All Posts In Healthy Holidays

Ask the Experts: Healthy Holiday Gifts

by in Healthy Holidays, December 19, 2012

immersion blender
‘Tis the season for gift-giving! Some of my go-to holidays gifts are homemade vanilla extract, dark chocolate bark, perfectly-portioned wine glasses (like these from Olive & Cocoa), and a CareRing ring cover (wonderful when doing all those dishes). I hit up some of my favorite fellow dietitians to find out what kind of healthy, smart and sensible gifts they like to give for the holidays.

In the Kitchen
These gadgets help facilitate all kinds of healthy cooking. Best of all, they’re budget-friendly, too.

Marlene Koch, RD, author of the New York Times bestseller Eat More of What You Love: Over 200 Brand-New Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories, suggests an immersion blender for the foodies you love. “I keep my immersion blender on-hand at all times. It’s great for blending everything from eggs to cottage cheese; I also use it for making cream-less creamy soups and creamy skinny smoothies and shakes that can be enjoyed guilt-free all year long.”

Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD says “SodaStream machine is one of my favorite gifts.  I love helping people make their own sparking beverages so that they don’t drink as many sugary beverages and because there’s no empties, it’s environmentally-friendly too.”

Healthy Eats contributor Jason Machowsky opts for a sturdy, basic mandoline. “it works wonders in the kitchen … I use the OXO Good Grips line, good stuff for around $30-40.”

Janel Orvut Funk, resident vegetarian expert at Healthy Eats told me, “one of my favorite kitchen tools is the non-stick baking mat, Silpat. It truly is non-stick, prevents burned cookie bottoms and reduces waste, since you don’t need to rely on aluminum foil or parchment paper.”

Healthy Eats expert Toby Amidor wants to get the kiddies cooking. “It’s fun to have kids help in the kitchen. Little hands are more comfy with smaller handles. Curious Chef provides cooking tools perfectly sized for your young ones.”

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Homemade Holiday Gift: Lovely Lemons

by in Healthy Holidays, December 15, 2012

lemon gifts
Brighten someone’s day with these sweet and savory treats. Pack up in reusable glass jars for your favorite food lover.

Preserved Lemons
We’ve got two versions of this recipe so no matter what, it’s ready time for the holidays. One bakes in the oven to speed up the preservation process (see the video here), the other will do all the work itself sitting in a jar for a couple of weeks. Enjoy this Moroccan delicacy by rinsing well and adding to tagine and couscous recipes like this one from Tyler Florence.

Recipes:

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Holiday Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

by in Healthy Holidays, December 14, 2012

bleached flour
Food Network Magazine staged a holiday face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. Before you bake your holiday faves, see how these staples stack up.

Bleached Flour vs. Unbleached Flour
WINNER: It’s a draw. The less processed version isn’t always the better pick: Unbleached and bleached flour have identical calorie, fiber and protein counts. The FDA regulates the ingredients used to whiten flour, so they’re only added in safe amounts. But if you’re worried about eating something with the word “bleach” on the label anyway, go the unbleached route.

RaisinsRaisins vs Dried Cranberries
WINNER: Raisins. Raisins and dried cranberries have similar amounts of sugar, but all of the sugar in raisins comes from what’s naturally present in grapes, while more than half of the calories in dried cranberries can come from sweeteners that manufacturers add to make them taste less tart.

 

 

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8 Tricks for Lightening Up Holiday Foods

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Tips, December 13, 2012

eggnog
We heart holiday food, but holiday food doesn’t always show love our waistlines. Use these simple tricks to lighten up your favorites.

#1: Baked Ham
Ham is a lean meat but when recipes call for one pound per serving the calories skyrocket to 760 and the fat climbs to 44 grams! Also, when you’re talking smoked or cured foods, the sodium can get out of control.

To lighten: Stick to 3 to 4 ounce portions and lessen the amount of salt added to flavor the ham or use lower-sodium versions.

Other tips to lighten up baked ham

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Homemade Holiday Gift: Rum Balls

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, December 13, 2012

rum balls
These deliciously decadent chocolate-flavored balls have been a family favorite for decades. Whip them up this holiday season for the ones you love.

Food Safety Note
These rum balls have been modified from the version my mom made when I was younger. The original version calls for a raw egg (the batter isn’t cooked). To make these rum balls kid-friendly and adhere to prevent salmonella, I use a pasteurized whole egg and swapped in rum extract for the real stuff. This means the egg was heat treated to kill pathogens, though it looks like any other raw egg. Many markets carry them—look for the word “pasteurized” on the label.

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Food Fight: Eggnog vs. Hot Cocoa

by in Healthy Holidays, December 11, 2012

egg nog and hot cocoa
Are these sippers on your holiday hit list? Find out which is the most sensible choice – it all comes down to how you make it.

Eggnog
A frothy combo of egg, cream and sugar, this classic libation is a gut-buster. Add a jolly splash (or two) of booze and the calories only get worse.

Homemade and lightened-up versions can dial back the fat and calories and highlight the healthy attributes of this seasonal treat. Use lower fat ingredients and eggnog has a lot to offer – namely good-for-you nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin D.

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32 Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Recipes

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 11, 2012

stuffed pork
Finding mouthwatering diabetic-friendly recipes can be a challenge but don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t possible! Whether you’re throwing a huge holiday shindig or having a more intimate affair, here are 32 diabetic-friendly holiday recipes from appetizers to desserts and every course in between.

The Criteria
In order to be diabetic-friendly, the recipe must contain a maximum of 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving (which equals two carbohydrate exchanges). In addition, all of these recipes are sensible in the calorie and fat department too.

Appetizers

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14 Healthy, Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes

by in Gluten-Free, Healthy Holidays, December 6, 2012

gluten-free cake
Planning a holiday menu is stressful enough without having to worry about the special dietary needs of your guests. Choose from any of these holiday recipes and put any fears about gluten to rest*.

Appetizers
•    Edamame Hummus
•    Mini Pizzas made with Gluten Free Pizza Dough
•    The Shrimp Cocktail
•    Spiced Pecans

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Family-Friendly Hannukah Fare

by in Healthy Holidays, December 6, 2012

potato pancakes
Hanukkah has always been one of my favorite holidays. Baked goodies, chocolate coins, and 8 days of gifts—what’s not to like during this festival of lights? As an RD and mom, I want to teach my kids healthy eating habits even on holidays (no need for fried EVERYTHING) and I also want to watch my own waistline. Here are some healthy, Hanukkah-licious recipes that are perfect for the entire family.

Appetizers

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Dressing Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

by in Thanksgiving, November 23, 2012

turkey soup
Turkey Day leftovers are good on their own, but you can also transform them into something magnificent. Check out our easy, mouthwatering ideas for dressing up your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Turkey

Use the turkey carcass, leftover dark meat and even leftover veggie sides to whip up this deliciously warming soup.
Recipe:Next Day Turkey Soup

Leftover turkey breast combines with beans, chili peppers, and jack cheese makes a mean chili.
Recipe:  Leftover Turkey Chili

Make a delish panini using turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
Recipe: Turkey, Dressing, and Cranberry Panini

Combine chunks of leftover turkey with celery, apple, grapes and pecans for a main-dish salad or light lunch.
Recipe: Waldorf Salad.

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