Holiday munching can last for 3 months. It begins with the endless candy of Halloween,
extends to the feasting at Thanksgiving, continues with the goodies of Christmas and Chanukah, winding down to the clicking of the Champaign glasses on New Years Eve. For the typical American, New Years begins with a weight gain of 1 to 10 pounds thanks to the holidays. Planning and preparation can help you make it through the food fest no worse for the ware. It may not be a good time for weight loss but maintaining your body weight is a realistic goal.
Alcohol and holiday drinks can pack on calories and appetizers often add hundreds of calories before the feast begins. Here are some super delicious calorie saving ideas:
Dress up your standard cheese board with in-shell Wonderful Pistachios and crispy apple wedges:
In-shell Wonderful Pistachios + Gouda/Cheddar/Brie + Apple Slices + white wine spritzer to keep calories down.
In-shell Wonderful Pistachios + Rosemary Garlic Roasted Tomatoes + Parmesan Crisps + Champaign with POM pomegranate arils
Light Holiday Drinks
For the holiday drinks, use lighter cocktail ideas with POM or Sweet Scarletts.
1). Include this Sweet Texas Cocktail with red grapefruit recipe that involves tequila, Compari, lime juice, red grapefruit juice, and ginger simple syrup. The simple syrup adds a lot of flavor, but that you are in control of the amount and calories and that a little goes a long way because of the ginger kick. (see recipe below).
2). Add some pizzazz to your cold drink by using festive ice cubs filled with berries, cherries, lemon and orange slices, or a sprig of mint in ice trays. Fill with water, fruit juice or sparkling water and freeze as usual. Make a white wine spritzer with white wine club soda over these festive ice cubes. Add Wonderful Pom Pom fresh pomegranate arils to Champaign for a beautiful, delicious drink.
3). Low fat Eggnog. One cup of regular eggnog has 440 calories and that’s with out the alcohol! One cup of low-fat homemade eggnog has only 180 calories: See recipe below.
Desserts can be light and offer nutritional value and still be so very delicious.
1). For the guest wanting gluten-free, healthy dessert to take with you: KIND BARS (cool little box display) and give them out as party favors for out-of-town guest to take on the road with them.
2). Substitute fruit puree for sugar in recipes and add fiber with shredded carrots like the ingredients you’ll find in the applesauce carrot cake recipe below.
3). Try a very Lemon and Berry cheesecake made right in the blender. Substitute cottage cheese for cream cheese, some egg whites for whole eggs, evaporated skim milk in place of cream, cut back on sugar with Splenda Blend.
Sweet Texas Cocktail
Served on the rocks, this grapefruit cocktail gets a Texas-style kick from tequila and lime. Ginger and tarragon round out the aromatic flavor.
You will need:
¼ cup of fresh Wonderful Sweet Scarletts grapefruit juice
2 Tbl. Silver tequila
1 Tbl. Campari
1 Tbl. Fresh lime juice
1 Tbl. Ginger/tarragon Simple syrup, *recipe below
- Combine grapefruit juice, tequila, Campari, lime juice and simple syrup
- Pour over ice in a tumbler and serve
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
- In a small saucepan over high heat, stir together ginger or tarragon, water and sugar.
- Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
- Let cool and use or refrigerate.
2 cups nonfat milk
2 large strips orange and/or lemon zest
1 t real vanilla
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
White rum or bourbon (optional)
Ground nutmeg and cinnamon stick for garnish
Combine 1 ½ cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds; add vanilla to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until light yellow.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the eggnog begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining ½ cup milk to stop the cooking. Transfer the eggnog to a large bowl and place over a larger bowl of ice to cool, then chill until ready to serve.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick and nutmeg.
Per serving (1/2 cup): Calories 90 vs. 220 for regular.
Let delicious salads take up the most room on your plate.
Go to the Wonderful Halo website for great recipes:
Wonderful Halos salad with Almonds and Manchego
No Guilt Desserts
Makes: 20 slices (2 loaves) Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 1 hour
1 ½ cups all-purpose white flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup Splenda®/Sugar Blend
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup Smart Balance® oil
2 egg whites
2 whole eggs
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar blend, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
- In a small bowl, combine the applesauce, oil and eggs. Add them to flour mixture until ingredients are just blended *Do not over mix or bread will be too dense. Add carrots, mix again
- Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Berry Lemon Cheesecake
Makes: 16 servings Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 25 min
1 pound 1-2% cottage cheese
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
½ cup evaporated skim milk
1/3 cup Splenda® Blend
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp corn starch
- Preheat oven to 300⁰F.
- In a blender, combine all ingredients, except for fruit that goes on top. Blend well until smooth. Pour the filling into graham cracker crusts.
- Bake the cakes for about 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool cakes slightly and put in freezer for an hour to an hour and a half.
- Add sliced fruit on top. Begin at edge of the pie and work to the center. Finish with 3 slices of kiwi in the middle.
Other Recipe Modifying Techniques
- In most recipes and dishes calling for sour cream, you can substitute plain yogurt and save 349 calories per cup. This works well in recipes salad dressings, dips, and toppings for food like bake potatoes or chili.
- To keep yogurt from separating in foods that are cooked or stirred vigorously, first mix 1 T of cornstarch with 1 T of yogurt, and then add it to your recipe.
- Use yogurt in place of oil, mayo, buttermilk, butter or buttermilk in recipes.
- 1 c yogurt = 1 c sour cream
- 1 c yogurt = 1 c oil
- ¼ c yogurt, ½ c butter = 1 c butter
- 1 c yogurt = 1 c cream cheese
- 2/3 c yogurt + ¼ c butter milk = 1 c buttermilk
- Make pies with a single crust and save 75 to 100 calories per serving. Crumb crust (graham cracker, cereal, gingersnaps) can be lower in fat than traditional crust. For further calorie reduction, skip eating the crust altogether.
- For some foods, you may be able to skip the cooking fat altogether and use a nonfat liquid instead, such as low sodium chicken broth or tomato juice to prepare vegetables.
- Trim all visible fat from meat before you cook it
- Cook soups and stews far enough in advance to allow them to cool so you can skim off the fat or use a fat separator.
- Choose the leanest cuts of red meat: For beef, these are sirloin tip, eye of round, round steak, chuck with round bone, flank steak, tenderloin, lean stew meat, and extra lean ground beef. For pork, try pork loin or tenderloin, center cut ham and Canadian bacon. For lamb, the leanest cuts are the leg, lamb steak, and sirloin chop. All cuts of veal are lean except the breast.
- Small chickens (broilers and fryers) are leaner than roasters, which in turn are leaner than hens and capons. Turkey and Cornish game hens are also lean. Remove hunks of fat inside before you cook. For dishes made with chicken parts, skin the chicken before you cook it.
Enjoy your healthy holidays!