A Healthy Holiday
The holiday season seems to be the unofficial time of year dedicated to excess. Let’s face it, the season commences with an entire day dedicated to just food. And while we often hear about ways to “survive” the holidays in regards to fighting all the festive, food-filled temptation, it’s important to maintain a healthy perspective. The holidays are the perfect time of year to celebrate good food in the company of those who matter most.
Of course, there will inevitably be dishes and desserts that are nothing short of indulgent – but this is also a wonderful time of year to take advantage of some healthy foods, too. Even your favorite baked sweets and treats can be prepared with health in mind.
Try one of these simple strategies to add more nutrition to your recipes – without compromising taste.
To reap the benefits of whole grains, swap half the amount of all-purpose flour for 100% whole wheat, or prepare recipes that ask for whole rolled oats in the ingredients list.
To reduce your intake of trans fat, avoid stick margarine. Instead use small amounts of virgin coconut oil, vegan butter substitutes, or dairy butter, if you prefer.
To reduce your intake of saturated fat, replace half of your solid fat with vegetable or olive oil. For additional heart healthy unsaturated fat, incorporate chopped nuts or seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds or flax seeds into your recipe.
For a boost of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and flavor add fruits or vegetables when you can. Ideas include:
- Fresh fruit, such as berries, chopped pears, or even applesauce
- Dried fruit, such as raisins or cherries
- Grated vegetables, such as zucchini or carrot
- Vegetable purees such as pumpkin or sweet potato
- Canned tomato soup for an extra – nutritious and unique spin on holiday recipe, as shown in the recipe below.
Tomato Soup Cake
While “tomato soup” and “cake” may seem like an odd pairing, this recipe is an absolute must-try. The end result is similar to spice cake and makes for the ultimate holiday treat. Not only will your family and friends appreciate the taste, they’ll be thanking you for the gift of health, too.
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup golden raisins (optional)
½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ round cake pan or bundt pan with vegetable oil or butter.
In a medium bowl, cream butter, oil and sugar together. Add egg, and mix well.
In a separate large bowl, combine tomato soup and baking soda. Stir well, allowing mixture to foam. Add creamed mixture to tomato soup, and mix well.
Add the flour to the combined mixture ½ cup at a time until thoroughly mixed. Add the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and walnuts (if using) and stir until well combined.
Bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before frosting.
Makes 12 servings.
Nutritional analysis per serving (with nuts and raisins): Calories: 289, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 256mg, Carbohydrates: 42g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 19g, Protein: 5g, Vitamin A: 6%, Vitamin C: 18%, Calcium: 6%, Iron: 7 %
Cream Cheese Frosting
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups powdered sugar
Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and mix well. Slowly add powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time until thoroughly mixed.
Makes 12 servings.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 88, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 28mg, Carbohydrates: 10g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 10, Protein: 1g, Vitamin A: 0%, Vitamin C: 0%, Calcium: 1%, Iron: 1 %