Add holiday variety for good health

Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2004


  Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes can serve as a side dish or dessert for Thanksgiving. By Michael Schumacher

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes can serve as a side dish or dessert for Thanksgiving.

By Michael Schumacher

LUBBOCK, Texas Well, at least the turkey's healthy.

With holiday feasting, many people are worried about the battle of the bulge they'll face when fatty foods are served for the festivities.

But, the fun doesn't have to stop because people are watching their weight. Many meals can be subsidized with more healthful ingredients, said Shelley Fillipp, a registered dietitian at Covenant Health System's LifeStyles Centre in Lubbock.

Cut back on the sugar or use low-fat products and skim milk, and dishes can become much more healthy, she said.

Either that, or take small amounts of different foods, and don't overload the plate, she said.

"I keep saying enjoy your favorite foods," Fillipp said. "But, the thing is, you have to eat right all the time. It's not just for one day. It's every day. Thanksgiving serves as a springboard to Christmas, and people just eat and eat and eat. I think if you say, 'I'm only going to go back for one plateful and not go back,' that helps."

Though Thanksgiving and Christmas are traditional times with fairly traditional fare, people should try new recipes to make new traditions, Fillipp said. One of the best ways to eat right without breaking out the calorie-counting book is to pick different colored foods, said Cheng-Chih Hfieh, a dietitian at Lubbock Heart Hospital and Highland Medical Center.

"By green, I don't mean key-lime pie," she said. "You want to choose some vegetables."

Breaking bad habits can be hard at first, she said, but choosing carefully and continuing with a healthful food regimen can become a habit after a while.

"It's all about behavior modification," she said. "We need to be able to control how much we eat and make sure not to eat and sit in front of the TV. You have to move. Your body is like a car. If we fill up the tank and don't drive, we can't fill it up again."

Here are some holiday dish ideas:

Suisse Mocha Tiramisu

1/3 cup of sugar-free, fat-free Suisse mocha, divided

2 tablespoons hot water

1 3-ounce package of ladyfingers

2, 1/2 cups fat-free milk, divided

1 8-ounce tub fat-free cream cheese

2 packages of fat-free, sugar-free instant pudding

1 cup fat-free whipped topping

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of flavored instant coffee in hot water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over ladyfingers. Then, line the bottom and side of a shallow 2-quart dessert dish with ladyfingers. Place 1/2 cup of the milk, cream cheese and remaining undissolved flavored instant coffee in a blender and cover. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Add pudding mixes and remaining 2 cups of milk. Blend until smooth again on medium.

Pour slowly into lined bowl and top with fat-free whipped topping. Refrigerate for three hours until set. Garnish with extra undissolved flavored instant coffee, if desired. Serves 12.

Pumpkin pecan bread

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

1 egg white

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons molasses

1 cup and 2 tablespoons of sweetener

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin, whole egg, egg white, buttermilk, mo-lasses and sweetener. In a large bowl, measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and nuts. Stir and make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour pumpkin mixture into the well and stir just until all flour is moist. Do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the crack appears dry and the toothpick placed into the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from the pan and set on a rack.

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