The weight we gain from eating too much between Thanksgiving and New Year’s seems to get harder and harder to take off, despite our best resolutions. Here are some tips for eating lighter and healthier over the holidays:

The weight we gain from eating too much between Thanksgiving and New Year’s seems to get harder and harder to take off, despite our best resolutions. Here are some tips for eating lighter and healthier over the holidays:

In recipes that call for cream or whole milk, substitute nonfat milk or evaporated skim milk. Most people can’t tell the difference. Other cream substitutions include nonfat sour cream, nonfat yogurt or nonfat ricotta cheese.

For mashed potatoes, start with a naturally buttery yellow-fleshed variety like Yukon Gold. Steam the potatoes, and then mash them with skim milk, garlic cloves, nonfat sour cream and chives.

Play up the vegetables and salads on your holiday menu and play down the meats and sweets. Instead of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, serve them plain in their skins. Or mash them with grated orange peel and some cinnamon.

Cook vegetables with mushrooms, chestnuts, garlic, fennel and other herbs. Toast a dish of slice parsnips, turnips, carrots, and potatoes in the oven with branches of thyme and olive oil. Remember the new MyPlate guidelines recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

Baste your turkey with defatted chicken stock or with chicken stock combined with apple juice. Rub the bird with a little canola or olive oil.

Instead of making gravy with hot pan drippings, scrape out the pan and put the drippings in the freezer for a quick chill. Then discard the fat that rises to the top. Reheat the liquid; thicken it with fine-milled flour shaken through a fine sieve.

Use stock instead of fat to moisten stuffing. Add herbs, onions, celery, and other healthy ingredients.

For dessert, serve pumpkin pudding instead of pumpkin pie. Cook it in individual baking dishes.

Snack on seasonal fruits. Fill bowls with apples, clementines, tangerines, persimmons and figs rather than salty nuts and hor d’oeuvres.

Serve cranberry sorbet or pears in wine sauce as a dessert option.

When it’s time to eat, just keep portions reasonable and avoid turkey skin. If you can’t resist trying all three desserts, keep the portions small.

Most of all enjoy spending time with your family and friends and creating new family traditions and memories.


Saralee Jamieson is a human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. For more information, contact her at 417-646-2419 or jamiesons@missouri.edu.