“It is possible to still eat healthy during the holidays,” says Salge Blake, who recommends eating the traditional main dishes, such as turkey, while substituting appetizers, side dishes, and desserts with healthier menu options. “By allowing yourself to eat the traditional main courses but substituting your side dishes, you can still follow family tradition but also add a new healthy twist on your holiday meals.”
Try using the following tips to add nutrition while decreasing fat and calories to your favorite sides and desserts:
• Use olive oil or canola oil to replace half or more of butter or stick margarine. Your holiday baked goods will have less artery-clogging saturated and trans fats with the same great taste.
• Use non-fat evaporated milk instead of cream. Blend the heated milk with a little flour for a thickened “creamy” sauce substitute in pasta dishes and casseroles.
• Reduce sugar by one-third in recipes. Recipes with other flavorful ingredients are sweet enough with half the sugar. You can also add naturally sweet dried chopped dates, raisins or apricots to cookies and bars for treats with less sugar and more nutrition.
• Use whole wheat flour or rolled oats to substitute for half of all-purpose white flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is also available for recipes requiring a lighter texture, such as cakes and pies.
• Add canned pumpkin to sweet bread recipes to reduce the added fat by half. Pumpkin will add natural moistness and a boost of vitamins and minerals to all types of bread and bar cookies.
• Use one-third less mini chocolate morsels, rather than jumbo size chocolate chips, in your cookie recipes. These smaller size morsels allow you to use less and help to spread the chocolate flavor throughout the batter.
For those looking for new ideas, Salge Blake offers a variety of recipes on her Web site that are perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
For instance, her Stuffed Sweet Potatoes contain 102 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving while traditional sweet potatoes have double the amount of calories. “They taste just as delicious as normal sweet potatoes, but have half the calories and fat,” says Salge Blake.
By combining old recipe traditions with new, everyone can enjoy a happy and healthy holiday this season. In addition, you can gain a head-start on your New Year’s resolution by eating healthier today.
To access Salge Blake’s recipe collection, please visit: http://people.bu.edu/salge/index.html. A selection of these recipes is also attached, including an appetizer, side dish and a dessert.
Boston University (BU) Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is an institution of higher education, research and clinical centers whose premier academic programs prepare dynamic health professionals and whose research and leadership in the health and rehabilitation sciences is actively shaping health care. BU Sargent College is the only private institution in the country offering five nationally ranked graduate programs in health and rehabilitation sciences. For more information and to learn about degree programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, communication disorders, health sciences, athletic training, nutrition, and rehabilitation counseling, visit http://www.bu.edu/sargent.