Holiday eating and healthy eating have never been synonymous.
There’s the butter and the carbs and the sugar and the second helpings — all part of the average Thanksgiving meal, which has an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 calories. And that’s not even counting the leftovers.
While few people are looking to completely make over their holiday feasts, there are ways to bring in a little nutrition without ditching the dishes you love.
Chef Jen Welpers of Hilton Head Health, a weight-loss spa in South Carolina, gives us suggestions on cutting back the fat, getting full faster and sneaking in vegetables to holiday meals.
“It’s about trimming things down,” Welpers said, “not eliminating what you love about these meals.”
1. Butter only your portion.
“If you want butter, you’re better off putting a small amount of it directly on your portion of potatoes so you directly taste it” rather than including it in your recipe for mashed potatoes. “You can control the amount. Otherwise, you cream the butter with the potatoes and you sometimes lose that butteriness you’re wanting.
“Same goes for salt. You can get away with less because you don’t notice there wasn’t any in it to begin with.”
2. Leave the skins on the potatoes.
“The skin is where the fiber is … it’s going to be more filling.”
3. Three parts potatoes, one part cauliflower.
“Guests always ask, ‘Was there really cauliflower in there?’ It’s not noticeable at all, but the nutritional value is significantly higher.
“Puree the cauliflower, either using a food processor or a masher, and mix it in with the mashed potatoes.”
4. Substitute fat-free cream cheese for butter.
Fat-free cream cheese can be used to add creaminess to mashed potatoes.
“For pies, make the crust with half butter and half fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese. It’s not going to be as flakey, but it works,” Welpers said.
5. Make desserts rich and make them small.
“By making desserts stronger (in flavor), you’re apt to eat less because it is so strong and flavorful,” she said.