Keeping traditional holiday recipes healthy

(Johnny/Flickr Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Get ready everyone, one of the biggest food days of the year is about here, Thanksgiving.

The Calorie Control Council reports a typical holiday dinner alone can be around 3,000 calories.  Add in appetizers, and that number can quickly turn into 4500 calories.

“For a lot of people the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but a lot of times they are the least heart healthy time of the year,” said Missty Lechner, with the American Heart Association of Topeka.

So what do we do to change that?

“A few tips that won’t really change the menu all that much, but will drastically change the health of your food is to cook with those herbs. Some of the herbs and spices we think of during Thanksgiving and Christmas are cloves and rosemary. And that adds a lot of flavor without much fat.  And if you’re running short on time, or if you’re not a cook like some people are, go ahead and plan to bring that fruit tray or vegetable tray, and those are always good options,” said Lechner.

Substituting healthy ingredients in your recipes, is an easy way to keep your traditional favorites alive, while also being healthy.

“My favorite tip, because I love baking so much, is I always offer to bring the rolls. And when I bake the rolls I use half whole wheat flour and half white flour. Honestly most of the time no one even notices the difference. And yet your still packing those rolls with good whole grains,” said Lechner.

And remember, the banquet table may be long, but portions can still stay small.

Missty reminds us to always check the full spread of foods before filling your plate.

“You don’t want to accidentally over fill your plate on the first half of the buffet before you get to the second half. After you eat your meal, offer to split a dessert with your friends and family. You get half the calories and you waste less.”

Remember, it’s not all about the food. Getting in exercise while enjoying the holidays, is just as important as the healthy eating.

Check out the American Heart Association’s Healthy Eating Guide –


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