Complete Fitness’ Amanda Cook has a talent for turning your run of the mill unhealthy recipes into healthy, delicious crowd-pleasers. This is especially helpful during the holidays, when there’s a good chance your diet is going to sabotaged by a holiday party or two. Amanda shares some of her tips, suggestions, and favorite holiday recipes below:
I gotta say, I don’t clean up the dessert table at major holiday meals. Some of Grandma’s recipes need to stay sacred. I do, however, pre-cut them to be half the size as normal, put them on individual plates, and only provide enough plates for each person to get one dessert total – not one slice of each dessert per person.
I do, however, clean up table mainstays.
The problem: Too much fat, way high in starchy carbs
The fix: Ultimately mix 1 part root veggie or cauliflower to 2 parts potato. I personally like parsnips roasted and mashed in or cauliflower steamed. Mix in 1 tbsp half and half (creates more flavor so you can use less) and 2 tbsp chicken or turkey stock; and one tbsp butter per pound of veggie prepared. Melt the butter in warm stock & cream mixture and mix in your mashed veggies. (Warm liquid makes for less gummy mash– that goes for any mash, clean or otherwise). Serving size is 1/2 cup.
Sweet Potato Casserole (or hot dish as it’s called in this house)
The Problem: SUGAR. The canned stuff has a lot of not healthy going on.
If you like it whipped:
Use whole potatoes. Roast them in the oven. Skin them, and whip in 1 tbsp brown sugar Splenda blend, and 2 tbsp almond milk per 2 pounds potatoes. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Serve with the 1/2 cup. Not a random spoon. And leave the candied topping for Nana’s pecan pie.
If you like it like from the can:
Peel and dice while potatoes and boil until fork tender. Mix 1 tsp Splenda brown sugar blend with 1/2 tbsp butter infused olive oil per pound of potatoes. Toss around and put in a casserole dish. Put about 1/3 bag of mini mallows on top. Brown in oven. (There isn’t a decent replacement for marshmallows, so use sparingly)
The Problem: It’s hugely unnatural
The Fix: Make it on your own!
Relish – sweet and tart:
- 1 bag fresh cranberries
- 1 large orange – pealed and juice there of (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 serving orange spark
- 1/2 c Splenda
Process in food processor or blender. Should be in tiny chunks (same consistency as pickle relish). Make day or 3 ahead of time, it becomes sweeter as it goes. 1 serving is 1 tbsp
Or if you’re partial to the jelly business:
- 1 bag of fresh cranberries
- zest of 1 orange
- juice of said orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup Splenda
Put all into a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Cook until berries burst and sauce thickens. Take cinnamon stick out before serving. Serve at room temperature. One serving is 2 tbsp.
Holiday food isn’t necessarily bad. It’s the volume that people eat that’s the problem. My biggest ally at the buffet is using a kid size plate and using measuring spoons for serving. And fill up on the veggie platter!