FIT for Women, Health & Wellness

Healthy recipe tips for the holidays and every day

By The Edith Sanford team

December 17, 2013

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Holiday meals are wonderful. Not being able to button your pants is not. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your traditional favorites – with some healthy recipe hacks.

Use the following tips to lighten up your favorite holiday (and everyday) dishes. Come January 1st, you’ll be glad you did. And your pants will be, too.

Break up with butter

Look, we love butter but cooking with olive oil is the way to go. Olive oil has half the saturated fat of butter and contains no cholesterol. Plus, olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol. So switch to olive oil – your heart will thank you!

Greek yogurt, your new best friend

You see Greek yogurt everywhere and you are well versed in its high-protein virtues. But did you know that it’s a versatile, healthy addition in all kinds of dishes?

Use plain, fat free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, butter, mayo, or cream cheese in almost any recipe and you’re cutting fat and calories without sacrificing flavor and texture. You can even substitute Greek yogurt for vegetable oil while baking! What’s not to love?

Bake smart

It’s easy to tell yourself “There’s no way this cookie can be healthy, so why bother trying?” But what if you could cut the fat and sugar in your baked good without making an unpalatable mess?

Here is the secret – don’t give up on fat and sugar all together, but apply the 50% Rule: Use half of what the recipe calls for, and substitute the other half with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!

Don’t settle for bland

For some, healthy is synonymous with bland. But it doesn’t have to be! There are literally hundreds of spices you can use to boost the flavor of your dishes without adding fat, salt or sugar.

Chicken breast = meh.

Chicken breast marinated in turmeric, ginger and cumin = fantastic.

Experiment with your spice cabinet and explore what’s available in your local specialty store. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish for your taste buds without sabotaging your waistline.

Methods matter

When it comes to prepping healthy foods, your methods matter. Even the most nutritious foods can become junk if they’re smothered and cooked in butter, cream and oil. We’re going to share five simple words that will help keep your healthy food healthy:

  • Bake – We’re pretty sure you’ve got this one.
  • Broil – See above.
  • Steam – Veggies cooked by steam retain the nutrients lost to boiling, and there’s no need to add butter or oil.
  • Sauté – Sautéing uses minimal oil – score!
  • Grill – Grilling adds flavor and actually reduces the fat content of meats.

Using these tried and true cooking techniques, you can make the most of healthful ingredients while still making delicious meals. You’re welcome!