Eat This, Not That

Eat This Not That FamilyIf you usually pile on the pounds around the holidays, this year can be different. Before you moan and think about all the once-a-year delicacies that you’ll be missing, remember that many of your favorite dishes can be figure-friendly. By making just a few smart choices, you can enjoy a festive dinner without feeling deprived of all those delicious holiday treats. This could even be your early start on a healthy New Year’s resolution. Below are some easy swaps to save on calories and fat, and to increase your essential nutrient intake.

Turkey Breast vs. Roast Pork
While both of these main dishes are succulent holiday traditions, a 3-ounce portion of roast turkey breast without the skin only has 117 calories and 1 gram of fat compared to the 199 calories and 11 grams of fat in the same size piece of roast pork. To make matters even worse, 4 grams of the 11 are saturated fat. This is just one more reason that every Christmas menu should include roast turkey!

Stuffing vs. Dinner Rolls
Ounce per ounce, the savory stuffing that accompanies that healthy turkey is a better choice at 50 calories per ounce than white dinner rolls that weigh in at 77 calories an ounce. While the fat content is about the same, once you start to butter those rolls, the fat content can skyrocket. To make stuffing even more nutritious, it allows the creative cook an excuse to add in a few more healthy fruits and vegetables. Depending on your recipe, you could include onions, celery, raisins, apples, or cranberries. Your imagination is the only limit.

Sweet Potatoes vs. Mashed Potatoes
Whether they’re baked, boiled, mashed, or candied, sweet potatoes in any form are generally healthier than mashed potatoes. While many people love buttery sweet potatoes, their natural sweetness and flavorful character doesn’t need many additions to make an appetizing dish. If you compare a 1/2 cup serving of baked sweet potato to the same amount of home-style mashed white potatoes, the sweet potato wins out in calories by a small margin. However, there is virtually no fat in the sweet potato while the mashed potatoes have 9 grams of fat. The real benefit of sweet potatoes is that they have a dramatically higher anti-inflammatory factor, almost eight times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A, a 65% RDA of Vitamin C, and a healthy dose of beta carotene.

Cranberry Sauce vs. Gravy
This one should be a no-brainer. How could a healthy fruit-based sauce not win out over what really amounts to meat fat and white flour? Although an ounce of prepared cranberry sauce has 42 calories and an ounce of turkey gravy has about 20 calories, this is the only benefit to the gravy. Cranberries have a the highest concentration of a special category of antioxidants called phenols, a well-known disease fighter.

Collard Greens vs. Creamed Corn
If you’re not a fan of collard greens, you don’t know what you’re missing. This traditional southern dish is not only tasty, but healthy, too. Whether you like yours with a splash of vinegar or plain, a half cup of this fiber-packed vegetable only has 25 calories compared to creamed corn’s 90+ calories. Collard greens also have more Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, and Iron. While Popeye loved his spinach, we’re voting for collard greens for a healthy holidaytable.

Cranberry-Pear Cobbler vs. Yule Log
Create a new Christmas tradition this year by trading that tired old Yule log for a healthy cranberry-pear cobbler. While they both include their fair share of sugar, the cobbler leaves out the heaviness of a full stick of butter and adds in healthy cranberries and seasonal pears. As already mentioned, cranberries are packed with phenols and loads of anti-oxidants. To make this even more dish healthy, pears have almost as much phenol as the cranberries. This sweet treat gives you an added boost to the battle against the winter flu and cold.

Red Wine vs. Dark Ale Beer
When you compare a 4-ounce glass of red wine to a 12-ounce mug of dark ale, you’ll save almost 100 calories. In addition to lightening up your calorie load, red wine gets its beautiful warm-red color from resveratrol, an antioxidant that has been credited with everything from protecting the human body from cancer to reducing “free radicals” thought to contribute to heart disease. White winehas lower levels of resveratrol because the grape seeds and skins are removed much earlier in the wine-making process. Remember not to  overdo it with any alcoholic beverage. While one or two alcoholic drinks a day can be healthy for some, those glasses beyond two can  often cause more harm than good .

The One-third Plate Rule
When dishing out your meal at parties and family gatherings think of your plate in thirds.  One third is for vegetables, one for lean proteins and one for complex carbohydrates.  Each category gets one-third and one-third only of your plate, but of course if the vegetables are healthy and they want to spill over a little that is always ok.  Make your choices wisely because the best way to portion control is by never going back for seconds!

By making smarter diet choices you will be less likely to pack on extra holiday pounds and start the New Year off with a healthier, happier and lighter you!

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2 Responses to “Eat This, Not That”

  1. Edward Figliola says:

    Wonderful job with these posts. They are very informative.

  2. Nonie says:

    Keep these articles coming as they’ve oepend many new doors for me.

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