Archive | December, 2010

Heart Healthy Holidays

19 Dec
With the holidays rapidly approaching, our schedules are packed with holiday parties and events which revolve around food and high calorie drinks. Many people find this a tough time of year for maintaining their healthy lifestyle goals, so here are some tips for surviving this holiday season:

Never skip meals and always eat breakfast.  Eat small, healthy snacks during the day to prevent yourself from being ravenous at your holiday parties and overindulging

If you do overindulge at one meal, don’t stress about it – just get back on track with your next meal and go for a walk to help digest your food and burn some calories

Don’t drink your calories! Monitor alcohol and soda consumption. Both are high in calories (especially the eggnog). Try alternating water and alcoholic beverages

Modify your recipes:

  • Low-fat/nonfat versions of yogurt, sour cream and mayonnaise
  • Herbs and spices for salt and fats
  • Strained unsweetened applesauce for butter or oil in baking (1:1 ratio). Or try mashed up bananas.
  • Make mashed potatoes from scratch –
    • Leave some of the skins on to increase fiber and vitamin content,
    • Add two cloves of garlic while the potatoes simmer (heart healthy addition!)
    • Use a combination of low-sodium chicken stock and skim milk for mashing the potatoes
    • Use a heart-healthy brand of margarine
    • Roasted garlic and fresh chives add great flavor
    • Buy whole-grain rolls instead of white rolls
  • In baking, use half whole-wheat flour and half white flour to increase fiber and vitamin content
  • Use low-fat greek yogurt or evaporated skim milk instead of cream
  • There are thousands of healthy holiday recipes on the internet.

Eat smaller portions or use a smaller plate. Share a piece of pie and don’t go back for seconds.

Pace, don’t race. Eat your food slowly. If you eat too fast your stomach won’t have time to register that it is full. Savor each bite and wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds!

Trim back the trimmings. Dressings and side dishes are typically high in calories. Eat turkey without the skin, make gravy with little or no fat and use lighter dressings.

Save your “splurges” for a dish, dessert or drink you truly enjoy – and have a ½ portion instead of an oversized plate-full.

Skip the appetizers – nibble on raw vegetables, low fat dips and salsa.  Or better yet, bring your own healthy appetizer; a few of my favorite are below!

Roasted Garlic Guacamole

6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
6 ripe medium avocados
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more if desired
1/2 teaspoon salt
To make homemade torilla chips:
Whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas
Olive oil cooking spray
Canola oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make the guacamole: Place unpeeled garlic in small dry skillet over medium heat; cook, turning occasionally, until soft and blackened in sport, 10-15minutes. Cool, then slip off the skins; finely chop. Scoop avocado flesh into large bowl. Add the garlic, cilantro and lime juice to taste. Coarsely mash everything together. Season lightly with salt. Transfer to a serving bowel and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the tortilla chips: Prepare baking sheet by brushing a light layer of canola oil over bottom of pan. Cut whole wheat tortillas/corn tortillas into 4 pieces to resemble chips. Spray both sides of each “chip” before placing on the pan. Bake until lightly brown and crispy, about 8 minutes.
Guacamole Nutrition Information (1/20 of recipe): 70 calories, 6gm fat, 62mg sodium, 3gm fiber, 1gm protein

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cloves garlic, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixtur and sprinkle with paprika and parsley. Tastes great with homemade tortilla chips (above) or fresh veggies!
Nutritional Information (2 Tbsp): 77 Calories, 4.3gm fat