MANHATTAN, Kan. — Tanda Kidd says you can have your cake – or your pie, or your mashed potatoes and gravy – and eat it, too.
But the Kansas State University nutritionist says you should also take advantage of healthier versions of the same foods that are popular during the holidays.
“As adults, we like to eat things that remind us of when we were children, and maybe were less stressed in our lives,” Kidd said. “That’s part of eating during the holidays.
“We can still enjoy those foods, but make them a little bit healthier. Let’s say a chocolate cream pie; people often use whole milk or cream to make those chocolate cream pies. You can still enjoy that chocolate cream pie, but you can use low-fat milk such as skim milk, 1%, or 2%. Your guests will be surprised that you can use skim milk and the consistency and texture of the pie pretty much hold up the same. People will not notice a difference.”
Kidd has published a fact sheet that outlines many healthier options to traditional holiday foods. The publication is available online through the K-State Research and Extension bookstore.
Some of Kidd’s recommendations include removing the skin from holiday turkey before you eat it, making gravy with low-fat broth instead of the turkey drippings, and making your own cranberry sauce.
“It’s so easy to go to the grocery store and buy the canned cranberry sauce,” she said. “But if people would take the time, you could make homemade cranberry sauce, and control the amount of sugar you put in, making it a little bit more healthy that way.”
Some other tips that Kidd shared include:
- Substitute low-fat, or skim milk for whole milk. Or use half the amount of whole milk with half the amount of a lower-fat milk
- Substitute healthier oils for butter. “Look for ways to decrease the amount of saturated fat that you’re putting into the meal,” Kidd said
- Consider serving pies without crust
- Substitute angel food cake for cake, or go without frosting on the cake.
- If buying canned goods, look for versions with low sodium. If you have canned vegetables that are high in sodium, rinse them under tap water before heating
- If buying canned fruit, look for options packed in 100% juice or light syrup
“If you can turn your holiday gatherings into enjoying the people around you and not so much focus on the food itself, you will find that most people won’t even notice that you have made some healthy substitutes here and there,” Kidd said.
— Pat Melgares, K-State Research and Extension
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