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Smarter Holiday Choices

With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, the thoughts of many may quickly turn to the New Years’ resolutions of becoming healthier. There are several ways to approach this goal, without having to change drastically. Hopefully these tips will help to achieve not only short term, but lasting change in dietary habits. Some of the easiest ways include subtle modifications to what you consume around the holidays which will allow for more calories to be consumed in different ways.

One of the ways you can modify your appetizers is by replacing heavy cream cheese dips, or those with large amounts of unhealthy fats with a base of Greek yogurt. By adding certain ingredients to Greek Yogurt, you can change the entire tray of food into a healthy snack. The below recipe is one that is quick and easy to make!

Ingredients (for three servings):

16 oz. Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons of dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon green onion

Steps: In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients until well mixed. Cut desired

vegetables and place in a circle around the bowl for serving.

After your appetizer is all the rave, you can move on to the main course and sides! One

favorite of many families around the holiday seasons is candied yams. By swapping those

with roasted sweet potatoes, you can save almost half of the calories! For easy roasting

of sweet potatoes, the recipe below can be followed.

Ingredients: 2 ½ lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ in pieces 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon salt freshly group pepper, to taste

Steps: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, arranging sweet potatoes in a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes, tossing to coat. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir around in the baking dish, continually stirring every 15 minutes until tender and starting to brown (may take up to 50 minutes more.) The amount of calories per serving is 92, with the total fat being 2g, carbohydrates 18g,

sugars 9g, proteins 1.2g.

For a great stuffing, that brings flavor and depth into your holiday meal, a great idea is to incorporate cranberries into it. This can bring in the antioxidant qualities of the berries, as well the whole wheat benefits of the grains and nutrients.

Ingredients: 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped onion 10 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted and cut into cubes 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1 teaspoon dried tarragon 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries 1 cup whole water chestnuts 1 cup chopped apple (with skin on) The serving size of this stuffing recipe is ½ cup. Although the taste may make it difficult to eat just that amount! The calories per serving are 149, 2g of total fat, 28g of carbohydrates, 7g of dietary fiber, 6g of protein, and 7 added sugars. One of the hardest things for people to compromise on during the holidays season is desserts. Most of the time the amount of desserts at a gathering can be equal to the amount of actual choices of main course items. For an easy swap on the dessert front, try making a tasty apple pie. One personal favorite is below.


Pie crust

1 cup dry rolled oats

1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon water


6 cups sliced and peeled tart apples (about 4 large apples)

1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Steps: To prepare pie crust, mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix oil and water together with whisk. Add oil and water mixture to dry ingredients. Mix until dough holds together. Add a bit more water if needed.

Press dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside until filling is prepared. To prepare filling, combine all

ingredients in a large bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes. Stir and then spoon into prepared piecrust. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake 40 minutes, or until apples are tender. Each slice of this pie includes 204 calories, 8g of total fat, 4g of protein, 29g of carbohydrates, 4g of dietary fiber, and 3g of added sugars.


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