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By Staff | Nov 27, 2012

Holidays usually are not the best time to try to lose weight. Often we are greeted by special treats at every turn. Try these steps to reduce the amount of calories in your diet so you can maintain your weight.

Cut Calories in Your Favorite Recipes

Use one-fourth less liquid oil or solid fat in the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup, use cup.

Instead of regular cream cheese, use nonfat or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth.

Instead of using regular sour cream in dips, use nonfat or reduced-fat sour cream or fat-free, plain yogurt.

Bake, broil, roast, stir-fry or microwave meat instead of frying.

Snack Smart

Before and During Holiday Gatherings

Eat a healthy snack, such as an apple, orange or banana. Have some protein-rich yogurt or fiber-rich whole-grain cereal.

Set a good example. Offer to bring the fruit or veggie tray with low-fat dip.

Avoid standing by the buffet table. Use a small plate and make healthful choices.

Here’s a more healthful version of a holiday classic: SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and fiber. You won’t miss the butter and marshmallows!

Sweet Potato

Casserole

40 ounces canned sweet potatoes, drained

2 eggs

c. sugar

c. fat-free milk

tsp. salt

tsp. nutmeg

2 Tbsp. margarine, melted

c. brown sugar

c. chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 1-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes and eggs and mash with an electric mixer or fork. Add sugar, milk, salt, nutmeg and margarine and mix well. Spoon into casserole and top with brown sugar and nuts. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until set.

Makes eight servings. Per serving: 270 calories, 7.5 grams (g) protein, 7 g fat and 47 g carbohydrate

Here is a recipe courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Extension.

Turkey Tostadas

2 c. cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1 c. water

4 corn tortillas

c. refried beans, low-fat or fat-free

c. cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, low-fat

c. tomatoes, chopped

c. lettuce, shredded

2 Tbsp. onions, chopped

c. taco sauce

Optional toppings: low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt or guacamole

Wash and prepare the vegetables. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine turkey, taco seasoning and water. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Place tortillas on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for four to seven minutes or until tortillas are crispy. Spread tortillas with a tablespoon of beans. Top with one-quarter of the meat mixture and cheese. Return tortillas to oven to cook for two to three minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and taco sauce. Garnish with yogurt and guacamole, if desired.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 240 calories, 4 grams (g) of fat, 21 g of carbohydrate and 420 milligrams of sodium.

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