“My mom made two dishes: Take it or Leave it.” — Stephen Wright, comedian


Love this quote! I’m a mom who doesn’t like to cook a different meal for each family member based on what they like and don’t like. (I will admit that I do this for some meals, but I would rather not). I would rather them just “learn to like it” no matter what is served!

For holiday season and meals, my family members love the traditional stuff…turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, rolls, and pies. Part of the reason, they love these meals for Thanksgiving & Christmas is that they taste awesome, but aren’t so good for you because they contain lots of fat and sodium. So what can we do to make these traditional holiday foods more healthy?

I’ve added a link to the “eating well” website which is a great resource for healthy substitutions in traditional dishes. The site has yummy-looking green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole recipes posted now.

What did I do?

Thanksgiving AM:
Breakfast casserole
Breakfast Casserole: Used egg whites for half of the eggs, used gluten-free bread, used chicken sausage. Did they still like it? Look at the evidence…ate about 3/4 of the pan!
Served with fruit, black coffee, and turkey bacon

I put out all kinds of fruit for everyone to snack on. They did tend to gravitate towards the pies, but I encouraged them to eat pumpkin!

free range turkey
1. Free-range organic turkey instead of Butterball (injected with lots of sodium and hormones)
2. Mash potatoes: almond milk and lite sour cream replacing butter and regular milk
3. Green Bean Casserole: Used frozen instead of canned, added broccoli, used TVP for topping instead of onions
4. Stuffing: Used TVP for half and bread crumbs for half
5. Cranberries: Added to salads & vegetables instead of the jellied stuff
6. Creamed corn: Replaced with frozen corn, thawed and flavored with herbs instead of butter.

Other holiday favorites that need substitutions:
1. Peppermint white chocolate mocha (540 cals)
peppermint mocha
2. Chocolate martini
3. Egg nog
4. Ginger bread, sugar cookies
5. Popcorn balls
popcorn balls
6. Cinnamon or pecan rolls (730 cals, 25 g fat) this is a dessert disguised as a breakfast food
cinnamon rolls
7. Apple pie a-la-mode, pecan pie
8. “fruit cake”
9. Glazed ham
10. Cheesecake

1. Wassal (hot apple cider)
2. Regular martini
3. Sugar free hot chocolate
dark chocolate
4. Candy cane, dark chocolate
candy canes
5. Home-cooked popcorn in safflower oil with lite salt
6. No substitute – don’t eat these!
7. Pumpkin pie
pumpkin pie
8. Fresh fruit
9. Cooked ham without the sugar and butter injected
10. Frozen yogurt

Back at it!
Beverages: Normal 70-90 ounces water, 2 cups coffee in AM, large unsweetened tea in PM
Exercise: Taught Integrated Strength – 1hour, cycling 1 hour, core 30 minutes
• Egg “sandwich”, 2 egg whites, 1 egg and spinach, sandwiched between pepper-jack cheese and deli ham
egg sandwich
• Huge salad: greens, broccoli, cauliflour, carrots, olives, tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, olive oil and lemon.
Snacks: Beanitos, apple, vitamix tomato/carrot blend
tomato-carrot smoothie
Micro-wave chicken breast with TVP, parmesan coating, huge green salad with lite-ranch dressing.

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