Tips to eating healthy during the holidays

A few ideas to help make your favorite holiday dishes a little more nutritious.

Healthy eating is not always easy during the holidays. Michigan State University Extension has some simple tips to make those tasty holiday treats healthier.

Using some ingredient substitutions is a great way to revamp classic recipe favorites. Choose recipes that include unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Boost flavor of foods with spices and herbs, such as cinnamon, cumin and thyme and cut back on salt. Reduce or limit intake of sugar and include more fruits and vegetables. 

Reduce fat by using evaporated skim milk for cream or substitute plain low-fat yogurt for sour cream in baking recipes or in sauces. Reduce saturated fat by using leaner cuts of meat and by cutting away visible fat. Remove the skin on chicken or other poultry products.

It is important to include nutrient dense foods as much as possible. A few ways would be with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables or substituting whole wheat flour for white flour. Use legumes, garbanzo beans, kidney beans or black beans as ingredients for dips or soups. Include unsalted nuts and dried fruits as party snacks.

Here is a recipe for pumpkin pie that is low in fat and calories due to the substitution of egg whites, evaporated skim milk,fat-free whipping cream and smaller portions. For more information on healthy holiday eating go to “My Plate Holiday Makeover”. It is possible to enjoy your holiday festivities and continue to eat healthy, it just takes some knowledge, time and willingness to practice healthy eating.

Best Light Pumpkin Pie

9 inch unbaked pie crust

15 ounce can of pumpkin

1/2 cup egg white

1/2 cup sugar

1/2  tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

12 ounce can evaporated skim milk

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake until pie is firm in the center, about 50-60 minutes.
  2. Cut pie into 10 slices. Garnish with fat-free whipped cream. Refrigerate.

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