Tips for eating healthy during the holidays

suggestions for ways to eat healthier and still enjoy the traditional holiday foods.

Traditional holiday foods are not known for their low calories or healthy ingredients. There are some suggestions for ways to eat healthier and still enjoy the traditional foods. Substituting healthier ingredients in high calorie recipes can lower the fat, salt and sugar. 

Avoid the use of refined or processed sugars, such as table sugar, brown sugar, corn sweeteners, corn syrup, honey and molasses. Try to use more fresh fruits or purchase canned fruits that are packed in water or their own juice. Limit jams, jellies or candies made with processed sugars. Substitute dried fruits for candy. 

Reduce salt and sodium by using mixtures of herbs and spices instead of salt, onion, garlic powder and garlic salt. For recipes in which salt is only providing taste, reduce the amount or omit completely. 

Reduce total fat by using evaporated skim milk for cream when mixing whipped topping. The evaporated milk, mixing bowl and beaters must be well chilled for milk to whip. Substituting plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt for sour cream in baking recipes or sauces will lower the fat content. Alternatives to frying include: roasting, baking, braising, stewing, poaching, grilling, broiling, sautéing, stir-frying or microwaving. Healthier choices of oils include: corn, soybean, safflower, canola, sunflower, cottonseed, sesame seed, peanut or olive. Reduce saturated fat by removing the skin of chicken and other poultry products and use leaner cuts of meat and cut away visible fat. 

The use of whole grains, such as whole-wheat breads and cereals will increase your intake of dietary fiber.  Serve fresh fruits as appetizers or with salads or desserts. Include vegetables in your menu or as ingredients for dips, soups or cooked dishes. 

Another way of controlling the amount of fats you eat is to reduce the amount of food you eat. Enjoy high calorie foods but only eat small portions. Many of your favorite recipes can be modified to make them more nutrients dense and lower in fat by reducing or substituting ingredients that are more acceptable. Instead of modifying your existing recipes, you can also find other recipes that are similar to yours that have less fat or sugar and more nutritious ingredients. Remember, recipes are only guidelines for preparing food. Do not be afraid to experiment!

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