November 2010 Issue

Dietitians’ 25 Favorite Holiday Recipes
By Lindsey Getz
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 12 No. 11 P. 44

Looking for festive and nutritious meal suggestions for your clients? This guide to healthful holiday eating is sure to offer something for everyone.

Eating healthfully during the holiday season is likely one of the more formidable challenges your clients face. Indulging this time of year may seem harmless enough, but overloading on fat and calories in the winter months can contribute to weight gain. In fact, research has indicated that the average person gains about 1 lb each holiday season. That may not sound like much, but the same research also shows that people may never lose the added weight. Over the years, these pounds can add up—and that’s where you come in. By arming your clients with a list of healthful holiday recipes, you can help them battle the bulge and still enjoy festive foods.

For most people, holiday eating begins well before the actual occasion arrives, with a variety of parties and get-togethers filling the calendar between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Clients can easily develop unhealthful eating habits that are challenging to break once the season has ended.

For those who celebrate Christmas, December 25 is often a morning-through-evening day of feasting—starting with breakfast. Andrea Dillaway-Huber, PhD, RD, LDN, a nutritional counselor at Spring Ridge Medical Center in Pennsylvania, wanted to give her family a good nutritional start to their holiday, so she came up with a Christmas morning meal that was not only quick and easy but also healthful. Dillaway-Huber’s Christmas Morning Baked French Toast, which she prepares the night before, uses whole-wheat or whole grain bread in place of French bread, egg whites instead of eggs, and skim milk in place of whole milk. She says this nice blend of dairy, protein, carbs, and fruit starts her family on the right foot Christmas Day.

Of course, Christmas dinner is often the biggest meal of the day and the one that includes the most fat and calories. But with some healthful options at the table, it doesn’t have to be a diet disaster; it just takes some smart substitutions and more nutritious ingredients. For instance, Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD, owner of Edible Nutrition in Virginia, uses whole-wheat pastry flour for her homemade biscuits. Jackie Mills, MS, RD, also gets her holiday meal started right with her healthful Wheat Berry-Cranberry Salad. “The cranberries, green onion, and carrot make it a colorful and festive-looking dish,” she says. “It’s also a great introduction to whole grains for people who think they don’t like whole grains. Wheat berries have a nutty, mild flavor that appeals to everyone.”

Mills boils 1 cup of wheat berries (which makes about 2¼ cups cooked) until tender. She toasts pecans, combines them with dried cranberries and carrots, and tosses them all in a dressing with heart-healthy olive oil and honey. The result is a healthful but taste bud-pleasing salad that is always a hit at her holiday table.

Kate Geagan, MS, RD, author of Go Green, Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline With the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet, suggests kicking off a festive meal with Roasted Red Pepper Soup, which she serves in a martini glass for aesthetic appeal. “The secret to the richness is the low-fat plain yogurt,” Geagan says. The blended ingredients, which include both red and yellow bell peppers, are garnished with small shrimp for dipping.

Susan Dopart, MS, RD, a nutrition and fitness consultant and author of A Recipe for Life by the Doctor’s Dietitian, also serves soup as a nutritious starter. Her Butternut Squash Soup is hearty and filling and combines cinnamon and nutmeg for seasonal flavor.

David W. Grotto, RD, LDN, author of 101 Optimal Life Foods and 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, as well as president and founder of Nutrition Housecall, LLC, suggests as a main course a delicious but healthful meat dish recipe he received from chef Elizabeth Wiley of the Meadowlark Restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. This recipe for chicken thighs uses red wine, dried plums, and garlic and has only 310 kcal per serving. The dish has 11 g of fat but only 3 g of saturated fat, and Grotto says removing the skin makes it even more healthful. (The nutrient analysis was done with the skin intact.) The thighs are topped with a marinade that combines the red wine with one half of a juiced orange and chicken stock and roasted for two hours.

If your clients opt for seafood for their gatherings, especially if they’re Italian and celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Geagan suggests a Barramundi dish called Barramundi Veracruzana that’s light in calories and fat but still full on taste. (Geagan consults for Australis, a Barramundi company, but says she recognized the fish’s benefits even before she began her consultant work.) She calls it a “lean and green superfood that also packs omega-3 fats.” The Barramundi fillets are seasoned with lime juice, oregano, olive oil, and other fresh ingredients. LeeAnn S. Weintraub, MPH, RD, author of the second edition of The Everything Glycemic Index Cookbook, also prepares a seafood specialty with a Crab Spread that’s big on taste without a lot of unnecessary added ingredients.

