Healthier Holiday Apps

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 23, 2016

Appetizers are meant to hold your guests over until the meal, not fill them up before it starts! Instead of high calorie gut-busters, serve some of these better-for-everyone finger foods at your next holiday shindig.

Shrimp

Low calorie and high protein shrimp are always a crowd pleaser, and they pair so well with sweet and juicy pineapple.

Recipe: Shrimp Pineapple Skewers

 

Deviled Eggs

This classic recipe gets a makeover using nonfat Greek yogurt instead of calorie-heavy mayo, plus a kick of spice and vinegar.

Recipe: Lighter Southern Deviled Eggs Read more

The Healthiest Fast-Food Options When You’re On the Road

by in Healthy Tips, December 22, 2016

Whether you’re heading to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the holidays or are planning a family vacation, if a road trip is in your future, you’ll probably need to stop along the way for a quick bite to eat. The good news is that healthy fast-food options are popping up around the country. Here’s what to look for when you stop to eat, and the top five meal choices from joints around the country.

Guidelines for Ordering Healthy

Here are five things to keep in mind when stopping on the road to grab a meal:

  • Calories matter: Make sure meals don’t top around 550 calories each, including side dishes and dessert.
  • Choose lean protein: Whatever you choose should have at least 15 grams of protein per serving. Protein takes longer to digest, which will keep you fuller longer.
  • Steer clear of fried fare: Fried food like french fries and fried chicken can weigh you down and even give you some uncomfortable tummy troubles.
  • Look for veggies: Most Americans don’t get their daily recommended dose of veggies. More fast-food joints do offer veggie-filled meals and sides now, so keep your eyes peeled for them.
  • Opt for calorie-free drinks: Choose beverages without added sugar, like water, seltzer, plain coffee with a splash of milk, or unsweetened iced tea.

Read more

The 7 Worst Calorie Offenders at Your Christmas Table

by in Healthy Holidays, December 21, 2016

The holidays are flowing with food and drink, but Christmas dinner is the ultimate over-the-top meal of the season. Although you should enjoy delicious food at your Christmas feast, you don’t need to feel bloated and have indigestion at the end of the night. Certain dishes, however, rack up the calories more than others. Here are the seven worst calorie offenders at the Christmas table.

  1. Eggnog

One cup of eggnog on average contains 340 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 56 percent of the daily recommended maximum of artery-clogging saturated fat. If you’re a heavy cream fan, know that it adds 50 extra calories per tablespoon. If you like your eggnog spiked, add about 150 calories per 1 1/2 fluid ounces. When all is said and done, you’re talking more like over 500 calories a drink.

Instead try: Food Network Kitchen’s Low-Fat Eggnog

  1. Prime Rib

Ribs just scream calories, with one serving of prime rib (about six to eight ribs) providing over 1,600 calories. Many folks can easily down six ribs, but let’s not forget the additional calories that will be consumed from the rest of the food on the table.

Instead try: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce Read more

Holiday Pear Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, December 20, 2016

Looking for a stunning salad to serve this holiday season? This pear salad with quick candied walnuts and honey miso dressing is a must-try. The concept is easy, but the combination of flavors and textures gives the salad a complex feel. The base is a gorgeous mixture of delicate greens topped with tender and ripe pear, tart dried cranberries, sharp blue cheese crumbles and sweet walnuts. Then, it’s all tossed in a creamy miso dressing that’s packed with slightly sweet, salty flavor. It’s a must-serve for any holiday table.

I make these quick candied walnuts all the time to top salads and soups — or eat as a snack. With a fraction of the sugar in regular candied walnuts, they are just as nutty and sweet. The trick is melting the sugar over the butter-laced walnuts, then allowing them to cool in a single layer. Letting the walnuts sit allows the sugar to caramelize and harden into brittle-like pieces. Read more

Which Sparkling Wines Are Worth Your Holiday Jingle?

by in Healthy Holidays, December 19, 2016

If you think bubbly means big bucks, think again. When adding some sparkle to the holidays, it’s not necessary to spend all your Christmas cash. Sparkling wines can be found in a range of prices, with many festive varieties priced at $20 or less. How they are priced has a lot to do with how they are made. And that leads us to ask: How do they get those bubbles into a bottle?

