By PATTY HAMMOND
Cornell University Cooperative Extension
Unfortunately for many of us, the holiday season is jam-packed with far too many opportunities for unhealthy eating. Soon after we've ingested way too much Halloween candy, most of us are eating huge amounts of less than healthy foods during Thanksgiving dinner and all the parties and events that fill the ensuing holiday season. This year, make an early resolution so your holidays are healthier for your body, your family and your wallet.
Cornell Cooperative Extension nutrition educators conduct a group discussion.
Many traditional holiday recipes call for lots of added sugar, fat and salt. However, just a few simple changes can make many of your traditional recipes healthier without sacrificing the flavor you and your family expect. You can reduce the sugar called for in most recipes by at least a third without a noticeable change in flavor. Use lower sodium products when making meals and try cutting the salt in recipes in half. Instead of whole milk products, purchase one percent or fat free. The nutritional content is the same, but with fewer calories. It's also wise to avoid saturated fats and to simply eat smaller portions. Something as easy as using smaller plates can help.
If you're invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy choice, like a humus dip and vegetables. If you're making a family dinner, consider roasting some root vegetables. You don't have to eliminate desserts, but consider using a graham cracker crust, rather than a traditional pie crust, for your pies. Try something new by offering fresh fruit as a dessert option. An angel food trifle made from fruit packed in light syrup and low-fat pudding looks elegant and tastes great.
Small changes like these can help you make your holiday season happier and healthier. If you are looking for new ways to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle, Cornell University Cooperative Extension's Eat Smart New York program may be just what you're seeking. Healthy cooking skills are taught and recipes, along with other useful resources, are provided. Interactive classes include fun activities that not only help people improve their nutritional status, but also provide new ideas to help them incorporate exercise into their busy lives and save money on food. People also learn how to be sure all the food they serve their families is safe to eat. Classes can include opportunities for food tasting, cooking demonstrations or other hands-on experiences with healthy, nutritious and tasty foods.
Eat Smart New York classes can be scheduled at convenient times and locations throughout Chautauqua County and bilingual education is available. For more information about Eat Smart New York, call 664-9502, Ext. 217.
For some healthy holiday recipes, see inside.
Roasted Root Vegetables
4 medium-sized root vegetables (choose a variety from potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes)
2 chopped carrots
1 medium chopped onion
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut vegetables into large chunks. Place in a medium bowl and pour oil over top. Add rosemary and Parmesan. Mix well.
Spread vegetables in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, then check for doneness by checking their softness with a fork. Continue cooking until vegetables soft.
Source: Adapted from Montana Extension Nutrition Education Program Website Recipes, Montana State University Extension Service, www.montana.edu/nep/recipes.htm
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1/4 of recipe, 180 Calories, 45 Calories from Fat, 5g Total Fat, 25% Calories from Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 5mg Cholesterol, 95mg Sodium, 30g Total Carbohydrate, 4g Dietary Fiber, 7g Sugars, 5g Protein, 300% Vitamin A, 10% Calcium, 50% Vitamin C, 8% Iron
Maple Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. plain, non-fat yogurt
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. orange juice
Prick potato skins with a fork. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and easily pierced with a knife.
Scoop out the pulp into a medium bowl. Mash the pulp with a potato masher or large spoon. Stir in the yogurt, maple syrup, and orange juice. Transfer to a microwave safe serving bowl and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes to heat through.
Source: Adapted from Senior Nutrition Awareness Project (SNAP) Newsletters, University of Connecticut Family Nutrition Program
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1/2 of recipe, 150 Calories, 0 Calories from Fat, 0g Total Fat, 0% Calories from Fat, 0g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 80mg Sodium, 35g Total Carbohydrate, 4g Dietary Fiber, 13g Sugars, 3g Protein, 370% Vitamin A, 6% Calcium, 6% Vitamin C, 6% Iron
Cranberry Spinach Salad
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 medium pear, cored and chopped
1 tbsp. chopped pecans, toasted
Bottled fat-free raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cranberries and pears. Top with fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with pecans.
Serves 4. Serving Size: 1 cup.
Source: Adapted from Mariellen DeFelice, nutrition educator
Nutrition Facts calculated by The Food Processor Nutrition Analysis Software from ESHA
Research, Salem, Oregon.
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1 cup, 100 Calories, 10 Calories from Fat, 1.5g Total Fat, 2% Calories from Fat, 0g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 40mg Sodium, 22g Total Carbohydrate, 3g Dietary Fiber, 16g Sugars, 1g Protein, 15% Vitamin A, 2% Calcium, 8% Vitamin C, 6% Iron