The holidays are a favorite tradition that we share with those we love. A part of each holiday are the foods we eat together as we gather for that special day. Sometimes just the smell of these foods can bring us back in time to previous holidays and the people we shared those holidays with.
For people on a medically prescribed diet, it’s understandable if you feel a bit anxious about the holidays and the foods served. But fear not, you can have your slice of pie and eat it too. When building your healthy holiday plate, think about which of the foods served are you favorites.
Build your holiday meal in a similar way you build your everyday plate with a protein, fruit/vegetable, and grain. If your favorite food or foods are on your diet’s naughty list then focus on portions, portions, and portions! It’s the portion sizes of your foods that will have the biggest impact.
Now let's make a healthy plate!
Pick a protein food (example: turkey, fish, roast beef, or ham) that is either slightly smaller than the palm of your hand if you are not on dialysis, the size of your palm or slightly larger if you are on dialysis, and the size of the palm of your hand if you are post-transplant. Your protein choice should be about 1/4 of your healthy holiday plate.
Pick a grain side (example: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese), if you want two grain sides go with 2 half portions that are about half the size of a closed fist. Be mindful of adding on more grains with a dinner roll or cornbread and keep it to one bread serving. Your grain should be about 1/4 of your healthy holiday plate.
Pick your fruit (example: cranberries, apples, clementines) and vegetable sides (example: green beans, greens, broccoli, or carrots). Fruits and vegetables should make up 1/2 of your healthy holiday plate.
Don't forget dessert (pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, ice cream, or cookies). Go for one smaller portion.
You can also bring a dish or two that fits in with your diet plan to share. Be mindful of the snacks and appetizers before the meal and make sure you change up your holiday plate if you have indulged a little bit before the meal.
It is also important to focus on choosing the right foods for you in the days prior to and after the holiday meal to ensure that you can indulge a without causing yourself harm.
So, relax, enjoy and eat the reasonably portioned pie!
Green Beans with Orange Zest
Serves 4 (1/2 cup servings)
1 pound fresh green beans
1 to 2 TBSP water
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP orange zest
1 tsp pepper
How to steam green beans
Steaming in a pan: bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil in a frying pan or sauté pan. Add trimmed and cleaned green beans, cover and cook about 3 - 5 minutes.
Steaming in a steamer basket: Using a steamer basket, place trimmed and clean green beans into the steamer basket and place in a pot with about 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam for 3-5 minutes.
Microwave: Put trimmed and cleaned green beans in a microwave save bowl with 1 to 2 TBSP of water. Cover with a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 1 minute. Repeat heating in 15 second intervals until the beans are done to your liking.
1. Wash and trim fresh green beans.
2. Steam green beans by one of the three methods.
3. Toss green beans with olive oil.
4. Zest orange and toss with green beans.
5. Add pepper to taste.
Makes: 12 (1/2 cup) servings
1 small eggplant, pared, cut into ½” cubes
(about 2 cups)
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup margarine or butter
2 pkgs. (5 oz. each) unseasoned toasted croutons
1¼ cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. minces parsley
½ to 1 tsp. dried sage leaves
½ tsp. pepper
1. Rinse eggplant cubes; drain well.
2. Sauté celery and onion in margarine in medium skillet until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Combine celery and onion mixture, eggplant and croutons in large bowl.
4. Mix chicken broth, parsley, sage and pepper; stir in crouton mixture.
5. Bake stuffing in large covered casserole in preheated 325° oven 1½ hours.