Holiday Recipes Makeover
Traditional holiday dishes can stir up a bad case of heartburn - as well as pack on the pounds. Here's how to lighten your favorite recipes, but keep the satisfying taste.
By Jeanie Lerche Davis
Reviewed By Cynthia Haines, MD
What's a holiday feast without a turkey or a roast with all the trimmings?
Indeed, that's what we love about the holidays -- all that rich satisfying food we don't often get. We load up the dinner plate with our favorites, then go back for more. Trouble is, those foods are full of fat. For people prone to heartburn, too much fat - and too much food - that is just asking for problems.
"Holiday foods are rich, festive foods, which is why we gravitate toward them," Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, tells WebMD. "These are foods we don't normally eat, and we tend to indulge in them. That's what gets us into trouble."
In the kitchen, there are tricks that cooks can use to lighten the fare. "No one's here to take away the traditional flavors," says Magee, who is WebMD Weight Loss Clinic's 'Recipe Doctor.' "We have a way of making mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pie a few pounds lighter (in fat) without compromising taste and integrity."
To make a lighter version of turkey gravy, use the brown bits at the bottom of the pan to flavor your gravy, she suggests. "Don't add too much of the actual fat, because the flavor is in the brown bits... not so much the 'drippings.' For creamy gravy, I use fat-free half-and-half or low-fat or whole milk instead of real half-and-half."
Magee's book Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Acid Reflux offers these suggestions:
When we cut fat, we cut calories and heartburn, Magee tells WebMD. "The dish still tastes great, so there's still a feeling of satisfaction."
Her stuffing recipe, for instance, uses much less butter than traditional recipes -- with chicken broth serving as the substitute. Also, her recipe doesn't use spicy sausage. "Both the spices and the fatty sausage can be problematic for people," Magee tells WebMD. "A traditional recipe for dressing would have twice the fat that's in my recipe."
Here's another tip: When going to a potluck, take a "safe" dish - one you know you can eat without heartburn trouble. "You'll know there's at least one thing there you can eat," Magee says.
Here are three recipes from recipe doctor Elaine Magee, MPH, RD.
Creamy Green Bean Bake
4 cups lightly cooked French-style frozen green beans
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 102 calories, 4 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 2 gram fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 337 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 20%.
O'Brien Potato Casserole
2 lbs. Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brien (about 8 cups)