The short answer: secondary fermentation. Sparkling wines begin much in the same way as white wines, but at the point at which white wine is bottled and sold, sparkling wine undergoes secondary fermentation with the addition of yeast and sugar. For higher-priced sparklers such as Champagne and cava, the subsequent secondary fermentation and aging occur in wine bottles in accordance with the méthode Champenoise. Instead of using bottles, vintners of prosecco and other more value-priced wines use stainless steel tanks to contain the buildup of carbon dioxide during secondary fermentation.

The cool thing is you can actually taste and see the difference in the final bottle of bubbly. Bottle-aged sparklers generally taste more nutty and yeasty and have tinier bubbles. Tank-aged wines are usually fruitier and can have large, bursting bubbles (although careful crafting in tanks can also produce tiny bubbles). All bubbles are a result of the carbon dioxide produced during secondary fermentation.

Value-priced sparklers can be found around the globe. Quality quaffs are available from cold climates like Germany, Austria and New York state, as well as from warm locales such as Australia and New Mexico. Three of our current favorites are: Read more

Holiday Cranberry-Vanilla Panna Cotta

by in Healthy Holidays, December 18, 2016

Panna cotta might sound intimidating, but I like to think of it as an elevated version of Jell-O. To me, it’s a perfect dessert option: quick to assemble, practically foolproof and stunning to serve. This version is a lighter take on the typical whole-milk version. Thick Greek yogurt keeps it luscious and creamy, but with about half the calories and fat of traditional recipes.

If you can make Jell-O, you can make panna cotta. Bloom the gelatin in a bit of cold water, then add to a simmering pot of cream and fresh vanilla bean. The gelatin keeps the filling wonderfully delicate and wobbly. Since vanilla is the primary flavor here, it’s worth seeking out whole beans. Most well-stocked grocery stores will carry them in the spice section, though they can also be found online and in specialty grocery stores. Slice the bean lengthwise, then carefully open to reveal the fragrant seeds inside. Use a small paring knife to remove as many of the seeds as possible, then add both the bean and the seeds to the cream mixture.

This cranberry-vanilla panna cotta is a gorgeous option for any holiday gathering. Made ahead of time, the panna cotta will keep in the fridge for a few days. Read more

Hanukkah Un-fried

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 17, 2016

Greasy latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts top the list of traditional foods eaten during the festival of lights. But after you’ve eaten these fried goodies for eight straight days, it starts to take a toll on your waistline. Instead, you can enjoy these traditional Hanukkah foods without all that oil-frying.

Latkes

Also known as potato pancakes, these babies can be baked instead of fried. They can also be pan-fried in a few tablespoons of oil to give them crispiness, and then finished in the oven. Or, shake things up by using sweet potatoes or a combo of shredded parsnips, carrots or zucchini and potatoes. Here are two latke recipes to try, plus a few homemade applesauce recipes for dunking: Read more

Gingerbread, 3 Ways

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 16, 2016

What makes gingerbread … gingerbread? Typically, anything baked with the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and molasses. This year, we’re spicing things up with a double-ginger cookie that will help make your holidays complete, plus pancake and hot chocolate recipes that showcase this timeless trio of flavors.

Gingerbread Pancakes
Yield: 20 (3-inch) pancakes

2 cups store-bought or homemade gluten-free pancake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup brewed coffee, plus 1 tablespoon, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for greasing
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
Maple syrup, for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together the pancake mix, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, ginger and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, coffee, oil and molasses; add to the pancake mix mixture and stir until just combined.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Using a paper towel, lightly grease with oil. Pour the batter about 1/4 cup at a time into the pan and cook until the pancakes are golden and set, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with maple syrup.

Per serving: Calories 230.6; Fat 7.2 g (Saturated 1.2 g); Cholesterol 67.1 mg; Sodium 548.9 mg; Carbohydrate 34.6 g; Fiber 2.5 g; Sugars 9.0 g; Protein 6.5 g Read more

Save Room for Dessert with These Slimmed-Down Holiday Sides

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 15, 2016

A holiday meal is a true marathon, with one mouthwatering dish after the next — and you won’t want to miss a single one. This year, avoid the mistake of overexerting yourself in the earlier rounds so that you’re out of the running by the time that luscious fruit pie or chocolate cake hits the table. Read more

Healthy Hanukkah Appetizers and Desserts

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 14, 2016

The Jewish festival of lights is filled with potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and chocolate. Instead of making it a holiday celebration of calories, offer a variety of eye-appealing, delicious foods that friends and family will enjoy —including a lighter take on the traditional doughnut. Read more