For those who are used to cranberry sauce or another sweet accompaniment to their meat dish, Dopart offers an Apple Blueberry Compote recipe, which she says is a more healthful substitute that’s low in calories and fat. She uses a mix of apple varieties—Ginger Gold, Gala, Pink Lady, and Fuji—and 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. Mix the fruit with spices, dot with butter, and bake. The result is a sweet treat for any main meal. Clients can also use the compote as a topper for yogurt or cottage cheese.

Mixing Tradition and Flavor
Your clients who celebrate Hanukkah also eat special foods during the holidays. According to Bonnie R. Giller, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, president and medical nutrition therapist of BRG Dietetics & Nutrition, PC and author of Recipes to Remember: Heart Healthy Can Be Delicious and Passover the Healthy Way: Light, Tasty and Easy Recipes Your Whole Family Will Enjoy, the holiday pays tribute to the dedication of a group of Jews who fervently believed in their right to religious freedom.

“Hanukkah celebrates the miracle that occurred when the Maccabees reclaimed the [Holy] Temple [in Jerusalem],” she explains. “The sanctuary was torn apart by Greco-Syrian forces. The fighters found only enough olive oil to light a lantern for one day, but the lantern blazed for eight full days. Thus, foods made with olive oil, such as Potato Latkes, are celebrated during this holiday.” Giller prepares a healthful version of this traditional dish with only 38 kcal per potato pancake.

Clients of varying ethnicities likely enjoy bringing some of their own unique flavor to the table. That’s what nutrition and diabetes consultant Madhu Gadia, MS, RD, CDE, author of The Indian Vegan Kitchen: More Than 150 Quick and Healthy Homestyle Recipes, has become accustomed to doing. When she was growing up, her family frequently prepared a special squash dish for festive occasions, and she came to associate it with the holidays. “Here in the USA, where I make my home, I make it on Diwali (“festival of lights”), and all my guests love it,” she says. “All the children that have come to my Diwali party for years now ask for it by name and request that I make enough [so] they can have some leftovers.”

Gadia says in India, her family used pumpkin to make the recipe. “But since a good cooking pumpkin is not always readily available, I find butternut squash to be an excellent substitution,” she says of the dish she calls Sweet and Sour Winter Squash. “Butternut squash is loaded with nutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and manganese.”

For Jackie Newgent, RD, CDN, author of the Big Green Cookbook and The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, it’s dishes with lemon, mint, and pine nuts that her mother requests each holiday. “It brings a taste of her Lebanese heritage to our table,” she says.

Newgent’s Baby Arugula Orzo Salad, which she takes to Christmas dinner each year, looks festive with its fresh greens and red tomatoes. “And it’s versatile,” she adds. “It can be served as an appetizer, salad, side dish, or even an entrée for vegetarians at the table. But the best part is that it uses real and delicious ingredients. And the combination of whole grains, veggies, and healthful fat make this orzo salad a nutritional winner.”

Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN, author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, says she grew up eating collard greens during the holidays, particularly during New Year’s celebrations. “My mother always said if you want to have prosperity during the coming year, you had to eat plenty of greens, which represented dollar bills,” she explains. Brown-Riggs says while traditional soul food recipes call for salt pork or ham hock and bacon fat to season the greens, she created a more healthful version called Down Home Collard Greens that uses smoked turkey and nonstick cooking spray. “The result is far less salt and fat,” she adds.

The Old Standbys
Many people find it hard to forgo traditional favorites, one of which is the ever-popular green bean casserole that calls for canned soup and fried onions. Loaded with sodium and calories, this dish is not the most healthful choice. Instead, Sabrina Covington, RD, executive director of Healthy Kids Choice, Inc in California, suggests using fresh green beans with a little butter or heart-healthy spread, sea salt, and nutmeg. For some crunch, she often tosses slivered almonds on top. “Nutmeg is the key to make this dish special,” she says. “I grew up with my mom making this and it’s so delicious. The first time I was served canned green beans at a friend’s house as a child, I actually didn’t know what they were!”

