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Sun, Jan. 19

Recipe makeovers and holiday journals

During the holidays, there are many special recipes that you may want to use. Whether they are special family recipes or from a magazine, you can make them over to be healthier, without much change in flavor.

It is simple to modify recipes. Look at the ingredients and pick out the high fat, high calorie ingredients. Make a list of these ingredients and their amounts.

In a second column, start listing substitutions. For example, instead of sugar, use a sugar substitute. If your recipe calls for a cup of sugar, using a non-calorie substitute will save 960 calories. Instead of whole eggs, use egg substitute or egg whites. Usually, 1/4 cup of egg substitute or 2 egg whites are equal to 1 whole egg.

For butter or oil, you can reduce the amounts up to half of what the recipe calls for. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of oil and you cut that in half, that will save 1,080 calories.

Also, try using nonfat yogurt or mashed bananas in place of oil or butter. Cocoa powder can be used instead of baking chocolate. Just use three tablespoons and two teaspoons water for each ounce of baking chocolate.

Simpler changes you can make include using skim milk versus whole milk, evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream, and reduced fat cheese or nonfat sour cream instead of regular versions.

Try low-sodium broth and add flavor with more herbs and spices. Also, reduce portion sizes (make smaller cookies, cut smaller squares of brownies, make mini-muffins).

Even one or two of the above changes can significantly make your recipes more nutritious and lower in calories and fat!

Consider keeping a food journal. I know that you are probably thinking, "The last thing I want to do is write down what I eat." Keeping a food journal is an important behavior to maintain during the holidays. It will help keep you honest with yourself.

For example, you may say to yourself that you only had one cookie, so a piece of chocolate won't hurt me. However, your journal reflects that you already had a piece of pie. This may help encourage you to pass on the candy bowl.

Maintaining your journal will help identify weak areas that you can improve to prevent future slips.

Maybe you'll find that you tend to sneak extra calories while you're preparing holiday treats. You may want to consider purchasing treats, or passing on the tradition to someone else.

Maybe you'll find that you snacked on extra items whenever you felt stress from entertaining family and friends. You may want to try taking a walk, or take time to sit and relax to soothing music.

Maintain your food journals even during hectic holidays. It can help you stay aware of your eating behaviors so that you will be aware of when and what you are eating.

Thanks for reading Diet Center's Tip of the Week.

Please remember that you are always welcome to call (928) 753-5066 or stop by 1848 Hope Ave., Suite 1, if you have questions or suggestions.

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