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Published on December 20, 2013

Make Your Favorite Holiday Treats Healthy and Nutritious

Do you dread putting on that winter weight? The winter holidays tend to come with more than their fair share of fatty and sugary foods. But you don’t have to fall victim to the temptation of these festive treats. We’ve got some tips to help make your holiday favorites healthier and more nutritious, without sacrificing the flavor.

Baked Goods:

  • Substitute one egg with two egg whites to reduce cholesterol and produce the same tasty result.
  • In muffins or quick breads, like banana bread, try substituting applesauce for oil, margarine or butter. Substitute just a little at first, as the more you substitute the more the texture of the finished product changes.

Gravies & Sauces:

  • Use fat-free instead of full-fat yogurt, sour cream or whipped topping.
  • Thicken sauces with evaporated fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
  • When making gravy, let it cool and skim the fat off the top or use a gravy separator to remove excess fat.


  • Select lean cuts of beef and pork, cuts with "loin" or "round" in their name tend to be leaner
  • An easy way to reduce fat it to trim the visible fat from your meats and remove the skin from chicken and turkey

Oil & Frying:

  • Why fry when you can roast, broil, poach, stew, or sauté with equally delicious results?
  • If you must fry, make sure your oil is at the proper temperature. If it’s not hot enough, food can get greasy before getting cooked through.
  • When sautéing, use only a small amount of canola, olive or soybean oil.
  • Cast-iron cookware offers an affordable non-stick option to reduce the amount of oil needed to sear or sauté meats.

Side Dishes:

  • Cut back on butter or margarine by using low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth instead.
  • Roast sweet potatoes with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla instead of butter and brown sugar.
  • Choose reduced-fat or low-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles.
  • Walnuts are a great source of Omege-3 Fatty Acids for cereal, salads and muffins.
  • For your green bean casserole, try swapping the fried onion rings for crunchy, sliced almonds.


  • Avoid over salting. Select reduced-sodium or no-salt-added soups and broths then season according to your own tastes.
  • Turn to other herbs and spices to increase flavor and keep your dish heart healthy.
  • Season your food while your cooking, don’t add salt at the table. If possible, don’t even bring salt to the table.

Holiday Parties:

  • Even if you’re not the cook, there’s ways to enjoy the holidays without all of the calories.
  • Before you go to a holiday party, eat a small, low-cal meal or snack to avoid temptation and overeating later in the day.
  • Don’t run straight for the adult beverages; start with a calorie-free, nonalcoholic beverage to satisfy your thirst before having an alcoholic drink.

Put our tips into practice this week! Check out healthy holiday recipes and video recipes at our Health eCooking Show site.

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