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Nutrition and You: Holiday Recipes
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Healthier Holiday Recipes Don’t Have to Be Ho-Hum

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. Yet festive parties often include foods with high fat and/or sugar content, which many home parenteral and/or enteral (HPEN) consumers are not able to tolerate. Chances are your family and friends would benefit from limiting these foods as well. Luckily, by making just minor changes in the types of foods you purchase or how you prepare them, or by substituting ingredients, you can make foods healthier.

 

Reducing Fat Content

Try making some of these easy changes to your favorite recipes to reduce the fat content, while retaining the flavor:

  • Use applesauce in place of half of the oil, margarine, butter, or shortening in baked goods. (You may need to reduce the baking time.)

  • Decrease the amount of fat by one-third to one-half; this works surprisingly well for most recipes. With baked goods, be sure to measure the flour carefully (stir the flour then spoon into a measuring cup and level the cup with a knife).

  • Substitute reduced fat or fat-free mayonnaise, salad dressing, and dairy products for part or all of the higher-fat versions. Fat-free half and half, non-fat sour cream, evaporated skim milk, or beaten egg whites can help provide rich texture.

  • Instead of cured pork bacon, use Canadian bacon or turkey bacon. Turkey or chicken sausage and tuna packed in water are also lower-fat choices.

  • Replace one whole egg with two egg whites or one-quarter cup egg substitute. In some recipes, egg yolks serve as an emulsifier, and you will need to include at least one whole egg.

  • When shopping, read food labels and ingredient lists, as the amount of fat can vary greatly between brands.

 

Reducing Sugar Content

Suggestions to reduce the sugar content of recipes include:

  • Reduce the sugar by one-quarter or one-third.

  • Substitute part of the sugar with sugar substitute.

  • In some recipes, smaller amounts of more flavorful sweeteners, such as molasses or brown sugar, will work well.

  • Use additional flavorings such as orange or lemon zest; vanilla; spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg; or ripe fruit, such as bananas or apples.

  • Be careful to avoid sugar substitutes that can have a laxative effect, such as sorbitol and manitol.

Practical Tips

Experiment with gradual changes to your recipes. It is less challenging to alter the fat in casseroles, sauces, or soups than in baked goods. Further, it can be difficult to retain the same taste and texture of baked goods when you reduce both the fat and sugar. A sugar substitute often works better in beverages (e.g. iced tea, lemonade) than in baked goods because in things like cookies and cakes, sugar is important for texture as well as taste. Also, check the label because some sugar substitutes are not recommended for cooking.

 

Recipes that adapt well to reduced fat and/or sugar content include tapioca pudding; fruit cobbler or crisp; angel food cake with non-fat whipped topping; banana bread; and pumpkin soup.

The appearance of food gives the first impression of "yummy.” To make food more appealing all year round, add a garnish, use a colorful platter, or put dessert on a paper doily.

 

This column has been compiled and reviewed by Cheryl Thompson, PhD, RD, CNSC, CD; Carol Ireton-Jones, PhD, RD, LD, CNSD, FACN; Laura Matarese, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA, CNSC; and Marion Winkler, PhD, RD, LDN, CNSC.


In the recipe below for mashed potatoes, the butter has been reduced, while chicken broth and Parmesan cheese add flavor. The squash puree adds nutrients. Thanks to Gail Saltrelli for permission to reprint the recipe, www.livingwithgastroparesis.com.

Parmesan "Squashed” Potatoes

2 pounds organic Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup organic chicken broth
1-15 ounce can organic butternut squash puree (or about 2 cups homemade pureed squash)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are very tender, about 20–25 minutes. Drain well and return to pot.

Mash potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer, gradually adding chicken broth, until smooth. Add squash, Parmesan cheese, butter, and salt. Stir until well combined. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings. About 2.5 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber each.


LifelineLetter, November/December 2011

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This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.

 

Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 

 

This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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