Home for the healthy holidays

Submitted by Cat Park
Guest Columnist

The holiday season is in full swing, which means tables are full of everything from mashed potatoes and turkey to ham and sweet cranberry sauce. With the amount of food consumed from Halloween to New Year’s, it’s no wonder this time of year has such a bad reputation. Eating healthy, flavorful meals and snacks isn’t as hard as it seems though. In fact, it can actually be pretty fun.
Christmas is my favorite holiday. My family gets together for a very festive time. Being Korean, not only do we have the traditional turkey and gravy, but also Korean barbeque and grilled fish. With all the leftover food, every day could be Thanksgiving. Recently I came up with some healthy alternatives to my favorite dishes by decreasing the saturated fat, sugar and calories, and using spices and substitutions to maintain flavor.
Armed with a fairly decent knowledge of spices and herbs, I created some healthy dishes with my mother. For the turkey, we always used butter to give the skin a crisp flavor. This year, we used extra virgin olive oil, pepper, and some lemon juice. It was delicious!
Another substitution I made was in the cranberry sauce. I don’t know how many people out there love cranberry sauce, but my family sure does. We never buy ready-made cranberry sauce. We use frozen cranberries, honey, fresh orange juice and a bit of brown sugar. It’s the best tasting cranberry sauce ever, and all I did was play around with the ingredients I found lying around the house.
The great thing about eating healthy is that you don’t have to be a chef– you just need to enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. My kitchen is mainly filled with Asian spices and sauces, but I know what I like and I know what’s healthy!
My favorite recipe using leftover turkey and cranberry sauce is a good, old sandwich. This sandwich has a totally new taste, is healthy, hearty and a good source of protein, whole grains, and fiber.
• 2 slices of rye bread (1 serving= 55 calories, 2.1g protein, 11.5 carbohydrates, 0.4g fat, and 1.1g fiber)
• 1 slice provolone cheese (1 serving= 98 calories, 7g fat, 7g protein, and 1g carbohydrates)
• Turkey, shredded (1 serving= about 75 calories)
• Romaine lettuce (1 cup or 1.7 oz= about 8 calories)
• Olive oil (1 tsp= 40 calories and 4.5g fat)
• Cranberry sauce (1/4 cup= 70 calories)
Total: 401 calories
Cat Park is a dietetics student at Cal Poly Pomona.

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