Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to Have a Low Cal Christmas - Part 1

FOOD!!!  If there is nothing that signifies the holiday season more than the delicious assortment of food available, well, I'll eat my hat!  How do you manage to eat "low cal" when there is so much good food and temptation put in front of you?

Today we will look at a few sweet alternatives.  For me, either offering to bring a suitable snack or dessert helps.  For example, use the Pumpkin Pie recipe (from October's recipe blog) and bring a bowl of Banana Whip to add the finishing touch.  Or bring a big plate or bowl of fruit and bring the Creamy Dip or some low-fat chocolate syrup to dip the fruit in.  Can't pass up the Rum Balls or Chocolate? Bring some of the Heart Happy Truffles and even the sweetest tooth will be satisfied!

Fruit with Creamy Dip
This simple recipe makes a fast, healthy snack that's a good source of protein and calcium. The fresh fruit, non-fat cottage cheese, yogurt and natural honey blend with great flavour and texture. Here's what you need...
• Pears, apples or other sliced fresh fruit (you may need to squeeze a bit of lemon juice over to prevent browning, especially if the fruit is going to sit for any length of time)
• 1 cup non-fat cottage cheese
• 1 tablespoon non-fat yogurt
• 1 tablespoon runny honey  (depending on your taste)
1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Can be served immediately, but best left in refrigerator for a couple hours for flavours to blend.
2. Arrange the fruit slices on a plate and spoon the cheese mixture over the pears. Garnish with runny honey or cinnamon, if desired.  Or arrange fruit on a platter with a bowl of dip in the middle with a spoon so guests can serve themselves.  Or, make fruit kebabs...they make a great display as well as a healthy dessert!
Nutritional Analysis per whole recipe: 212 calories, 0g fat, 25g carbohydrate, negligible fibre, 30g protein.

Banana Whip
 Like Cream? Try topping your dessert with Banana Whip: Beat 1 egg white until foamy. Add in 1 mashed banana, 1 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Use like whipped cream. Makes 4 servings of 39 calories each.

Heart Happy Truffles
Truffles are the simplest of candy to make; cream, chocolate, and time is all it takes to create something blissfully elegant, decadent, and delicious. However, besides chocolate (which, as we know, the darker the better) they also contain various other high calorie and low nutritional items. So this year, make your loved ones some healthier, lower fat, but still pretty tasty truffles...only about 30min from start to finish, with no ‘special’ ingredients required! Servings: 20 Balls
Here's what you need...
• ½ c mashed potatoes (just plain old potatoes, mashed...yes, you read that right!)
• ¼ c natural peanut butter (works fine with almond or cashew butter)
• 1/8 c honey
• 3 tbsp cocoa
• ½ c raisins or craisins, chopped
• 1 tsp flavouring (vanilla, brandy, rum, or any flavour you like – can even substitute 1-2 Tbsp liquor such as Amaretto, Brandy etc)
• ¾ c of combination of or one of the following: ground almonds, finely ground oats, coconut, flaxseed, ground peanuts...use your imagination and flavour preferences
• 2/3 to 1 c icing sugar (enough to make it a stiff dough)
1. Combine it all and roll into walnut-size balls. ( If the dough feels sticky, you can put it in the fridge to harden up before shaping). You can roll them in extra cocoa, chocolate hail, coconut or chopped nuts before or after shaping and refrigerating. Makes 20.
Depending upon the add-ins, the nutritional analysis may vary. I have based the nutrition content on my version: I use ¼ c ground almonds, ½ finely ground oats and 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and roll them in cocoa.
Nutritional Analysis (per ball): 88 Cal, 3g Fat, 14g Carb, 3g Protein, 14mg Sodium, 2g Fibre

Healthy eating doesn't have to be just has to be planned!

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