Entries tagged with: holiday

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You don’t have to skip parties just because you have diabetes. Learn how to navigate high-calorie party foods without ruining your diet.

A Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Thanksgiving Menu

posted by Sean Kelley on November 21, 2011 12:37 PM


If you're trying to watch what you eat, Thanksgiving feasts can really wreck your diet. These five traditional foods--and recipes--are loaded with healthy nutrients but not calories.

Corn Cakes

Corn may get a bad rap because of high fructose corn syrup, but an ear of corn is loaded with B vitamins, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese. Plus, it's Thanksgiving gold--the Wampanoag introduced the pilgrims to corn.

Cannellini Bean Soup

Creamy cannellini beans are a good source of fiber, which can help fill you up and may help lower your cholesterol.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Root vegetables like leeks, parsnips and rutabagas are an inexpensive and nutritious alternative to out-of-season veggies.

Sweet Potato Wontons

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which converts to the antioxidant vitamin A once in our bodies.

Cranberry Chutney

Cranberries are a great winter source of vitamin C.

Peppermint Meringue Snowballs Recipe

posted by Liz Weiss, RD on December 9, 2010 10:15 PM

Makes 3 dozen; serving size 1 meringue


Whether you're hosting a cookie swap party or looking for a low-calorie cookie to leave for Santa (he could certainly lose a few pounds), these light and airy cookies should hit the spot. I first created this recipe with the holidays in mind, but as far as I'm concerned, they're amazing any time of the year. The main ingredients in meringues are egg whites and sugar; they don't contain flour, so if you're on a gluten or wheat-free diet you can eat them without worry.

4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional *
1/4 cup finely crushed candy canes or peppermint candy

1. Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil and set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks. This will take about 10 minutes. Beat in the peppermint extract as desired.

3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Drop meringue by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheets, leaving a 1-inch space in between. Sprinkle tops with crushed candy.

4. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and leave meringues in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

5. Let meringues cool completely before removing from foil. Store in an airtight container.

* Do not use peppermint extract containing peppermint oil (the meringues will deflate). For best results, use imitation peppermint extract.

30 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated), 5mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0.5g protein

A Recipe for Holiday Stress Relief

posted by Andrea Kane on November 22, 2010 2:50 PM


It seems that every year, around mid-October, my life starts to slowly snowball out of control. First there is Halloween and the pressure of helping my kids devise (and then create) a clever costume.

Then comes November which brings with it one daughter's birthday (with attendant celebration), followed by Thanksgiving (which involves either travel or cooking or both). And then before I know it, December descends upon me and so does the other daughter's birthday, closely followed by my husband's and father's birthdays (this year it's the BIG 8-0 for Pops!) and then Christmas/Chanukah (which also involves either cooking or travel or both).

Of course, there are also holiday cards to make and mail, and "perfect" gifts to find, buy and ship. Not to mention office and neighborhood parties (which require dressing up and trying to score a sitter) and cookie-exchanges (which require baking cookies!).

If cultural indicators are to be trusted, I know that I am not alone: 'Tis the season to be totally stressed out. But, as we all know by now, stress is not good for body or soul.

According to the experts, there are steps we can take to reduce that stress, most of which is of our own making.

"One of the big things is that people do a lot of 'should-ing' this time of year," says Paula Bloom, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia. "They have an ideal in their heads—from magazines and movies and family expectations—for how things should be. But it does not line up with what they can or want to do." This, she says, creates tension.

The solution? "Stop 'should-ing' all over yourself" she advises. Create your own traditions based on what matters to you, not what you think you should be doing. To help you decide what is important, focus on the spiritual, instead of commercial, aspects of the holidays. And spend your financial and emotional capital wisely—you don't want to get to January emotionally or financially bankrupt.

The second big reason holidays create so much stress is that they take us out of our daily routines. "People stop doing the things that keep them healthy physically and mentally: sleeping and eating right, and exercising," says Bloom.

"Take care of yourself. Just because you're going to party doesn't mean you throw out your good behavior. Stay on your exercise schedule and maintain healthy sleep patterns if you can. In general we do well when we have routines," says Bloom. She notes that it's much easier to maintain an existing routine than it is to start one.

For many people, the Granddaddy of all stressors is interacting with family. "We all have our issues with our family," says Bloom. "Holidays are often time when people get mega, mega doses of their family. It can be intense." Her advice to counter family-induced stress: spend time with the people you enjoy.

The American Psychological Association advises people with family issues to be realistic about the situation. "If you have bad feelings about someone, try and avoid him or her and not make an issue of it but don't pretend that all is well. This will enable you to feel true to yourself and less stressed out."

The Mayo Clinic counsels people to set aside grievances until a more appropriate time to discuss them, and to remember that others are likely feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.

To reduce my stress level this year, here's what I'm going to do: Cut my trip to my hometown from 10 days to four. I'm sure the change will greatly reduce my parents' stress level, as well. Happy Holidays, Mom and Dad!

Related Links:
How to relax your body

Tips to eliminate negative thoughts and ease stress

Can knitting really relieve stress? Our resident humorist unwinds this yarn.

Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe

posted by Sean Kelley on November 22, 2010 9:34 AM


Makes 12 servings; serving size: about 1 cup

Root vegetables are a winter favorite around our house. When the price of out-of-season veggies go up, root vegetables like rutabagas, parsnips and leeks remain inexpensive.

But the real value of root vegetables is in their nutritional content. Rutabagas are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Parsnips are a good source of folate, which helps produce and maintain new cells. Leeks are an good source of vitamin A, beta carotene and lutein, a nutrient that is good for eye health.

Plus, they make an filling replacement for meat in the center of a plate.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 rutabaga
1 pound carrots
1 pound parsnips
2 onions
2 leeks
1 fennel bulb
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp coarse sea salt

1. Spray two baking pans with cooking spray. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Move racks to top two positions.

2. Peel and cut rutabaga, carrots and parsnips into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop onions. Slice white and light green parts of leeks and slice fennel bulb (not stems). Toss root vegetables and potatoes with oil and pepper in a large bowl then split evenly between two baking pans.

3. Separate pans on different shelves and bake for 30 minutes. Add 5 garlic cloves to each pan, swap pan positions and bake another 30 minutes.

4. Sprinkle sea salt over veggies and serve.

156 calories, 5g total fat (1g sat, 3g mono, 1g poly) 0mg cholesterol, 26g carbohydrate, 88mg calcium, 246mg sodium, 3g protein, 6g fiber, 2mg iron

Related links:

Cranberry chutney on corn griddle cakes

Sweet Potato Wontons

Cannellini Bean Soup

Five Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

posted by Sean Kelley on November 22, 2010 8:25 AM


One of the best--and worst--parts of holidays are the desserts. I love a slice of pecan pie or an apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately, most holiday desserts are loaded with saturated fat and sugar.

But holiday desserts don't have to be dietary disasters. For a simple dessert, we like to take raspberries, blueberries and walnuts and mix them with whipped cream. Sugar free whipped heavy cream has as few as 20 calories a serving and only 2 grams of fat. We also whip vanilla flavored Greek yogurt with melted dark chocolate, nuts and strawberries for another low-fat, low-cal treat.

Here are some other tasty holiday dessert recipes that won't stuff you with extra fat and sugar:

Apple Blueberry Walnut Crisp Dessert Recipe--Get the recipe.

Pumpkin and Maple Ice-Cream Sandwiches--Get the recipe.

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream-- Get the recipe.

Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole-- Get the recipe.

Oatmeal Pecan Pie-- Get the recipe.

Corn Cakes With Cranberry Chutney Recipe

posted by Sean Kelley on November 21, 2010 8:31 PM


The sweet-tart goodness of cranberries combine perfectly with the savory flavor in these corn griddle cakes. Throw in a gravy boatload of nutrients like vitamin C and fiber and you have a healthy side for any seasonal feast.

Cranberry Chutney
Makes about three cups; serving size: 2 tbsp

1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tbsp canola oil
1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mint leaves finely chopped

Over medium heat, sauté shallot, chili and garlic in oil until soft. Add remaining ingredients and stir occasionally for 10 minutes, or until cranberries burst.

Corn Griddle Cakes
Makes about 10 cakes; serving size 1 cake

1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
4 tbsp. canola oil, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup skim milk

1. Combine corn, green onions, eggs and 2 tbsp. oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

2. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat. Drop spoonfuls of mixture into skillet. Cook until edges set. Flip and cook until cakes are browned and cooked through.

Nutrition (combined):
161 calories, 8g total fat, 1g sat fat, 4g mono fat, 3g poly fat, 37mg cholesterol, 21g carbohydrate, 49mg calcium, 278mg sodium, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 1mg iron

Related links:

Sweet Potato Wontons

Roasted Root Vegetables

Cannellini Bean Soup

Cannellini Bean Soup Recipe

posted by Sean Kelley on November 21, 2010 8:27 PM


Servings: 10; serving size: about 1 cup

This warm, but light soup features the cannellini bean, which is loaded fiber, iron and magnesium. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function. The spinach adds an extra boost of folate and lutein, which is good for nervous system and can keep your eyes healthy.

16 oz. cannellini beans or navy beans
1 tbsp canola oil
1 clove garlic minced
4 cups uncooked spinach chopped
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1 leek, cleaned chopped chopped (white parts)
2 celery ribs chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 tbsp oregano

1. Soak beans in a large pot overnight. Discard water and rinse beans. Put beans in a clean pot and cover with water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil and simmer beans for one hour.

2. In a large stock pot, sauté garlic, onion and spinach until onion is soft and spinach is wilted. Add beans, leek and celery and mix well. Add vegetable broth plus two cups of water. Add oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

3. Serve with a wedge of lime.

216 calories, 2.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 39g carbohydrate, 123mg calcium, 297mg sodium, 11g protein, 14.8g fiber, 3.85mg iron

Related links:

Cranberry chutney on corn griddle cakes

Sweet Potato Wontons

Roasted Root Vegetables