Roaming the Internet for new recipes to try, I came across this tidbit:
The average American consumes about 3,000 calories at the traditional Thanksgiving dinner feast. That’s just one meal! It doesn’t count the estimated addition of another 1,500 calories in snacks, drinks, and other meals during the day.
Yikes! It’s easy to see why we average Americans gain an extra pound or two over the winter holidays.
Instead of reliving feasts past, we’re opting for a healthier holiday tradition at my house by making just a few small changes to our favorite recipes.
I found these tips and tricks for healthier cooking and baking, as well as a snack mix recipe I want to try, in the American Heart Association’s Holiday Healthy Eating Guide at heart.org/healthyliving.
Cooking tips from the American Heart Association:
- Use as many fresh ingredients as possible.
- Drain and rinse canned fruits or vegetables in water before using.
- Cook with olive or other vegetable oils rather than butter.
- Flavor with spices and herbs instead of salt.
- Use low-fat or fat-free milk instead of whole heavy cream.
- Use lower-calorie sugar substitutes.
- Bake, grill, steam or roast instead of frying.
- Choose whole-grain breads and pastas, and bake with whole-wheat flour instead of white.
- Replace butter with equal parts of cinnamon-flavored no-sugar-added applesauce in baking.
- Mix drinks with club soda instead of alcohol.
10 servings (1/2 cup each), 149 calories per serving
2 cups Cheerios®, or whole-grain cereal
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1⁄2 cup almonds, unsalted
1⁄2 cup walnuts, unsalted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. water
1⁄2 cup raisins, no sugar added
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries, no sugar added
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix Cheerios, oats, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Stir water and vanilla extract into the oat mixture. Spread onto a baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in raisins and cranberries.
- Store in an airtight container.
Can’t get enough of those warm holiday drinks? Neither can we! Check out a recipe for a healthier pumpkin latte from Plano ISD students Holly and Lesina, part of the Medical City Children’s Hospital Kids Teaching Kids program, aimed at educating and engaging high school, middle school, and elementary school aged students in better nutrition:
¼ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup milk, 1% low fat
1 tbsp. vanilla yogurt, thick and creamy, low fat
1 pinch pumpkin spice
Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
Pour it into a tall glass and enjoy!
Calories – 111
Fat – 7 grams
Sat. Fat – 3 grams
Sugar – 9 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Of course, while it helps to start with lower-calorie fare, eating healthier also means watching portion sizes, leaving the turkey skin on the plate and choosing white instead of dark meat, and going easy on the gravy, dessert toppings and alcohol.
But if someone does happen to overindulge and wakes up with severe heartburn, stomachache or abdominal pain, it’s good to know there’s an HCA hospital or ER nearby with excellent emergency services whenever we need them.
Holiday Healthy Eating Guide, American Heart Association, heart.org/healthyliving
Calorie Control Council, caloriecontrol.org
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.