What are your family’s traditional holiday recipes? A few of my family’s traditional holiday recipes include spritz butter cookies, au gratin potato casserole, green bean casserole, and chocolate fudge.
Traditional foods are what most people love about the holidays. They crave the satisfying comfort foods that are typically only served a limited number of times per year. The excitement about these food cause people to overindulge. Unfortunately holiday foods are typically high in sugar or fat. This is where the problem arises.
Although the traditional recipes help to keep families connected, they tend to contribute unwanted weight gain and expose the entire family to unhealthy habits. The good news is there are ways to lighten your favorite holiday recipes without compromising the flavor or tradition!
Here are some tricks families can use to lighten up their traditional holiday foods.
1. Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt can replace the sour cream in recipes such as dips, casseroles, or potato dishes. The entire amount of sour cream can be substituted with non fat Greek Yogurt. You can reduce the calories by at least two thirds and add significant protein with this simple change. See the previous blog post Low Fat Twice Baked Potatoes for a recipe with Greek yogurt.
2. Use low fat cheese. Cheese made with low fat milk can be substituted for high fat cheeses in nearly all recipes. Using low fat cheese will save you at least 1/3 of the calories. Look for cheeses that state they are made from 1 or 2 percent milk.
3. Bake with egg whites. One whole egg can be swapped with 2 egg whites in baked goods. Save significant calories in your favorite holiday desserts. One whole egg has approximately 80 calories, while two egg whites will only cost you about 30 or 40 calories.
4. Replace the oil. In baked good such as cakes, breads, muffins, or brownies replace 1/2 of oil with either non fat plain yogurt or unsweetened apple sauce. You can combine this will tip #3 and save a tremendous amount of calories!
5. Skip the butter. Swap the butter for a light buttery spread (ie. Smart Balance Light) in baked goods, veggies, and casseroles. You will be able to reduce the calories by half with this easy substitution. See the previous blog post Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash to see a recipe with this simple swap.
6. Replace some pasta with veggies. In pasta geared dishes replace 1/3 of the pasta with a veggie of the same color or shape. Spaghetti squash can replace traditional pasta and cauliflower can replace macaroni pasta. Not only will you reduce the calories of the dish, but additional vitamins and minerals will be added.
7. Start new traditions. Lastly, do not be afraid to start something new You can think of it like the old saying – “Make new friends, but keep the old”. You can add some new healthier recipes to your family’s traditions, while keeping some of the older traditional recipes you always make.
This month I am excited to create healthier versions of my family’s traditional holiday recipes! Stay tuned!