Dopart says nutmeg can also be used to add unique flavor to asparagus. Her Asparagus With Nutmeg recipe combines olive oil, garlic powder, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Another vegetable dish that people frequently “doctor up” and transform from a healthful side into something virtually unrecognizable is Brussels sprouts. Cooks often pour heavy cream over this veggie and even top it with bacon. But Weintraub has discovered a way to add flavor without so much fat. Her Brussels Sprouts Hash requires sautéing the sprouts along with shallots and balsamic vinegar. Peterson has also found a way to make Brussels sprouts more popular at her table. Her version uses diced pancetta instead of bacon. “Self-proclaimed Brussels sprouts haters never know what vegetable this is until I tell them—and smile over their shock and awe!” she says. Zested orange adds a kick to her dish. Peterson also adds some orange zest to her Orange-Infused Sweet Potato dish.

Sweet potato dishes are certainly traditional favorites but are often loaded with butter and sugar. Many sweet potato recipes also include heavy cream in their list of less-healthful ingredients. But Mary Kimbrough, RD, LD, a partner at Culinary Nutrition Associates in Texas, has created Whipped Sweet Potatoes With Pecan Crumble Topping that has plenty of flavor without all the fat. She says one of the biggest differences between her version and the traditional standby is that she uses whole ingredients instead of canned ones. “It still has a lot of creaminess and flavor but uses … yogurt instead of so much butter,” she says. “It’s just more natural. People want to enjoy their entire meal, so they don’t want to put all their calories into one dish.”

Robin Plotkin, RD, LD, a culinary and nutrition communications expert, favors fresh sweet potatoes over canned ones in her Honey-Glazed Sweet Potato recipe, which uses heart-healthy olive oil rather than butter. Plotkin whisks together ingredients such as brown sugar, honey, and olive oil for a delicious glaze that packs plenty of punch.
Stuffing is another traditional favorite that doesn’t need to be unhealthful. Peterson took a not-so-healthy Italian Sausage Stuffing recipe she found online and substituted some more healthful ingredients. The result is nutritious and delicious.

Dessert, Too?
Many of your clients may say their favorite part of the holiday feast is dessert, so make sure you have some after-dinner recipes to recommend. For instance, Dopart has created a Pumpkin Custard, which she says is a great way to enjoy pumpkin pie without the calories, fat, and extra sugar that overwhelm the traditional version. Plain yogurt makes it creamy while honey adds sweetness. Add to that some canned pumpkin, whole-milk ricotta cheese, and plenty of spices and you’ve got the same taste as a delicious pumpkin pie—without the guilt.

Cookies are a holiday favorite, but eating them is an easy way to rack up the calories. You can offer your clients a recipe for Spicy Biscotti, a more healthful option with the same sweet and crunchy taste of a cookie. Developed by Deb Schiff (author of the blog Altered Plates) and part of Grotto’s book 101 Optimal Life Foods, this biscotti is a delicious winter treat that pairs well with a hot drink. Grotto says the recipe is time consuming because of the double baking but well worth the effort. And because this version uses whole-wheat pastry flour and barley flour, it has much more nutritional value than an ordinary cookie.

Melissa Davidson, MS, RD, CD, owner of Davidson Nutrition in Seattle, also makes a holiday cookie that provides quality carbs from rich whole grain ingredients such as whole-wheat pastry flour, whole grain oats, and wheat germ. She says Jennifer Koorenny, MS, RD, introduced the recipe for Thumbprint Cookies to her when the two were students at Bastyr University in Seattle. “She said it’s a recipe that kids would love and she was right,” says Davidson. “It has since become my favorite holiday cookie recipe.”

The Thumbprint Cookie recipe gets its sweet flavor from natural maple syrup and whole-fruit preserves, and the nuts provide a high-quality source of protein. Davidson says the cookies are ideal for kids who don’t eat enough protein or whole grains. “And they freeze well and can be a quick and healthy snack throughout the day,” she adds.

Nuts also make a nice holiday treat—or gift—but often come packaged with chocolate or added sugar. Grotto suggests a recipe for Rosemary Nuts, also created by Wiley, that combines fresh rosemary needles with cayenne, brown sugar, sea salt, and a little bit of butter. These tasty nuts make a great holiday snack.

The Right Resources
Armed with these recipe suggestions, your clients will be well prepared to enter into the holidays. A little bit of encouragement coupled with the right resources can go a long way toward helping them overcome the season’s dietary challenges and enjoy foods that are as nutritious as they are delicious.

— Lindsey Getz is a freelance writer based in Royersford, Pa.


