The Richmond Register

Local News

November 26, 2012

Making a happy, healthy holiday dinner

‘Jolly without the jiggle’

RICHMOND — Pant and skirt waists may be tighter for some now that Thanksgiving is over, but there is still time to prepare a Christmas meal that’s full of jolly without the jiggle.

Kim DeCoste, diabetes educator for the Madison County Health Department and member of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition, gives tips about ways to reduce the fat and calories in many holiday favorites.

Aside from her recipe alterations, adding a new holiday tradition could be the key to preventing a day-long, holiday meal coma.

“A very important thing is physical activity,” DeCoste said. “Take the whole family for a walk. Also, try not to give in to all the stress of the holiday. Relax and enjoy, because we know stress most often causes the blood sugar to go up.”

What some dub the “Coronary Christmas” is more than a myth, according to information found at www.WebMD.com.

“In a national 2004 study published in ‘Circulation,’ researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University School of Medicine examined 53 million U.S. death certificates from 1973 to 2001. They discovered an overall increase of 5 percent in heart-related deaths during the holiday season. According to the report, fatal heart attacks peak on Christmas and New Year’s Day, especially among the most rapidly stricken patients. According to the ‘Circulation’ study, ‘The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1.’”

The keep the fat out of the kitchen, DeCoste recommends using ? less liquid or solid fat called for in the recipe.

“If the recipe calls for 1 cup, use 3/4 cups,” she said. “If it uses 1/4 cup of shortening, use three tablespoons of oil. Use equal amounts of oil for melted shortening, margarine or butter.

Instead of whole milk, half and half or evaporated milk, use skim milk, 1-percent milk, evaporated skim milk, fat-free half and half or plain soy milk with calcium.

Instead of eggs, use egg whites. Two egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute equals one whole egg, DeCoste said.

Try to skip frying in fat.

“Use cooking methods such as baking, boiling, broiling, drilling, poaching, roasting, stir-frying or microwaving,” she said.

As a general rule, reduce salt content by one-half in all recipes and use salt-free seasonings and spices mixes.

When it comes to sugar “Reduce sugar by 1/4 to 1/3 in baked goods and desserts,” she said. “If a recipe calls for one cup, use 2/3 cup. Cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract can be added to give the impression of sweetness.”

Contact the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the Madison County Health Department at 623-7312 for more healthy holiday cooking tips.

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