Shave calories from your favorite holiday foods

Consumer Reports News: November 19, 2010 05:08 PM

You’re getting ready for that big holiday dinner. You want your guests to save room for the pie you lovingly prepared, but you’re worried that they may say no because they don’t want the extra calories (320 for a slice of pumpkin, 500 for pecan).

What to do? Lighten up your holiday food menu, from drinks to dessert, with some calorie-trimming tricks from our test-kitchen experts:

• Eggnog: 440 calories per 8-ounce cup. Use a low-fat, store-bought version and save 120 calories. Replacing a jigger of rum with rum extract saves 100 more calories.

• Mashed potatoes: 120 calories in ½ cup. For a lighter version, use nonfat milk and flavor with broth, garlic, or Parmesan cheese. Or omit the dairy altogether and make smashed potatoes; the skins are left on, so you'll get fiber, too. Steam or boil cut-up potatoes, drain, and smash with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Gravy: 50 calories in ¼ cup. Use a little more chicken broth and a little less of the turkey drippings to reduce fat in your turkey dinner. A gravy separator can remove some of the excess fat from pan juices.

• Bread stuffing: 180 calories in ½ cup. Omit the butter and moisten the stuffing with chicken broth. To boost fiber and reduce sodium, make your own stuffing using croutons from stale whole-wheat bread instead of using a mix. Cut the bread into cubes and use it in any stuffing recipe.

• Pumpkin pie: 320 calories in an average slice. Using reduced-fat evaporated milk in the recipe instead of cream will give you the same creamy texture and taste, and you'll save about 87 calories per slice. For apple pie, make an open-faced tart and save about 63 calories per slice by losing the top crust.

For more ideas on how to eat right, stay fit, and keep holiday stress to a minimum, see our healthy holiday choices as well as Ratings on mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing.

Sue Byrne, senior editor, ConsumerReportsHealth.org


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