Round Two: Feasting For the Holidays
“Don’t mind me. I’m just passing through.”
The holidays are a time of family togetherness, counting blessings and the first round of food over-consumption. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s celebrations right around the corner, round two will be here before we know it, assuming you survived the massive turkey fest last month. So, is your stomach ready to grumble?
A typical holiday meal is laden with starchy, high fat dishes often prepared using highly processed ingredients, a recipe for disaster if you are concerned about colon cancer prevention. Here are some tips and recipes for making a holiday feast that everyone will enjoy while eating for good colon health.
Turkey, the meat of choice for most during the holiday season, is an excellent lean source of protein but don’t deep-fry that bird! A 3.5 oz. portion of deep-fried turkey has approximately 190 calories and 11 grams of fat compared with 140 calories and 3.5 grams of fat in the same portion of roasted skinless turkey breast. So, ditch the deep-fryer and go for the skinless roasted meat this year.
Still, even more of a concern than the deep-fried bird is the assortment of carbohydrate-laden, fat- and sodium-filled, highly processed sides that so many of us indulge in this time of year: stuffing or dressing, vegetable casseroles, sweet potatoes, rolls and cranberry sauce, among others.
Of course you can’t have turkey without stuffing or dressing, right? So, avoid prepackaged stuffing mixes, which are highly processed with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG and loaded with sodium (440 mg per ½ cup). Instead, prepare homemade dressing using:
- sautéed onions
- broth from the turkey
Remember, moderation is key when it comes to enjoying starchy dishes like stuffing.
For many families vegetable casseroles like green bean and broccoli are a common side to turkey and dressing, but the canned, condensed soups used in most recipes are chock-full of sodium (825 mg in ½ cup) and extremely high in fat (7 g in ½ cup), not to mention that the cheese, butter and fried onions also found in these casseroles aren’t waistline-friendly either. Instead, try this green bean recipe that is much simpler, healthier and delicious.
Basic Roasted Green Beans
- Blanch or steam green beans until tender.
- Toss green beans with heart-healthy oil like canola or olive, shallots, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
- Roast in a 475° oven for 15 minutes until slightly browned.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over green beans just before serving.
Sweet potatoes are a quintessential holiday staple, but you don’t have to load them up with cream, butter and sugar to enjoy this fiber-rich, high-in-antioxidant food. Instead, here’s a delicious but healthier option:
- 3 cups cooked/mashed sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp butter or margarine, cold
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish with zero-calorie nonstick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients and mix well. Spoon into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. In a different bowl, combine the brown sugar and flour for the topping, then cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in chopped pecans and sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture in the baking dish. Bake 30 minutes.
Even with all the starches on the table, rolls always seem to find their place at the holiday table. If you can’t live without them, choose rolls made with whole wheat instead of white flour — the whole grains are higher in fiber and more nutrient-dense, a better option for good colon cancer health. However, a better alternative would be to omit bread all together.
A holiday feast would not be complete without the traditional cranberry sauce, but even though the canned stuff is cheap and easy to prepare — open can, dump in bowl — don’t go there! One-half cup of canned or jellied cranberry sauce contains 50 grams of carbs and 42 grams of sugar (both natural and added). Cranberries’ anti-inflammatory properties and recently discovered benefits in colon cancer prevention make them a great addition to the holiday table, but drop the can and try this fresh, super-easy cranberry relish instead.
- 2 lbs. fresh cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup sugar or agave nectar
- ¼ cup Grand Marnier (can be omitted)
- Juice & zest of one orange
- Process all ingredients in food processor, leaving the berries chunky.
- Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Best if made a few days in advance.
While salads are not typical holiday fare, a bowl of fresh leafy greens with a variety of colorful veggies is an excellent addition to your spread. How about a seasonal fruit salad with apples, oranges, berries and bananas?
Enjoy the delicious foods that are only prepared this time of year but do so in moderation. Consider tweaking some of your recipes — maybe even try out some of these — to eat your way to good colon health.Tags: Colon Cancer News