One of the best things about the holidays is the chance to eat your favorite foods and enjoy traditional family recipes. While that may seem impossible to someone on a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet, we’re about to give you some tips so that, by making just a few modifications, holiday feasting can be a bit less fat laden and still a whole lot enjoyable.
Easy substitutions can make a big difference
Learn to make a few minor substitutions when cooking your favorite meals and follow these tips from the National Institutes of Health. You’ll find yourself eating healthier year round – even during the holidays.
- MILK: choose low-fat, fat-free, nonfat dry, or evaporated fat-free milk for cooking
- EGGS: instead of 2 whole eggs, use 3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk; replace 1 whole egg with 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute
- SALT: use herbs and spices instead of salt for flavoring and choose low-sodium bouillon and broth
- OIL: use cooking oil spray to coat pans
- BUTTER: use a small amount of vegetable oil instead of lard or butter in recipes, and when you sit down to dinner use a flavorful olive oil dip instead of butter on bread
- MEAT: choose lean cuts and eat meat only on occasion
- POULTRY: remove skin before cooking
- SALAD DRESSING: prepare salad dressing from scratch using equal parts of water and vinegar and then use half the oil you normally would or buy fat free or low-fat dressing
- SOUPS, STEWS and GRAVIES: an easy way to remove fat from homemade broth, soups, gravies and stews is to prepare it ahead and chill it, then before reheating remove the hardened fat from the surface
- BREADS: for muffins or quick breads, use 3 ripe, well-mashed bananas instead of a 1/2 cup of butter or oil. Or, substitute a cup of applesauce for a cup of butter, margarine, oil or shortening for moist, tasty cakes and muffins
- DESSERTS: For chocolaty desserts, substitute 3 Tbsp of cocoa for every ounce of baking chocolate. If you need to replace the fat in chocolate, add up to 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Make cakes and soft-drop cookies by using no more than 2 Tbsp of fat for each cup of flour. Make your pie crust with only 1/2 cup of soft margarine for every 2 cups of flour.
Making these simple changes can significantly lower the fat content in many of your favorite foods. Still, be careful to eat desserts and other sweet treats in moderation. While they may be lower in fat, all of the calories don’t simply disappear. So don’t overindulge.
Low-Fat Versions of Holiday Favorites
Everyone loves lasagna and it’s a great dish to make around the holidays, but the heavy meats and cheeses in most recipes can make blood cholesterol skyrocket. We found this great-tasting recipe that’s low in calories and has only 5 grams of fat on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Web site. It’s sure to please your whole family.
- 1/2 pound cooked lasagna noodles, (in unsalted water)
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, part-skim, grated
- 1 1/2 cup cottage cheese, fat free
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 cup zucchini, raw, sliced
- 2 1/2 cup tomato sauce, no salt added
- 2 tsp basil, dried
- 2 tsp oregano, dried
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/8 cup mozzarella and 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with all of the cottage cheese. Mix well and set aside.
- Combine tomato sauce with remaining ingredients. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Add a third of the noodles in a single layer. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture on top. Add a layer of zucchini. Repeat layering. Add a thin coating of sauce. Top with noodles, sauce, and reserved cheese mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 6 portions.
Makes 6 servings: Serving size: 1 piece
Total Fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 11 mg
Sodium: 380 mg
Pumpkin Bran Apple Muffins
These delicious muffins have less than 1 gram of saturated fat with 4.1 grams of dietary fiber. If you have little goblins, they will gobble them up. It’s a tasty Halloween treat, goes great with Thanksgiving meals or as an occasional breakfast treat.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
- 1 cup applesauce
- 2 egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place all dry ingredients into a bowl, mix to combine well.
- In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (pumpkin, milk, applesauce and eggs, vanilla).
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and mix well to combine.
- Add chopped walnuts, and stir until combined.
- Spray muffin tins with PAM or use paper baking cups.
- Spoon mixture in heaping spoonfuls into muffin tin.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes, or until golden brown, and toothpick comes out dry.
Makes 12 muffins: Serving size: 1 muffin
Total Fat: 4.6 g
Saturated fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 17 mg
Sodium: 393 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 45.3 g, Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
As the weather cools down, the time is right to take out the old crock pot and let this delicious blending of flavors and aroma fill your senses. It’s also a great recipe for turkey leftovers. We hope you enjoy it and check out other cholesterol-lowering recipes at www.lower-cholesterol-today.com.
- 3 lbs chicken (or turkey)
- 1 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes and chilies
- 1 10 oz can tomato soup (low sodium*)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onions, diced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup stuffed green olives
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 1/2 tsp Thyme
- Season chicken (or turkey) lightly with salt and pepper and place in crock pot.
- Top with all other ingredients.
- Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours.
- Remove poultry from crock pot and shred meat from the bones.
- Return shredded poultry meat into crock pot and stir.
- Serve on rice or toast.
Total Fat: 4.7 g
Saturated fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 74 mg
Sodium: 2172 mg*
Total Carbohydrates: 17.2 g, Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
* The sodium shown is for the recipe prepared with regular tomato soup; however, we recommend substituting low-sodium tomato soup which will dramatically decrease the amount of sodium.
Keep an eye out for more cholesterol-lowering recipes in books and magazines. You can cut out the fat and leave in the flavor if you know how. Enjoy!