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Published on October 23, 2017

’Tis the season for merry makeovers!

It can be hard to eat healthy during the holidays when there are tempting treats and fattening foods everywhere.

Apple pieBut here’s a little secret: “By swapping a few ingredients, you can make healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods, and chances are you—and your friends and family—won’t notice the difference,” says Andrea Byrd, MA, RD, LDN, Mercy LIFE Dietary Manager.

Here’s a trio of tips to try:

  1. Tweak the sweets. Go easy on sugar when baking. You can often cut back on sugar by a fourth to a third in recipes with barely a change in taste. In cookies, cakes and breads, replace chocolate chips and candies with dried fruit, such as cranberries or cherries. And top cakes with a dusting of powdered sugar instead of frosting.
  2. Think lean. Skip whipped cream toppings. Try whipping chilled evaporated fat-free milk with a touch of sugar instead. Serve single-crust pies. Coat baking pans lightly with nonstick oil spray—not butter, margarine or oil. Trade fat-free or low-fat milk for whole milk or heavy cream in recipes. In dips, replace mayonnaise with a mix of light mayo and nonfat Greek yogurt. Remove the skin from poultry, like your Thanksgiving turkey, before digging in.
  3. Upgrade grains. If a recipe calls for white flour, substitute a fourth to one-half of it with fiber-rich whole-wheat flour instead. Picking out dinner rolls? Serve whole-wheat ones. It’s OK to offer butter for the rolls, but also have some trans-fat-free margarine on hand.
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