Incredibly, this year, Thanksgiving Day and the first day of Chanukah fall out on Thursday, November 28th—the same day! These holidays will not coincide on the same day again for another70,000 years. That is a fact. Therefore, it is time to perhaps cook as unique as this particular holiday time! Of course, this column is going to have a healthy twist to it, so I begin with a few tips of keeping that “holiday balance”—hopefully not having to change into a larger pair of pants after the evening —and perhaps not having to make that New Year’s Resolution–again!
FIVE WAYS TO DINE: DON’T UNDERMINE YOUR WAISTLINE!
1. Make your holiday grocery list with your heart health in mind (…and your family’s!). Go through your holiday recipes, and replace ingredients with lower fat and lower sugar versions. Send me an email if your guests notice the difference in taste (they won’t)!
- King Arthur’s or 365 Whole Wheat Flour
- Low fat cottage cheese and sour cream and mayonnaise
- For sugar, use ½ sugar and ½ sugar substitute in your recipe
- Use trans-fat-free margarines instead of butter
- Use Lite Cool Whip instead of whipped cream
- Low fat milk instead of whole milk
2. Though it is already “holiday time”, do not give yourself permission to “start later” with your healthful eating habits—like January 1. Don’t do it! You can still maintain some good control through the temptations of the holidays. Pick out what you are willing to do.
3. Give yourself some holiday confidence. Do some pre-planning of your holiday meals: “I want to eat the sweet potatoes and the stuffing—so I will just have small scoops of each!”; “The desserts look incredible—so maybe I will skip tonight’s wine/cocktails and have dessert instead!” Isn’t life made up of trade-offs? So is this….
4. Keep moving! This part, as I have said over and over, is NOT negotiable. If you get “too busy” to participate in your regular exercise regimen, use those little tips i.e. break up the exercise into 10 minutes, 2-3 times per day; continue to park at the back of the Publix parking lot and walk in; take stairs when possible; walk a couple of extra laps in the mall while shopping, and get back into your regular routine as soon as you are willing.
5. After your meal is over, invite your guests into your living room for conversation, music, family games, whatever! The longer you sit around your holiday table filled with goodies, the more you will eat! Does that sound familiar??
ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAYS AND THESE RECIPES!
SAVORY CORNBREAD STUFFING (adapted from NY Times Martha Rose Shulman)—serves 8
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, organic stone ground
- 1/2 cup King Arthur’s whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 T Baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup plain LF yogurt or buttermilk
- ½ cup low fat milk
- 1T honey
- 2T Smart Balance margarine
- PAM cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the cornmeal in a bowl, and sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the mixture with a whisk. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt (or buttermilk), milk and honey. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture, just until blended.
3. Melt margarine and add to the batter.
4. Spray a heavy 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
5. Pour all of the batter into the pan, and place in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It will be quite brown on the edges. Allow the bread to cool in the pan, or serve warm.
GUILTLESS GRAVY (adapted from the National Turkey Foundation)
- 4 cups turkey stock and defatted pan juices
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring stock and pan juices to a boil.
- Meanwhile, blend the cornstarch and water until smooth.
- Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling pan juices. Continue to stir until thickened.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
SWEET POTATO PANCAKES/LATKES—makes 24 pancakes
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
- 3 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 ½ cups low fat milk
- ¼ c Smart Balance Margarine
- 1-2 T canola oil
- Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan of boiling water, and cook until tender but firm, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, and immediately immerse in cold water to loosen skins. Drain, remove skins, chop, and mash.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and margarine in a separate medium bowl. Blend sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to form a batter.
- Preheat a lightly greased griddle over low-medium-high heat. Drop batter mixture onto the prepared griddle by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook until golden brown, turning once with a spatula when the surface begins to bubble.
APPLE AND CRANBERRY CRUMBLE TART
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (see above for brand)
- ¼ cup plus 2T sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup Smart Balance margarine
- 6 cups Granny Smith or Red Delicious or Fuji apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 T cornstarch
- PAM cooking spray
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Combine flour, ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar and margarine in a small bowl. Mix with a fork, until crumbly.
3) In a large mixing bowl, combine apples and cranberries, remaining 2T sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and cornstarch. Mix well.
4) In a square baking dish, spray PAM cooking spray. Pour the fruit mixture into the baking dish, and top with flour mixture.
5) Bake for 40-45 minutes.
FESTIVE “WHITE” TRIFLE
- 1 box (4 servings) vanilla pudding (sugar-free fat-free)
- 14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
- 14 oz. can water (same as above can)
- 16 oz. container Cool Whip Lite
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Low Fat Pound Cake (i.e. Sara Lee Light ‘n Dreamy), sliced thinly
- ½ pint fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2-3 bananas, sliced
- In a large mixing bowl, prepare the pudding mixture. Mix sweetened condensed milk with pudding powder and can of water. Add vanilla. Mix well. Fold in Lite Cool Whip. Refrigerate for one hour.
- In a trifle bowl, place slices of pound cake at the bottom. Layer with pudding mixture, then cover pudding with strawberries and banana.
- Layer once again, cake, pudding, fruit. Decorate final top layer with fruit.
Ronni Litz Julien, MS, RD/LDN is a licensed nutritionist and author. Ronni Litz Julien Nutrition provides nutritional consultations for life-long programs, weight management, cholesterol and lipid health, diabetes, eating disorders. Children, adults and families in the privacy of your own home.