To Your Health: Stay healthy during holidays
By the American Heart Association December 4, 2012 3:28PM
The holidays are all about family and food and it can be easy to overindulge in calorie-laden foods. Instead, try healthy foods such as green bean salad. | Supplied photo
Updated: January 6, 2013 9:46AM
The holidays are all about family and food and it can be easy to get swept up in celebrations and overindulge in calorie-laden foods that add inches to our waistlines.
But with a little planning and staying physically active, it can be easy to keep healthy habits.
The American Heart Association is offering tips for some healthy alternatives to the traditional holiday food traps.
Healthy eating swaps
Make your traditional holiday food healthier with just a few simple food swaps.
When baking, substitute equal parts no sugar added applesauce instead of butter. Use low-fat or skim milk, rather than heavy cream, and instead of using only white flour, use half whole-wheat, half white flour.
While cooking, heart-healthy olive oil is a great substitute for butter, and cut the fat by using low-fat or skim milk rather than heavy cream that many favorite holiday dishes call for.
Cut back the salt by using herbs and spices to flavor food. The average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of salt per day — that’s over twice as much as the American Heart Association recommendation of 1,500 milligrams. Instead of salting foods, use herbs such as rosemary, garlic and cloves.
Don’t forget to stay active to help burn off some of the holiday calories.
Sledding and ice-skating are great cold-weather activities for the entire family. Running up sledding hills and skating will get the whole family active and help strengthen your heart.
An afternoon or evening walk is a great way to spend time with the family and stay active. Make sure to dress appropriately for the colder temperatures outside — layer your clothes and wear synthetic clothes that “wick” sweat off your skin and help keep you dry.
For more tips, the American Heart Association’s free “Holiday Healthy Eating Guide” is available for download at www.heart.org.
The brochure features recipes for dishes including orange-glazed turkey with potatoes and carrots and pork tenderloin and spinach with parmesan and green bean salad vinaigrette. Plus there are more healthy eating tips during holiday gatherings.
Green Bean Salad
Serves 12: ½ cup servings
1 quart water for fresh green beans or ¼ cup for frozen
1 pound fresh or frozen green beans
1½ tablespoons raspberry vinegar or red or white wine vinegar
¾ to 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
½ teaspoon finely snipped fresh thyme or 1½ teaspoons dried, crumbled
½ teaspoon finely snipped fresh parsley or 1½ teaspoons dried, crumbled
½ teaspoon honey
½ medium garlic clove, minced
¼ cup canola or corn oil
¼ teaspoon salt
teaspoon pepper, or to taste
1 medium red bell pepper, cut length wise into thin strips
½ to 1 small red onion, cut length wise into thin strips
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans. Boil for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with cold water. When the beans are ready, drain them in a colander, then plunge them into the cold water to stop the cooking process and cool quickly. Once the beans are cold, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. While the beans are cooling, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, thyme, parsley, honey, and garlic. Slowly whisk in the oil, continuing to whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Add the green beans, bell pepper, and onion to the vinegar mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with the lemon zest.
Nutrition: Calories Per Serving 29, Total Fat 1.0 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Polyunsaturated Fat .5 g, Monounsaturated Fat .5 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 52 mg, Carbohydrate 4 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 1 g, Protein 1 g
Dietary Exchanges: 1 vegetable