Andrea’s Christmas Morning Baked French Toast

Makes 9 to 12 servings, depending on portion size

1 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
3 to 4 T maple syrup
1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins, Craisins, or currants (or mixture of all three)
1 loaf whole-wheat bread (or any whole grain bread)
10 egg whites, beaten
1 3/4 cup skim milk
2 T vanilla
Ground cinnamon

Mix and melt brown sugar, margarine, and maple syrup. Pour mixture into 9- X 13-inch glass casserole dish.

Spread fruit evenly over syrup mixture. Place bread slices over mixture, squishing slices together to fit the entire loaf into the dish.

Mix egg whites, milk, and vanilla. Pour over bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cover, and put in refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes. Serve with warm maple syrup, if desired.

Nutrient Analysis(based on 12 servings):Calories: 329; Total fat: 9 g; Sat fat: 1.6 g; Cholesterol: 0.6 mg; Sodium: 325 mg; Carbohydrate: 22 g; Fiber: 2.5 g; Protein: 8.2 g

— Recipe courtesy of Andrea Dillaway-Huber, PhD, RD, LDN


Wendy’s Biscuits

Makes approximately 12 biscuits

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup shortening, cold, cut into chunks (Note: Crisco and Spectrum make trans- fat-free varieties)
1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into chunks
3/4 cup buttermilk (must use)

If you have a food processor, use it; if not, use a pastry blender.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a bowl (or processor), mix together flours, powdered milk, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Pulse.

Add cold fats (shortening and butter) and pulse for 30 seconds. Mixture should resemble pea-sized crumb clusters. (Note: Be careful not to overmix biscuit dough.) Make a well in center of dough and pour in buttermilk. Mix with hands or large spoon until it comes together.

Flour cutting board or countertop and run hands under cold water to keep heat of hands from melting butter when kneading the dough . Gently knead dough no more than five times . Roll out to 1-inch thickness and cut, roll and cut, and roll and cut.

Place on a cookie sheet and brush tops with additional buttermilk, if desired. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden.

Nutrient Analysis:Calories: 273; Total fat: 16 g; Sat fat: 7.1 g; Cholesterol: 22 mg; Sodium: 452 mg; Carbohydrate: 27 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 5 g

— Recipe courtesy of Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD


Wheat Berry-Cranberry Salad

Makes 6 servings (3 1/2 cups)

1 cup wheat berries (makes about 2 1/4 cups cooked)
1/3 cup pecans
2 tsp orange zest, grated
1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup carrot, diced
2 T green onion, thinly sliced, including some green top
2 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Combine wheat berries and 6 cups water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer just until wheat berries are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚F. Place pecans in a small baking pan and bake, stirring once, 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool and coarsely chop.

At the same time, whisk together orange zest and juice, vinegar, honey, oil, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in hot cooked wheat berries and cranberries. Let stand to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Stir in carrot, green onion, and parsley.

Stir in pecans just before serving. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 227; Total fat: 8 g; Sat fat: 1 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 104 mg; Carbohydrate: 36 g; Fiber: 5 g; Protein: 5 g

— Recipe courtesy of Jackie Mills, MS, RD


Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Makes 6 servings

1 lb organic red bell peppers
1 lb organic yellow bell peppers
2 cups organic low-fat plain yogurt
2 T fresh cherv il, chopped
2 T fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
Pepper to taste
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 lb small shrimp, peeled and poached

For garnish: Red and yellow bell peppers, julienned
Yogurt mixed with extra fresh herbs

Preheat broiler. Broil bell peppers, turning every few minutes until charred all over. Remove charred peppers and place in a bowl; allow to cool.

When peppers are cool, place a colander over a large bowl and peel peppers, catching any juice in the bowl below. Discard seeds and blackened skins.

Transfer peppers and juices to a food processor fitted with steel blades. Purée until smooth. Add yogurt, herbs, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Process until smooth.

Pour soup into a bowl or container and chill.

To serve, pour into bowl or glass and garnish with shrimp and peppers or yogurt, if desired.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 180; Total Fat: 3 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 120 mg; Sodium: 495 mg; Carbohydrates: 17 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 21 g

— Recipe courtesy of Kate Geagan, MS, RD


Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6

1 medium to large butternut squash
1 T unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
5 cups water
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strings. In a stockpot, heat butter and sauté seeds, strings, and shallots until shallots are translucent. Add water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat.

