Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas

The Physicians Committee

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas

During Christmas revelry, food often becomes the centerpiece. Joyous overeating is followed by strict resolutions to lose weight come New Year’s Day, and many people struggle to undo the damage to their cholesterol level or blood pressure caused by all those fatty foods.

If you’re ready for something new, try the following feast of low-fat, cholesterol-free recipes. What you won’t see are the extra pounds that usually build up around this time of year.

And, whether you are celebrating on Christmas day or hosting a holiday party, you can give your family and friends more than a brightly wrapped package. The gift of health will make a greater impression on loved ones and would be more truly in accordance with the traditional meaning of Christmas.

Roasted Garlic and Fava Bean Paté

Serves 8

1 16-ounce can fava beans
1 medium tomato, diced
2 - 3 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Press fava beans through a strainer to remove outer skins. Place in food processor and add tomato, roasted garlic, onion, and parsley. Purée ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

Nutrition information per serving: 62 calories, 3.3 g protein, 11.6 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g fat, 5% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 127 mg sodium

Mixed Greens with Pan Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Serves 8

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 cloves roasted garlic, crushed
4 portobello mushrooms
4 cups romaine lettuce, leaves torn
2 cups radicchio, leaves torn
2 cups endive, leaves torn
salt and pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms, removing stems, and set aside. Whisk together balsamic vinegar and next 4 ingredients. Add half of vinegar mixture to a large skillet and heat until mixture starts to simmer. Add mushrooms, tops down. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes. Turn mushrooms and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until tender. Combine romaine lettuce and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining vinegar mixture, toss well. Divide lettuce equally between eight salad plates. Slice mushrooms and divide equally between eight plates. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 86 calories, 5 g protein, 11.6 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g fat, 18% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium

Rosemary New Potatoes

Serves 8

2 pounds red new potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 F

Place new potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil. Add sea salt and rosemary, mix thoroughly. Spoon onto heated nonstick baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 50 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 129 calories, 2.6 g protein, 28.7 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g fat, 4% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 154 mg sodium

Steamed Broccoli

Serves 8

8 cups broccoli florets
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large pot, add about one inch of water. Place steam basket inside pot. Add broccoli, cover and steam 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from steamer to large bowl.

Whisk together vegetable broth and next four ingredients. Pour over broccoli and mix thoroughly. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving: 30 calories, 2.4 g protein, 4.9 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g fat, 3% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 116 mg sodium

Spice Roast
Serves 6

2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small onion, sliced
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 Golden Gravy (recipe follows)

Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine vegetable broth and soy sauce, add to dry ingredients and knead. Transfer mixture to a 9” x 5” x 3” non-stick loafpan. Add sliced onion to top of loaf. Combine hot water and soy sauce; pour over loafpan. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 1-1/2 hours. Let cool before slicing. Serve with golden gravy.

Golden Gravy

2 tablespoons safflower oil
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cups vegetable broth
black pepper to taste

Add safflower oil to saucepan. Place over medium heat until hot. Add flour and nutritional yeast, stirring constantly until mixture starts to bubble. Whisk in vegetable broth. Stir until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 - 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add black pepper to taste.

Nutrition information per serving: 301 calories, 41 g protein, 16.8 g carbohydrates, 7.2 g fat, 21% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 312 mg sodium

Apricot Baked Apples

Serves 8

8 Rome apples, cored (or other baking apple)
3/4 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Mix apricot preserves with next 4 ingredients. Spoon apricot mixture into apples. Place apples in baking dish. Add 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 375 F for 45 - 60 minutes, basting frequently.

Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving: 185 calories, 0.6 g protein, 48 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.2 mg sodium

Recipes by Patricia Bertron, R.D.