Easy, Tasty Ways to Make Your Holiday Recipes Healthier

Start your resolution to care for your body before the holidays rather than after. Typical holiday foods are high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories. Here are some easy and interesting ways to “healthy up” your recipes, without losing the taste.

To reduce sodium:

  • Rinse canned goods before using in a recipe. Reduce the salt in your recipe by half, or eliminate it altogether. However, for baked goods that have yeast, don’t mess with the salt, as it may not rise.
  • If your recipe calls for cheese, use half or one-third the amount. You can also use cheese with a stronger flavor, such as extra sharp cheddar and Parmesan.

To reduce fat and calories:

  • For recipes other than baked goods, replace shortening, butter, lard, or margarine with healthy oil such as walnut, canola, or olive.
  • In baked goods recipes, replace half of the shortening, butter, or oil with applesauce or prune puree. You may need to reduce baking time by about 25 percent.
  • Replace cream cheese with Neufchatel or nonfat cream cheese.
  • Use nonfat or reduced-fat sour cream.
  • Cut back on egg yolks in recipes. Typically, two egg whites can replace one whole egg in a recipe.
  • For baked goods, you can replace one egg with a mixture of one tablespoon ground flax seed and three tablespoons water stirred together until gelatinous.
  • Experiment with cooked vegetable purees for a creamy soup, rather than using cream. For example, puree white beans and use in place of the cream.

To reduce sugar:

  • In baked goods and desserts, try reducing the sugar by a third to a half. Some recipes may have already reduced the sugar, so in general about half cup sugar per one cup flour in cakes and cookies, and one tablespoon of sugar per cup of flour in muffins, quick breads, and yeast breads.
  • Add cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract to increase the sweetness.
  • Instead of frosting, add a fruit puree or a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Last updated 9/4/2013