Place steamer basket in stockpot. Place squash face down in a steamer basket. Cover and steam until tender, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Remove squash and scrape out the inside of flesh, throwing away the skin. In a mesh strainer, strain the seeds, strings, and shallots over a bowl, saving the liquid. Rinse out the pot to remove any seeds or strings.

In blender, purée squash, the saved liquid, and milk, in batches. Put back into pot and add cinnamon and nutmeg. Reheat until hot but do not boil. Add more milk if necessary.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 69; Protein: 2 g; Total carbohydrates: 12 g; Total fat: 2 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 15 mg

— Recipe excerpted from A Recipe for Life by the Doctor’s Dietitian by Susan B. Dopart, MS, RD, and Jeffrey M. Batchelor, Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Dopart and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Excerpted by permission of SGJ Publishing, a division of SGJ Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Chicken Thighs With Red Wine, Dried Plums and Garlic

By Chef Elizabeth Wiley

Serves 4
8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
8 fresh pitted prunes; or more to taste
8 whole peeled garlic cloves; or more to taste
2 whole cloves
1 rosemary sprig; bashed with pestle
1/2 Cinnamon stick; bashed with pestle
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 orange; juiced
salt and pepper

Set oven to 325. 

Scatter the prunes, garlic cloves, cloves, cinnamon stick and rosemary sprig in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the chicken thighs on top, skin-side up. Mix the stock, orange juice and red wine together. Pour over the chicken. Salt and pepper chicken skin well. Cover with foil. Roast for two hours. Let rest in the juices.

Remove chicken to a platter or individual plates. Gently pick out prunes and garlic cloves and serve one of each per piece of chicken. Strain juice and ladle the fat off. Check for seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve chicken, prunes, roasted garlic and juices with mashed or boiled potatoes and steamed kale, green beans, turnips, or any vegetable you like!

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 310; Fat: 11 g; Sat Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 100 mg; Sodium: 150 mg; Carbs: 16 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 8 g; Protein: 29 g

— Excerpted from 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN. Copyright © 2009 by David Grotto. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Barramundi Veracruzana

Makes four 5-oz servings

4 Barramundi fillets
Juice of two limes
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
4 tomatoes (or one 14 oz-can), chopped
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
1 T capers
1 T brown sugar
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
3 canned jalapeños, diced (optional)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚F and place fillets in greased baking pan. In small bowl, mix lime juice, oregano, and salt and pepper. Pour over fish and set aside.

In skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion until translucent. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook until tender. Mix in olives, capers, brown sugar, bay leaves, cinnamon, and optional cloves and jalapeños. Simmer and start baking fish for 10 minutes. Pour sauce over fish and bake for another 5 minutes or until flak y. Top with sprigs of fresh thyme.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 226; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 46 mg; Sodium: 273 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 22 g

— Recipe courtesy of Kate Geagan, MS, RD


Crab Spread

Serves 4

1 cup fine flake crabmeat
2 T parsley, finely snipped
1 T onion, minced
3 T mayonnaise
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Mix ingredients together, chill in a covered container for at least 1 hour, then serve. Serve in a small dish or a large decorative clam shell over cracked ice to keep spread chilled.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 74; Total Fat: 4 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 32 mg; Sodium: 161 mg; Carbohydrates: 3 g; Fiber: 0 g; Protein: 6 g

— Recipe courtesy of LeeAnn S. Weintraub, MPH, RD


Apple Blueberry Compote

Six 1/2-cup servings

4 medium apples, peeled and diced (mix of Golden Ginger, Gala, Pink Lady, and Fuji)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1 T butter, cut in little pieces

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Mix apples, blueberries, and spices in glass dish. Dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and then stir. Mixture will turn purple with stirring.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 85; Protein: 0 g; Total carbohydrates: 18 g; Total fat: 2 g; Fiber: 4 g; Sodium: 0 mg

— Excerpted from A Recipe for Life by the Doctor’s Dietitian by Susan B. Dopart, MS, RD, and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Dopart and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Excerpted by permission of SGJ Publishing, a division of SGJ Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Potato Latkes

Makes 24 latkes

4 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded
2 egg whites, beaten
1 medium onion
4 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil
Nonstick cooking spray

In large bowl, mix potato with onion. Wrap mixture in paper towels and squeeze out all liquid over large measuring cup. Potato starch will settle to bottom of measuring cup. Slowly pour off and discard liquid in measuring cup, reserving potato starch. 

