Let’s face it. The upcoming fall and winter holiday season’s
family gatherings and parties – with all those extra calories, saturated
fats and alcoholic beverages – can contribute to weight gain.
According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the
average weight gain for American adults during the holiday season is about
one pound. While the average gain is only a pound, people who are already
overweight tend to gain a lot more, however. One NIH study found that
overweight people gained five pounds or more during the holidays. Further
studies show most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the
winter holidays. So even if you gain only a pound or two, those pounds
can add up year after year, playing a role in increased rates of obesity.
“The average American consumes up to 4,500 calories in a typical
holiday meal such as the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with beverages,
appetizers, the main meal and dessert,” says Maggie Guting, a registered
dietitian at Washington Hospital. “That includes 230 grams of fat,
which is the equivalent of three sticks of butter. That’s more than
twice the average daily consumption of calories and almost three times
the daily consumption of fat – all in a single meal.”
To help people in the community avoid gaining those extra holiday pounds,
Washington Hospital is sponsoring a “Healthy Holiday Cooking Demonstration”
on Tuesday, November 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. The event will feature Ms. Guting
and Washington Hospital’s Director of Food and Nutritional Services
Kimberlee Alvari, RD. Both dietitians will conduct live cooking demonstrations
on how to prepare healthier holiday dishes that the whole family can enjoy.
The cooking demonstration will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson, MD, Auditorium
in the Washington West Building located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.
A $5 fee will cover the cost of the food supplies, including a recipe
that participants will be able to make and take home with them.
“My basic advice for healthier holiday cooking and eating is to choose
wisely,” Ms. Guting notes. “If you’re going to indulge
yourself, choose food items you wouldn’t get to eat at other times
of the year. For example, try the sweet potato casserole and skip the
mashed potatoes and gravy that you can have any time of the year. Or,
instead of eating everyday chips and salsa for an appetizer, have some
of those spiced nuts that you make only during the holidays.”
In previous years, the Healthy Holiday Cooking Demonstration at Washington
Hospital featured recipes for healthy courses such as appetizers and desserts.
This year’s program will focus on creating healthy side dishes.
“We want to help people learn ‘lighter’ ways to make
traditional side dishes,” says Ms. Guting. “There are ways
to alter recipes to reduce the calories and fat. For example, you can
use non-fat or low-fat dairy products. If your traditional recipe calls
for eggs, you could use egg substitute or use half regular eggs and half
egg substitute. Instead of mayonnaise or sour cream, try using nonfat
Greek yogurt, which has the added benefit of extra protein. In many recipes,
you may be able to use less butter or substitute olive oil for butter
to cut down on the amount of saturated fat. Seasonal vegetables such as
winter squashes and root vegetables are great alternatives to heavy side
Seasonal vegetables will be prominent in the cooking demonstration, with
recipes for side dishes such as a potato-squash soup, a turnip casserole
and a fall harvest salad with butternut squash, kale, pomegranate seeds
“We also will be offering ideas for inexpensive holiday décor
that will make the meal more festive,” Ms. Guting adds. “For
example, we’ll show people how to serve the potato-squash soup in
a hollowed-out squash shell. The fall harvest salad is also beautifully
colorful, and it’s a great recipe for involving the kids in holiday
To register to attend this year’s Healthy Holiday Cooking Demonstration
on November 17, or for more information, visit www.whhs.com and click
on the tab at the bottom of the home page for “Upcoming Health Seminars”
or call (800) 963-7070.
Autumn Kale Salad
1/2 cup large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 8 cups torn kale leaves (about 2 bunches, de-stemmed)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper
to taste. Spread squash on the baking sheet and roast until tender and
golden brown, about 25 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice,
1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the kale, squash, pecans, pomegranate seeds, sliced
shallot and dressing up to an hour before serving.
Makes 8 servings
Nutrition per serving: calories: 178, fat: 12 g, protein: 4 g, sodium: 247 mg
Source: November 2015 issue of Parents magazine