Nutrition and Eating

Make the Holidays Lighter This Year

With the holiday season comes family, friends, social gatherings, and of course, food. There never seems to be a shortage of food during this time of year; from cocktail parties to buffets and potlucks, we're constantly battling temptation. 

Maria Adkins, a clinical dietitian at Good Samaritan Hospital, provides some tips on how to best navigate food during the holidays, and also shares some of her favorite recipes she's come across over the years.  

Holiday Eating Tips: 

During holiday gatherings this season, Maria encourages people to keep these tips in mind to help better control eating:

  • Don’t skip meals
  • Eat slowly
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Focus on weight maintenance, not weight loss
  • Walk between dinner and dessert
  • Include fresh fruits/vegetables when eating
  • Focus on family and not just food

Holiday Recipe Alternatives:

Below are some recipes to help lighten up holiday meals by choosing alternative ingredients for traditional side dishes. By making simple ingredient swaps, you're helping make the year's biggest meals healthier for family and friends.

Lighter Gravy

By skimming your turkey stock prior to adding to the gravy, you are removing unneeded fat and calories.


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 cups turkey stock with fat skimmed off the top
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a saucepan, begin heating the onion, mushrooms, and parsley with about 1/2 cup of the turkey stalk until tender. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the broth, being sure to stir until completely dissolved.

Add this mixture to the broth in the saucepan and blend until well mixed. Finally add the remaining turkey broth and then bring to a boil for two minutes, stirring throughout until it's thickened.

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

You can use either a powdered or liquid artificial sweetener to reduce carbohydrates, making this a healthier alternative to traditional cranberry sauce.


  • 1 bag of fresh or frozen (no sugar added) cranberries (12 oz)
  • Sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar (Splenda, Stevia or liquid artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Put cranberries in a pot on the stove, and pick through to remove soft and/or brown ones

Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

Stir frequently. The cranberries will pop, and then release their "gel" -- and the sauce will come together like magic. Cook until the sauce is the consistency you want - (about 5 to 10 minutes).

Mashed Cauliflower

While we all love mashed potatoes, they are high in carbohydrates. By using cauliflower, you’re not only lowering the carb count, but you’re also increasing nutrients. Also, the cauliflower taste is very mild. 


  • Raw cauliflower - a medium head makes about a pound of florets
  • Any combination of butter, milk, cream, or whatever you use when you make mashed potatoes - about 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • If you have low carb "instant mashed potatoes", add up to 1/4 cup for texture*
  • Options: minced garlic (a clove or two); garlic powder (1/2 to 1 teaspoon); cheese


Break the cauliflower up into florets, or just chop. Cook in the microwave or steam the florets until they are tender - (a fork should easily pierce it).

The easiest thing to do is to add the rest of the ingredients to the container the cauliflower is cooked in, and then use a stick (hand) blender to put it all together. Or you can put it all in a regular blender or food processor. 5 Transformed Thanksgiving Recipes For A Low-Calorie Meal! Accessed at on November 13, 2013. Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce. Accessed at
on November 13, 2013 Mashed Cauliflower (Cauliflower Puree). Accessed at
on November 13, 2013

Tags Nutrition and Eating , Wellness and Fitness