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Holiday Food Face-off

  • Ham versus turkey?
    • Choose turkey. Both are a good source of protein, however if you skip the skin, turkey provides significantly less fat. Also, ham has 15 times more sodium than turkey.
  • Soft cheese versus hard cheese?
    • Choose soft cheese. Soft cheeses have fewer calories and fat.
  • Gingerbread cookies versus chocolate chip cookies?
    • Choose gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread cookies contain half the amount of calories, sugar and fat than chocolate chip cookies.
  • Candy canes versus truffle balls?
    • Choose candy canes. The good thing about it is that it lasts a long time and most people don’t eat more than one piece. Keep in mind that candy canes are full of refined sugars.

Instead of using the holidays as an excuse for high-fat, high-calorie feasting, use these tips to keep good health in mind:

 Control portions: Have a small plate (about 9” diameter or so) of the foods you like best and move away from the buffet table. Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize you are full!

  1. Double up on vegetables: Serve vitamin-packed, lower-calorie vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Eat vegetables first to curb your appetite.
  2. Lighten up: Lighten up favorite recipes. Use fat-free evaporated skim milk instead of cream in pies and sauces.
  3. Make fruit the star: Serve berries for a holiday breakfast. Include colorful chunks of fresh fruit at a holiday buffet.
  4. Give healthful gifts: Bake breads with whole grains. Give a basket of fruit instead of candy.
  5. Bring mints or gum: This way, you will be less tempted to snack.
  6. Focus on fun, not food!


Crudités Vegetable Wreath with Ranch Dip


8 cups broccoli florets

3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed

2 cups green beans

1 cup sugar snap peas

½ bunch curly kale (washed)

2 cups cauliflower florets

9 cherry tomatoes


1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

½ cup mayonnaise

2 TBSP finely chopped shallots

2 TBSP fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried

4 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

Pinch of pepper

  1. To prepare crudités: Put a large pot of water to boil. Set a large bowl of ice water by the stove. Blanch broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes in the boiling water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice bath to chill. Drain well. Blanch Brussels sprouts, green beans and snap peas in the same way.
  2. To prepare dip: Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, shallots, dill, vinegar, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl; set it in the center of a large circular platter or decorative serving board.
  3. Arrange kale around the bowl, with the frilly edges on the outside. Top with the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, snap peas and cauliflower. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Serving size: ½ cup vegetables and 1TBSP dip

Per serving: 49 calories, 3 g fat, 4 g carb, 2 g protein


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