The holiday season is jammed packed with many opportunities to enjoy great food, family and friends. We also tend to break out all those wonderful food items from fundraisers our kids, neighbor’s kids and work-place kids sold at the start of the school year. My freezer has several various kinds of cookie dough, apple strudel and cinnamon braids bought from various fundraisers. Not to mention all the wonderful items I bake during this season; breads, cookies, candies, etc.
So, with all these wonderful items within easy reach or nagging at us from the dark depths of the freezer, how can we enjoy this holiday season without gaining the proverbial 7-10 pounds? Approximately 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. Studies show that those whose weight, or body mass index (BMI), is in the normal range gain less during the holiday season than those whose weight or BMI is greater than normal. Regardless, we do not work to lose those gained pounds which tend to accumulate over the years putting us at risk for being overweight or obese in the future.
My family tends to congregate at my house and leaves their left-over goodies there as well, filling my available refrigerator space with items that are just screaming to be consumed. We do have a standing rule: the hostess plans the menu. This gives me some control over what is served. We each, of course, have our special dishes that we like to prepare. I know what each person will bring and I fill in the blanks ensuring the meal is balanced, provides some healthy alternatives as well and making sure there is something for everyone.
Here are some menu planning tips:
- Make a conscious effort to limit high fat items. Fat and calories are easily hidden in foods such as:
- Fried foods
- Cream-based soups
- Cheese-filled items
- Baked good
- Processed meats such as salami or sausages
- Add steamed vegetables to the menu
- Serve low-fat deli meats
- Serve sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
- Try a wild rice stuffing instead of cornbread or bread stuffing or the boxed variety
- Serve 100% whole grain rolls in place of the traditional white rolls.
- Watch sugar consumption. When you binge on items high in sugar you crave more sugar and your body slows down.
- Take a walk as exercise burns calories.
I will give you some recipe substitutions in the next posting so watch the website closely. I will also post some recipes for some of our traditional favorites. If you have a favorite recipe, and want to know how to make it healthier, feel free to post it on Facebook. You may wish to ask for a specific recipe as well. Here is a recipe for the traditional green bean casserole. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. I used fresh green beans but canned or frozen should work fine as well.
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
1 ½ pounds green beans
2 tbsp. light butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. dry ranch salad dressing mix
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 ½ cups skim milk
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (1 1/3 slices)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Cook green beans until tender-crisp, drain, set aside. White sauce: In saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour and dry ranch dressing mix, and pepper. Stir in milk. Cook and stir with a wire whisk over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. In saucepan, that is heated and coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook onion and garlic until onion is tender. Remove half the onion mixture and set aside. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. In a 2 quart casserole combine the green beans, mushroom mixture and white sauce. In small bowl add the bread crumbs to the reserved onions. Sprinkle over the green bean mixture. Bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes. Serves 10
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Total fat 3 grams
Carbohydrate 14 grams
Taken from www.diabeticlivingonline.com.