In large bowl, combine potato mixture, egg whites, onions, salt and pepper to taste, and reserved potato starch. Coat nonstick 12-inch skillet with olive oil and cooking spray and heat skillet over medium-high heat.

With hands, press together about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture; place in skillet and flatten with wide metal spatula. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Cook latkes about 8 minutes, turning once, until browned on both sides. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Nutrition Facts per serving (2 latkes): Calories: 76; Total fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Carbohydrate: 16 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g

— Excerpted from Recipes to Remember: Heart Healthy Can Be Delicious by Bonnie R. Giller, MS, RD, CDN, CDE. Copyright © 2004 by Bonnie R. Giller. Excerpted by permission of Cookbook Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.


Sweet and Sour Winter Squash

Makes 4 servings (2 cups)

1 small butternut squash (2 lbs)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/3 cup water
1 T lemon juice
2 T sugar

Peel and cut butternut squash in half. Scoop out and discard the inside seeds and threads. Cut into about 1-inch pieces. Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds and cook for a few seconds until seeds are golden brown.

Add the chopped squash, turmeric, salt, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, and water. Stir to mix. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the squash is soft to the touch. Stir occasionally. 

Add lemon juice and sugar. Mash squash with a potato masher or large spoon. Simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 80; Carbohydrate: 17 g; Protein: 1 g; Fat: 2 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 400 mg

— Excerpted from New Indian Home Cooking by Madhu Gadia by arrangement with HPBooks, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Madhu Gadia.


Baby Arugula Orzo Salad

Makes 6 servings (9 cups)

1 cup whole-wheat orzo
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 small lemon (2 T juice)
3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 cups fresh baby arugula or spinach
6 oz organic or locally produced feta or soft goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup; optional)
2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh herbs, such as a mixture of basil, flat-leaf parsley, and mint, chopped
1/3 cup English cucumber or celery, finely diced
1/4 cup pine nuts, pan toasted

Cook orzo according to package directions. (Alternatively, add orzo and 3 cups fresh water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and turn off heat. Let “lid cook” [cook covered with burner off] until orzo is al dente, about 7 minutes.) Drain well. Do not rinse.

Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, and salt in large bowl.

Add hot, drained orzo to lemon dressing and toss. Set aside to cool slightly, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to help prevent sticking. Chill in refrigerator.

When orzo is at room temperature or cooler, add arugula, cheese (if using), scallions, tomatoes, herbs, and cucumber and gently toss. Stir in lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.

Nutrient Analysis per serving (not including cheese): Calories: 200; Total fat: 11 g; Saturated fat: 1.5 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 300 mg; Total carbohydrate: 24 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Protein: 5 g

— Recipe reprinted with permission from the Big Green Cookbook by Jackie Newgent, RD (Wiley, 2009)


Down Home Collard Greens

Makes 10 servings

Cooking spray
1 (4-oz) smoked turkey leg or turkey ham
2 lbs collard greens washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 T minced garlic
2 tsp onion powder
Pinch red pepper flakes
Black pepper to taste
Vinegar to taste

Spray large soup pot with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until hot. Add turkey leg and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally. Add collards, broth, garlic, onion powder, pepper flakes, black pepper, and vinegar. Cover. Cook 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 80: Total fat: 2.5 g; Sat fat: 0.5 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 180 mg; Total carbohydrate: 6 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 7 g

— Excerpted with permission of the publisher, from The African-American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes © 2010 Constance Brown-Riggs. Published by New Page Books, a division of Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. 800-227-3371. All rights reserved.


Easy Healthy Green Beans

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
3 T butter (or if you prefer, olive oil)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (based on preference)
Dash of salt and pepper

Steam or boil beans to cook. Drain. Toss in butter (or olive oil), nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 128; Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 23 mg; Sodium: 11 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Fiber: 6 g; Protein: 3 g

— Recipe courtesy of Sabrina Covington, RD


Asparagus With Nutmeg

Serves 4

1 T olive oil
Asparagus spears (about 20)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

Put olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place prepared asparagus stalks in pan. Top asparagus with garlic powder and fresh nutmeg, turning spears to coat. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water to pan and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and steam spears for approximately 3 to 4 minutes until desired doneness. Remove and grate additional nutmeg if desired. You may need to add additional water until desired doneness.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 55; Protein: 2 g; Total carbohydrates: 5 g; Total fat: 3.5 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 5 mg

— Excerpted from A Recipe for Life by the Doctor’s Dietitian by Susan B. Dopart, MS, RD, and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Dopart and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Excerpted by permission of SGJ Publishing, a division of SGJ Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Brussels Sprouts Hash

Serves 8

4 T olive oil
1/2 lb shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 cup water 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.

