“The Trans-Fat Free Kitchen

“The Trans-Fat Free Kitchen

How to Maintain Your Weight This Holiday Season from Health and Nutrition Expert, Ronni Litz Julien MS, RD/LDN

Holidays can be wonderful family times, filled with culture, customs and culinary favorites. Could it be just as much fun, memorable and meaningful without leaving the table with your pants unbuttoned? Think about it. Holiday fare, especially when we allow ourselves to “go”—after all, it’s just a few lunches and dinners—can claim up to 2,000 calories (and then some) in a single meal. That’s typical for Christmas. Believe it or not though, there is another way. Here are some hints to help you get through the holidays without a total weight disaster on your hands;

  • First and foremost, SCOOP SMALL. After all, it is a holiday, and we do want to sample foods we don’t normally see. If it looks just divine—take a small scoop.
  • DRINK PLENTY—of water—that is. It will keep you feeling “full”; since each half-glass of wine is 100 calories, and who drinks just 4 ounces? Each 1 oz. liquor is the same 100; champagne and beer are a bit higher. Go easy on the booze. And, secondly, if you ease up on the booze, you won’t lose control over the food and those cravings!
  • Protein, Protein, Protein - Eat a little something that contains protein (glass of milk, slice of low-fat cheese, or a hard boiled egg) before leaving for the big event. If you go starving, you will almost certainly get your “overeating” started nice and early.
  • Get Physical - Keep up the physical activity through the holiday season…at least you will maintain your weight!
  • Go easy on the appetizers. Skip the fried foods and high fat hors d’oeuvres. Stick with low-calorie appetizers such as crudités (raw vegetables), fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, hummus and pita chips – the list is endless!
  • Avoid seconds and thirds. Although you may still feel hungry, wait five minutes before going for that second round. Give your brain time to send the message to the stomach that you are no longer hungry.
  • After a meal, the perfect seating arrangement can prove to be great for holiday table-talk. But, make sure not to seat the food on the table for too long as it gives us all time to digest, and continue eating. Remove all food from the table, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea instead!

Traditional vs New and Improved

Okay, we don’t expect you to give up eating over the holidays, but there are ways to cut back on the calories in those traditional holiday dishes. By substituting certain ingredients, you can reduce the calorie count by a whopping 30-50% and still have all the taste, and tradition! Here are just a few examples;

Traditional – 2000+ calories
Baked Ham or Pork Roast
Macaroni and Cheese
Sweet Potato Pie
Green Bean Casserole
Classic Pecan Pie
New and Improved – 900-1000 calories

Honey Apple Glazed Turkey or Glazed Pork Medallions
Delectable Potatoes and Onions
Tropical Green Beans
Gingered Pumpkin Souffle
Granny Smith Apple Pie

The typical holiday meal clocks in at around 2,000 calories—and usually high fat, high carbohydrate ones at that. With a few substitutions, you can make the holidays a little more healthful, without guests even noticing. It’s not as tough as you think.

A Little More About Ronni Litz Julien
As a nutritionist, registered dietitian, author and parent, I have dedicated my professional life to teaching healthy eating habits to all ages. For over 20 years, I have been educating children and adults on how to develop lifelong behavioral changes, creating nutrition lifestyles that are realistic, and simple to manage. As an expert on family nutrition, I was one of the nutrition counselors to clients of the South Beach Diet and have authored two books which address the lack of healthy eating habits in the United States today, “The Trans Fat Free Kitchen,” and “What Should I Feed My Kids?” I also serve as a primary consultant to local and national media on the topic of nutrition and healthy eating, and am the South Florida spokesperson for The American Heart Association’s Campaign on Childhood Obesity.

If you have any questions relating to your or your child’s health or nutrition, please feel free to call me on 786.326.3262. I also run workshops and seminars and am available for advice at ronnij@bellsouth.net. Please also visit my website on www.healthfulkids.com

Healthy Holiday Eating
Recipes from Ronni Litz Julien MS, RD/LDN

Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian and Author of “What Should I Feed My Kids? How to Keep Your Children Healthy by Teaching Them to Eat Right and “The Trans-Fat Free Kitchen

Sweet Potato Souffle
Serves 8-10

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
2/3 cup low fat milk, scalded
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup maple syrup or sugar-free pancake syrup
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the potatoes in a pot of boiling water until very tender. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes, milk, half the cinnamon and nutmeg. Spray 9”x13” casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the potato mixture into casserole dish and smooth with a spatula. In a small bowl, toss the remaining cinnamon and nutmeg with the pecans and oatmeal. Spread evenly over the potatoes. Bake for 35-40 minutes on top rack of oven, or until the topping appears a little brown and crispy.

