Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Healthy Holiday Meals – A New Tradition for Bronx Families

Turkey…mac and cheese…collard greens…cranberry sauce… sweet potato pie. Who’s excited for Thanksgiving and the holiday season?!  In three days, family, friends, and neighbors will come together for a wonderful day of amazing food, family stories, and football. After Hurricane Sandy, this holiday full of warmth and good food is definitely welcomed.
However, maintaining our weight and keeping our blood sugar down is not easy over the holiday season. For those of us who have diabetes, it is even more challenging. I discovered that the average American gains 3-5 pounds during the holidays. With over 11 percent of adults in the Bronx being diabetic, we cannot afford the extra weight.
In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, I am taking up the challenge to prepare favorite family holiday recipes with healthier ingredients and to eat smaller portions during the holiday season. I hope my fellow Bronxites will take up the challenge as well. I know it is hard, but I believe it is possible. Many of us have been preparing healthier meals and reducing the amount we eat each meal for the last few years – and that’s great! But the holiday season does not mean it is time to go back to old habits.
Below are some healthy cooking and eating tips and healthy, diabetic-friendly holiday recipes that the Bronx Health REACH team has gathered over the years to help us create a meal plan for ourselves and our family and friends.

Healthy Cooking Tips
  • Make eggnog with low-fat milk.
  • Instead of using butter, lard or salt to give flavor to meat and vegetables, use canola or olive oil, lemon and orange juice, lemon peel, and herbs such as rosemary, basil and tarragon.
  • Bake turkey breasts instead of the whole turkey. Remove the skin and fat from the turkey when eating.
  • Try making lighter gravy using the turkey broth and herbs.
  • Serve a salad with low-fat salad dressing as a first course.
  • Serve 100% whole grain pasta, bread, brown rice and crackers.
  • Serve cut up vegetables as a snack before dinner with low-fat ranch dressing or dips with low-fat sour cream.
  • Make stuffing healthy by adding more vegetables like celery, peppers, and onions. Leave out the sausage.
  • Make sweet potatoes without marshmallows. Sprinkle on extra cinnamon instead for flavor.
  • Use non-fat milk, chicken or vegetable broth in mashed potatoes instead of butter or cream. Add garlic for flavor.
  • Serve collard greens or spinach with very little or no oil. Use lemon juice instead of salt.
  • Serve fresh fruit salad or low-sugar gelatin before serving pies and cakes.
  • Arrange a buffet table so that the vegetables, fruits and whole grains are first.
Healthy Eating Tips
  • Eat lunch. Have a small sandwich, fruit or crackers and lots of water before leaving home so as not to be tempted to eat three servings of your Grandma’s mac and cheese!
  • Fill up on lots of vegetables and salad, but avoid large amounts of salad dressing, especially if it’s not low-fat! Filling up with vegetables will reduce the amount of meat, stuffing, and other high-calorie foods.
  • Control the amount of each type of food you eat. By making healthy choices, we reduce our risk of diabetes and heart disease. For diabetics, healthy eating will help control blood sugar level.
  • Drink water with a touch of lemon or seltzer instead of soda and fruit juice. High calorie sodas and sweet drinks can add hundreds of calories to the meal. If I must have a soda, I will drink diet soda.
  • Don’t eat to make someone else happy. If someone offers more sweet potatoes with marshmallows or asks, “Did you taste my pie?” I plan to politely say, “I’m sure it’s delicious but I’m already full!” or only have one small taste.
Healthy and Diabetic-Friendly Recipes
Mac and Cheese Lite
Courtesy of Now Eat This! By Rocco DiSpirito
Nonstick cooking spray
4 ounces whole wheat macaroni
1/2 cup onion-garlic puree
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mist an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set it aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions, drain. Meanwhile, bring onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in cheddar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt. In a medium bowl, toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Season with salt to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle panko over the top. Top with Parmesan. Bake until Parmesan is melted and macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes.
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 2/3 cup
Per serving: 237 calories, 17g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 7g fat (4g saturated), 3g fiber
Cranberry Sauce with Splenda
Courtesy of www.diabetesdaily.com
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup Splenda
1/2 cup water
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 Tbs orange peel
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Combine cornstarch, Splenda and water in a medium saucepan, stirring until Splenda and cornstarch dissolve. Stir in cranberries, ginger and orange peel; bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until cranberry skins begin to pop and mixture begins to thicken. Set aside to cool. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.
Serving Size: 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
Serves: 6
Carbohydrates per serving: 14g
Lite Pecan Pie
Courtesy of www.diabetes.org
1 1/4 cups of graham crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon light margarine
1 tablespoon cold water
3/4 cup egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters (or 3 eggs)
1 cup sugar substitute for baking, such as Splenda
1/2 cup light margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pecan pieces
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare crust, combine crushed graham crackers, margarine, and water and press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake crust for 5 minutes, remove from oven and set aside. To prepare filling, mix egg substitute, sugar substitute and melted margarine and vanilla. Add pecan pieces and mix. Pour filling into crust and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool and serve at room temperature.
Serves: 8
Per serving: 297 calories; 20g carbohydrates; 23 fat
We would love to add more healthy recipes to our list!  Please send your favorite healthy holiday dishes to erodgers@institute2000.org or post them on the Bronx Health REACH Facebook page  www.facebook.com/BronxHealthREACH.
Have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving!
For more information about diabetes, please visit our website.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Welcome to the Bronx Health REACH blog! If you're new to Bronx Health REACH, check out our website to learn more about us. You can also friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!