Trick Your Tastebuds: Holiday Healthy Eating Tips that Do Not Sacrifice Taste

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During the holidays we shouldn’t have to give up our favorite recipes in order to be healthy. Whitsons Culinary Group Dietitian, Sandra Angelella, provides some tips for a healthy holiday feast.

Make some small changes to your favorite recipes and give the gift of better health that will last all year.

Nobody wants to eat diet food that looks and tastes like diet food. Especially during the holidays, we are drawn to heavy delicious meals that are not always calorie friendly. However, there are many ways we can trick our taste buds and enjoy low calorie foods that are high in flavor.

According to Sandra Angelella, Whitsons Culinary Group Dietitian, the key to enjoying a healthy holiday feast is just tweaking our favorite recipes and replacing some ingredients with healthier ones, “Special meals and exchanging gifts are often a part of a family’s traditional holiday celebration. Why not start a new tradition this year? Make some small changes to your favorite recipes and give the gift of better health that will last all year.”

Sometimes a simple change of ingredients can make a positive and healthier difference. For instance, replacing cream cheese with low-fat cottage cheese in the all-time favorite appetizer Cucumber Cups with Salmon Whip Cream reduces calories significantly, yet it maintains the overall savory flavor of the dish. Another idea for a low-fat treat is baked potato chips served with a dollop of fat-free sour cream and topped with any type of caviar or fish roe.

Another way to reduce the calorie and fat content of a dish is to slightly alter the preparation. You can avoid deep frying some foods by sautéing them, which is a much healthier option. Instead of deep frying breaded eggplant, sauté it and top it with low-fat ricotta and tomatoes for a healthy spin on a classic dish. Furthermore, to make those delicious baked desserts less caloric, you can substitute the fats such as butter or oils for prune purée or apple sauce. You can apply this trick to any type of muffins or sweet breads.

There is always room for dessert, right? So, why not try a lighter recipe? Desserts based on fruits are delicious and satisfy any sweet tooth craving. Try broiling seasonal fruits such as apples and pears or sautéing them in a pan with a little sugar and water. This will bring out the sweetness of the fruits without becoming too sugary and will provide you with beneficial vitamins and antioxidants. Another option is to replace the heavier ingredients with reduced fat ones such as a decadent chocolate cake made with Greek yogurt or a low-fat cheesecake made with fat-free sour cream and cream cheese.

About Whitsons School Nutrition:
Whitsons Culinary Group provides a wide range of highly customized dining services to public and private schools, corporations and institutions, with a strong focus on nutritious, high quality meals made from fresh, wholesome ingredients. Whitsons has a long and proud history of excellence and growth since 1979 and currently ranks the 16th largest dining company in the United States (Food Management magazine, September 2011). Whitsons’ scope of expertise and services extends to: culinary development, residential and healthcare dining, delivered meals, emergency dining and vending services.


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Sonia Garrido
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