Calories per serving: 160
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 5 gms

Magnificent Meringue Cookies
Serves 8-10

4 egg whites (left at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup Nestle semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels (optional)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Beat egg whites, immediately adding vanilla and cream of tartar. When egg whites become fluffy, slowly add sugar. Continue beating until stiff. Fold in chocolate chips if desired. Place by teaspoon onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Turn off oven, leave meringues in the oven to cool.

Calories per serving: 80
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 1 gm

Honey Apple Glazed Turkey Breast
Serves 10

1 T canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1 T dry mustard
1 (6 oz.) can frozen apple juice concentrate
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic
4-5 pound turkey breast

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine oil, honey, mustard and apple juice concentrate in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside. Sprinkle with seasonings and garlic and rub in to the turkey. Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, add the glaze of honey, mustard, etc. and bake for an additional 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Calories per serving: 280
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 3 gms

Glazed Pork Medallions
Serves 4

1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin
4 T maple syrup
4 T balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tsp olive oil

Remove fat from the pork and cut into 1 inch slices. Place slices between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and flatten to ½ inch thickness. Whisk the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and mustard together. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet on high. Brown the pork medallions for 2 minutes. Turn and brown other side for another 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, pour maple syrup mixture over pork, cover with a lid, and cook 2 minutes. Spoon sauce on top.

Calories per serving: 340
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 11 gms

Holiday Baked Fish
Serves 4

1 ½ pounds thin whitefish filet (sole, grouper, snapper, trout)
4 T canola oil
½ cup dry white wine
4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-2 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic
½ cup Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs
Sprinkle of paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small saucepan, bring oil, wine and lemon juice to a boil. Remove from heat to cool. In shallow baking dish, place a layer of sliced tomato, corn flake crumbs, then place fish on top. Pour oil and wine mixture on the fish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and add garlic. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Calories per serving: 180
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 4 gms

Delectable Potatoes and Onions
Serves 6-8

2 T olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cups chicken broth
¼ cup Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs
3 T Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet (that is oven-safe). Sautee the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently. Peel the potatoes and slice into ¼” pieces. Stir the potato slices into the onions and season with salt and pepper. Add enough broth to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Press down and flatten the potatoes with a fork or spatula. Sprinkle with corn flake crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler until top is golden brown, approximately 1 minute. Watch it carefully!

Calories per serving: 115
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 4 gms

Tropical Green Beans
Serves 6-8

2 T olive oil
1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and cut
1 small yellow onion, cut in rings
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
½ tsp salt
2 T balsamic vinegar
3 stalks hearts of palm, cut into ½ inch rings
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
2 tsp toasted pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Put green beans, onion and garlic in dish; drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring the green beans. Remove beans from oven and transfer to a serving dish. Immediately drizzle with vinegar. Add hearts of palm, tomatoes, pine nuts, and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

Calories per serving: 75
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 4 gms

Gingered Pumpkin Souffle
Serves 8

10 Ginger Snaps
2 T sugar
1 T flour
2 T butter, cut in pieces
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 (15 ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin filling
1 (12 ounce) can fat free evaporated milk
1 egg
3 egg whites
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookies, the 2 T sugar and flour in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add butter and process until crumbly. Set aside for the topping. Combine ¾ cup sugar and remaining ingredients. Spray cooking spray into round casserole dish. Pour mixture into dish. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle crumb mixture over casserole and continue baking additional 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Calories per serving: 210
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 11 gms

Granny Smith Apple Pie
Serves 8-10

3/4 cup Grape Nut Cereal
1 T corn starch
½ cup water
1-2 cans Granny Smith frozen apple juice concentrate
4-5 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced
Cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of an oven-safe pie plate with the Grape Nut Cereal. Sprinkle cinnamon, then pour ½ the apple juice (thawed) on top of cereal. Place sliced apples on top of crust, in circular form. Bake 35 minutes.

In a saucepan, mix the other ½ apple juice concentrate, corn starch and ½ cup water. Cook on low heat until thickened. Pour mixture on top of apples, after baking is complete. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve.

Calories per serving: 109
Trans fat per serving: 0 gm
Total fat per serving: 0 gm

If you have any questions relating to your or your child’s health or nutrition, please feel free to call me on 786.326.3262. I also run workshops and seminars and am available for advice at ronnij@bellsouth.net. Please also visit my website on www.healthfulkids.com

click here for a pdf printable Holiday Tips and

Holiday Recipes flyer