Heart Healthy Holiday: The lighter side of Christmas classics

Heart Healthy Holiday: The lighter side of Christmas classics

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Who doesn’t love a good mac and cheese situation on your Christmas dinner table?

We can all agree that comfort foods are king during the holidays. But for someone watching their saturated fat intake, their calorie count, or their sodium levels -- the holidays can prove taxing on those health goals.

In our continued partnership with the American Heart Association to help you feel in control this season, we brought in Lori Reamer -- a local registered dietitian -- who is offering up some lighter takes on the Christmas classics we all love.


Shopping list:

  • 2 12-oz bags fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey

THE COMPARISON (per 1/4 cup):

Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce Homemade
Calories 110 80
Carbs (g) 28 22
Protein (g) 0 0.2
Fat (g) 0 0
Sodium (mg) 10 2
Sweetner High fructose corn syrup,
corn syrup
Honey, maple syrup


Shopping list:

  • Cauliflower – 8 cups/26 oz
  • Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Dried herbs
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • 7 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • Optional: pork/turkey sausage

THE COMPARISON (per 1 cup):

Kraft Mac & Cheese Traditional homemade with pasta Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Calories 376 461 186
Carbs (g) 47 42 11
Protein (g) 10 20 11
Fat (g) 16 23 12
Sodium (mg) 669 426 260


Shopping list:

  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • 2 cans pumpkin
  • Variety of evaporated milk products: Carnation lactose free (slightly sweeter), Carnation almond cooking milk.

THE COMPARISON (per 1/8 pie):

Pumpkin Pie with Crust Crustless Pumpkin Pie w/ 2% evaporated milk
Calories 230 150
Carbs (g) 32 29
Protein (g) 5 5
Fat (g) 9 2
Sodium (mg) 280 230

Some general wisdom from Reamer? She says to embrace the many non-food elements and traditions at this time of year to help satisfy emotional hunger and provide a feeling of fullness in your life.

No matter the ingredients, recipe or menu, you are in control of how much you decide to eat. Slow and steady wins “the holiday race.” We often are satisfied sooner than we realize.

Also check out our holiday party segment and our lighter fare Hanukkah recipes from the American Heart Association.

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