Halve Brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin slices. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Mix in shallots.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 120; Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 26 mg; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 4 g

— Recipe courtesy of LeeAnn S. Weintraub, MPH, RD


Pancetta Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

1 lb Brussels sprouts
2 oz pancetta, diced
1 T olive oil
1/2 orange, zested (or tsp orange zest)
Salt and pepper to taste

Score bottoms of Brussels sprouts with a “t.” Soak in salted water for at least 10 minutes. Drain and slice into round, hemisphere slices where the cuts look like a chiffonade.

In a pan, heat olive oil and add pancetta. Sauté pancetta for 2 minutes, add threads of Brussels sprouts, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add zest and serve.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 115; Total fat: 7 g; Sat fat: 1.8 g; Cholesterol: 4 mg; Sodium: 95 mg; Carbohydrate: 11 g; Fiber: 5 g; Protein: 6 g

— Recipe courtesy of Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD


Orange-Infused Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6

4 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter, unsalted and at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup orange juice
2 T orange zest
1 egg
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg

Cook sweet potatoes in one of three ways: by baking (preferred), boiling, or microwaving. Peel cooked potatoes and place in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whip until smooth. Pour into baking dish and bake uncovered at 325˚F for 35 to 45 minutes. Great hot and cold for leftovers.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 174; Total fat: 2 g; Sat fat: 0.9 g; Cholesterol: 39 mg; Sodium: 96 mg; Carbohydrate: 35 g; Fiber: 4 g; Protein: 5 g

— Recipe courtesy of Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD


Whipped Sweet Potatoes With Pecan Crumble Topping

Serves 8 (1/2-cup serving)

Whipped Sweet Potatoes
4 sweet potatoes (about 8 to 9 oz each)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, fat-free, Greek-style
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Kosher salt
Cooking spray (butter flavor)

Pecan Crumble Topping
1/2 cup oats, whole
1/4 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
2 T butter, chilled, chopped
2 T dark-brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash sweet potatoes, pat dry, and place in oven on bottom rack.

Prepare crumble topping by placing all ingredients in a bowl. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, mash ingredients together until all are well incorporated and hold together in small clusters. Reserve.

Bake potatoes for approximately 40 to 60 minutes until soft to the touch when pinched. Roasting will allow the sugar in the potato to caramelize naturally. Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool before removing skins.

Place warm sweet potato flesh in a mixing bowl. Add yogurt, vanilla, and salt.

Whip using wire whip attachment on medium speed for about 1 minute. Scrape sides down and turn to high and whip for about 30 seconds until all of the yogurt is incorporated in potatoes.

Prepare glass or ceramic baking dish (1 1/2 to 2 qt) by covering surface with cooking spray. Scoop potato mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crumble evenly across top of potatoes. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Place in hot oven at 350˚F for about 40 to 50 minutes to heat potatoes. The topping should be lightly browned. Remove pan from oven and serve.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 200; Total fat: 6 g; Sat fat: 2 g; Trans fat: 0; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 290 mg; Carbohydrate: 30 g; Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 10; Protein: 8 g

— Recipe courtesy of Mary Kimbrough, RD, LD


Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 8

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 T honey
1 T good-quality olive oil
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 4 large ones), sliced in half lengthwise and again crosswise
Scant handful of chopped pecans or walnuts (toasted, if desired)
Cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Lightly coat 9- X 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except potatoes, nuts, and pepper) until smooth. Pour into large plastic baggie and add potatoes. Mix thoroughly to coat. Empty baggie contents into baking pan.

Carefully place potatoes in a single layer with flesh of potato facing up. Cover and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Turn sweet potatoes once or twice to prevent from sticking to pan.

When tender, remove cover and continue to bake until glaze is set, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a holiday serving dish and sprinkle nuts on top. Add pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 134; Total Fat: 2 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 63 mg; Carbohydrates: 29 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 2 g

— Recipe courtesy of Robin Plotkin, RD, LD


Italian Sausage Stuffing

Serves 6

1 (3/4- to 1-lb) round Italian bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (8 cups)
1/4 lb spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, divided
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
4 large celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Egg Beaters or egg substitute
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (2 oz) Parmigiano-Reggiano , grated
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚F with rack in middle, unless you have a convection oven. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.

