Published on 11/11/10

How to cut fat, sugar and sodium during the holidays

By Sarah Lewis

Food during the holidays can be both healthy and delicious. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist Connie Crawley these gives tips to make healthier foods a little easier:

  • Use low-sodium and low-fat soups for casseroles.
  • Use low-fat cheese.
  • Serve a fresh turkey. Turkey is lean as long as it is not self-basting or fried.
  • Cut the butter or margarine in recipes by half. Or use soft margarines or small amounts of oil in place of butter.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables prepared as side dishes.
  • Cut sugar by a fourth to a third in sweet potato and other recipes. The American Heart Association is promoting consumption of less sugar as well as less fat to reduce heart disease risk.
  • Serve baked sweet potatoes instead of a sweet potato casserole. Top each with a little light margarine, brown sugar or sugar substitute and cinnamon.
  • Cut salt in half in all your recipes or leave it out completely.
  • Use herb shakers or fresh lemon juice in place of salt to add flavor.
  • Cut cheese added to recipes in half. And use shredded cheese. It will look like more and go farther.
  • Use sugar-free gelatin for desserts and salads.
  • Use light or fat-free versions of mayonnaise, sour cream, half and half and evaporated milk.
  • Use whole wheat bread and add nuts or cranberries to the dressing or stuffing. Every fourth cup of dressing equals a slice of bread. By adding cranberries or nuts, you add fiber and antioxidants from the cranberries and healthy fat from the nuts.
  • Offer whole grain or whole-wheat rolls as an option.
  • Offer lighter desserts such as fruit or a low-fat cheesecake in addition to typical holiday favorites.
  • Make a piecrust with oil instead of shortening. You can also use oil when you make biscuits.
  • Cut back on fats in recipes – like oil and butter – by a fourth.
  • Make pumpkin pudding instead of pumpkin pie.
  • Use diabetes cookbooks for recipes that are lower in sugar and calories.
  • Remember to try these changes beforehand. Some adaptations and recipes will vary in quality.

    Sarah Lewis is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.