Health Advice



Holiday Indulgence

Charlyn Fargo on

Oh, that holiday weight gain. It's tough to balance all the holiday parties and luscious food with the morning scale. Can you really have your cake and eat it, too, over the holidays -- without adding pounds on the scale?

With the right ingredient swaps, you can. Think yogurt for sour cream, high fiber cereal for graham crackers.

"I succeeded in making a healthier cheesecake that was a rich and creamy dessert that pleased even the most discerning taste buds," said Libby Mills, registered dietitian in Philadelphia, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "I swapped plain low-fat yogurt for the sour cream. I made the crust by crushing equal parts high-fiber cereal and graham crackers and substituted the butter for lemon juice to bind the crumbs together. My family loved it."

We all know we need to eat less added sugars and fat, but the holidays make that more challenging. When you can make or bring a dessert that lowers calories from added sugars and fat, it helps you stay on track and have fewer pounds to shed in January.

Here are some other ideas for minimizing your added sugars:

Make it mini. Watch your portion sizes. Make minicupcakes or minicookies using just 1 tablespoon of dough. Most of us satisfy our sweet tooth with a bite or two but end up finishing the entire dessert anyway. Start with just a bite or two.


Make it lighter. Substitute applesauce for oil, margarine or butter in muffins and quick breads such as banana bread. Use two egg whites in place of one egg to reduce dietary cholesterol. Some cake mixes even offer an applesauce alternative on the side of the box. Don't be afraid to try it.

Make it frozen. Make frozen treats by using 100% fruit juice. Dip some bananas into your favorite low-fat yogurt, and roll them in coarsely chopped, unsalted nuts, crunchy whole-grain cereal, granola or shaved coconut before freezing. Substitute a fruit sorbet instead of ice cream for a satisfying dessert.

Make it sweet, but use less sugar. You can reduce the sugar in many desserts by 25% without even noticing it. Try using 3 tablespoons of sugar instead of 4.

The bottom line is eating healthfully over the holidays doesn't mean you have to give up dessert; just give that traditional dessert a healthier twist.


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