Tips for Happy, Healthy Springtime Holidays
It’s a time of Easter celebrations, Passover Seders and family gatherings filled with your favorite holiday feasts. But these special holiday meals don’t have to wreak havoc on your diet and set you back on your well-intentioned path to good health. Start a new trend this year by adding some healthier recipes to your traditional menus.
Easter Meal Makeovers
Prepare some of your favorite Easter dishes — with modifications — and add nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and heart-healthy fats:
- Find alternatives to honey-glazed ham. Instead of honey, try fresh fruits that help protect against certain types of cancer and coronary disease and provide a natural, healthy
sweetness to traditionally prepared ham. Or prepare fish as a healthier main dish idea.
- Use heart-healthy vegetable oils. Forgo high-saturated fats such as butter. Instead, cook with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated vegetable oils, like extra virgin olive oil, sunflower and canola oil.
- Add nutrient-rich vegetables to your menu. Steam a variety of spring vegetables — such as snap peas, asparagus and broccoli — and toss a fresh, colorful salad. These low calorie, plant-based foods are important sources of nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber and vitamins A, C and E and may protect against type 2 diabetes, certain cancers
and coronary disease.
- Treat yourself to a small amount of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols — also found in tea, red wine and certain fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants may help prevent heart disease, lower high-blood pressure and protect against certain types of cancer — benefits other sweets, including white and milk chocolate, do not offer. Be mindful of portions, however, since chocolate is still a significant source of calories and fat. The recommended serving is 1 ounce.
- Share the goodies. A kitchen full of too many tempting goodies? Just share. Send a slice of cake home with each guest or bring extra candy to the office.
Passover Meal Makeovers
This year, prepare your favorite Passover recipes using healthier ingredients that will protect your heart while pleasing your palate:
- Enjoy salmon with traditional horseradish. Loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a great choice for Passover.
- Make lowfat matzo balls for your chicken soup. Use low-cholesterol egg whites instead of whole eggs and replace chicken fat (called schmaltz) with olive oil, which is high in alpha-linolenic acid (increasing blood levels of heart-healthy Omega-3s).
- Enjoy traditional charoset. This dish is made with heart-healthy walnuts (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids) and antioxidant-rich, naturally sweet apples, dates and raisins.
- Indulge in lowfat chocolate macaroons. Egg whites and unsweetened Passover cocoa can make this traditional, fattening dessert lower in fat and sugar.