Place bread in two shallow baking pans and bake, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until just dried out, about 10 minutes.

Cook half of sausage in 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking it into small pieces, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to large bowl. Heat butter over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, celery, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Add vegetables and bread to sausage.

Whisk together eggs, 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, chicken broth, cheese, and parsley, then stir into stuffing and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Spoon into baking dish, then drizzle with 1/4 cup cream. Cover with foil and bake at 425˚F, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top is golden and crisp, about 15 minutes more.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 474; Total fat: 23 g; Sat fat: 11.7 g; Cholesterol: 58 mg; Sodium: 843 mg; Carbohydrates: 47 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 20 g

— Recipe courtesy of Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD


Pumpkin Custard

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 T honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 large eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together canned pumpkin, yogurt, and ricotta cheese until blended. Stir in honey and spices.

Separate egg yolks from whites and stir egg yolks into pumpkin mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into mixture.

Pour into 6 ramekins and bake at 350˚F for 25 to 30 minutes until puffed and rounded. Serve immediately.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: Calories: 103; Protein: 5 g; Total carbohydrates: 14 g; Total fat: 3 g; Fiber: 2.7 g; Sodium: 40 mg

— Excerpted from A Recipe for Life by the Doctor’s Dietitian by Susan B. Dopart, MS, RD, and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Dopart and Jeffrey M. Batchelor. Excerpted by permission of SGJ Publishing, a division of SGJ Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Spicy Biscotti

By Deb Schiff, author of Altered Plates

Makes 18 2-cookie servings

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup barley flour (original recipe calls for coconut flour – go for it if you can find it!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons flax meal
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cardamom
1 tablespoon ginger
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and the water, mixing well. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and spices. Mix in the almond meal until well incorporated.

In a medium bowl, beat together the agave nectar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in almonds. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. On a well-floured surface, shape each half into a log. Transfer the logs to your prepared baking sheet. Lightly wet your hands with water and pat down the tops of each log so that they are flattened a little. There should be at least 3 inches between each log.

Bake the logs for 30 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and let the logs cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. (Tip: slide the entire thing, logs and parchment paper, onto the rack to cool.)

Transfer the logs one at a time to a cutting board and slice the logs into 1/4 inch slices. Transfer the slices back to the baking sheet and bake them for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. You want these to be crunchy, so don't be afraid if they darken a little. Just don't burn them. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before serving.

Nutrition Profile: Calories: 130; Fat: 5 g; Sat Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 50 mg; Carbs: 19 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 3 g

— Excerpted from 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN. Copyright © 2009 by David Grotto. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 36 cookies

1 1/2 cups raw almonds, whole
1 1/2 cups whole oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup high-heat oil (safflower, canola)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup 100% fruit preserves

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil standard cookie sheet.

In food processor, grind almonds and oats into a meal. In large bowl, combine almond/oat meal, wheat germ, flour, salt, and cinnamon. In separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup and oil. Add maple syrup and oil to mixture. Mix well.

Form round balls approximately 1.5 inches in diameter and press onto pan to slightly flatten. Fill imprint with preserves. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Nutrient Analysis (for 1 cookie): Calories: 137; Carbohydrates: 14 g; Fiber: 1.7 g; Total Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Saturated Fat: 0.5 g; Sodium: 33 mg; Protein: 3 g

— Recipe courtesy of Melissa Davidson, MS, RD, CD


Rosemary Nuts

By Chef Elizabeth Wiley

Serves 28 to 30 portions (1/4 cup portions)

2 lbs assorted nuts, roasted (not salted)
4 Tbsp. fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/3 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Pour nuts one-layer thick on baking sheet and toast in 350 oven for 14 minutes.

Mix all other ingredients into the melted butter in a bowl big enough to hold the nuts, and keep warm. Nuts should also be warm when they are added to the butter mixture. Gently re-heat either one if they cool before combining.

Pour warm nuts into the bowl and with two wooden spoons, mix thoroughly, coating nuts with the butter. Let the nuts dry and cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Nutrition Profile: Calories: 290; Fat: 16 g; Sat Fat: 2.5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 260 mg; Carbs: 7 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 5 g

— Excerpted from 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN. Copyright © 2009 by David Grotto. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.