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What's Up Magazine

Make Your Holidays Healthier

Jan 07, 2011 09:45PM ● By Ashley West

However, just by making some simple substitutions and lightening up your favorite holiday dishes, you can make your holidays much healthier—perhaps you could even avoid that extra pound of weight gain and start your new year off right. These three favorite holiday recipes have been lightened to make your holidays both healthy and delicious.

Appetizer: Feta and Herb Dip
Instead of a cream- or mayo-based dip, try this one made with white beans. Serve with baked chips or cut-up vegetables.

1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 cup nonfat plan yogurt
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley, mint, dill, and chives
Combine beans, yogurt, cheese, lemon, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the herbs and puree again. Chill for an hour before serving.

Main Meal: Sweet Potato Bake
This recipe cuts almost 400 calories from a standard sweet potato casserole. Served with lean turkey and a green vegetable, it rounds out a festival holiday meal.

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups mashed)
1/4 cup fat-free milk
¼ cup maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup flaked coconut, unsweetened
1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Boil the potatoes in a large pot, then reduce the heat and simmer until they are fork-tender. Drain and cool; mash the potatoes in a large bowl until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk the milk, egg, syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the potatoes and combine, and then add the raisins, coconut, and salt.

Pour the mixture into a 2.5-quart baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour, pecans, butter, and salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the potatoes and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Dessert: Guilt-Free Cheesecake
Who doesn’t love cheesecake? This one is much lighter than the typical fat-filled slices.

¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 packages reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 cups fat-free sour cream
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch Springform pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, and then cool for five minutes on a wire rack.

While it bakes, beat the cream cheese until smooth in a large bowl. Combine the sugar and cornstarch, and slowly beat the mixture into the cream cheese. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and then add the eggs and egg whites one at a time until blended.

Pour the batter over the crust in the pan and bake for one hour, or until the edge is set and the center still jiggles. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in there for another hour. Transfer to a wire rack and run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to prevent cracking. Cool in a pan for another two hours, and then cover and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.