Heart Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays, plus Recipes

Holiday Eating Tips

Prepared by Louise Spadaro, M.D.
Cardiologist, St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center

  • Don't go to a party hungry. Eat a light snack before going out.
  • Choose only the foods you really want and keep the portions small.
  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. Fill up on lower calorie, nutrient dense foods such as fruits, veggies, lean meats and whole grain breads.
  • Remember that there are a lot of “empty” calories in eggnog, beer, soda, and wine, so be careful to limit these.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • When you arrive at a party, avoid rushing to the food. Go enjoy some conversation with friends and family first.
  • Make just one trip to the party buffet and use a small plate – you’ll eat less.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy each mouthful.
  • Hold your glass in the hand that you normally eat with to make finger foods less accessible.
  • Contrast flavors, textures and temperatures for more satisfaction in your eating.
  • Avoid grazing while you cook. Little nibbles can really add up!
  • When you’re done, pop a mint or stick of gum in your mouth, get a tall glass of water and sip on it throughout the night, or position yourself away from the buffet table or food trays to keep yourself from overeating.
  • Be realistic: trying to lose weight during the holidays may be a self-defeating goal. Instead strive to maintain your weight Forget the all-or-nothing mindset. Depriving yourself of special holiday foods or feeling guilty when you do enjoy them isn’t a healthful eating strategy. And deprivation and guilt certainly are not part of the holiday spirit!
  • Be physically active every day. Take a walk after a meal if you can.

Heart Healthy Holiday Recipes

Courtesy of Richard Shlofmitz, M.D.
Director of Cardiology, St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 minced garlic gloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups canned vegetable broth
  • ½ cup low fat half and half
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Sliced fresh basil

Preparation

  1. Char peppers in broiler until blackened on all sides and enclose in paper bag for 10 minutes
  2. Peel seed and salt peppers
  3. Heat oil over medium heat with shallots garlic and thyme for 3 minutes
  4. Add 3 cups broth and all but 4 slices of red pepper
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes
  6. Use hand blender until smooth then add half and half vinegar and pepper
  7. Add broth if necessary
  8. Garnish with red pepper strips and basil

Turkey Scarpariello

Ingredients

  • 1 whole turkey, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 Idaho potatoes
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 red peppers 2 yellow peppers
  • 4 yellow onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig tarragon and thyme
  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Spread the turkey pieces out onto a large sheet pan, drizzle them with the olive oil, sprinkle them with a generous amount of salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  3. Cut peppers and potatoes into 1-inch chunks; add tarragon, garlic and thyme; combine all ingredients and spread on sheet.
  4. Roast them at 375° F for 45 minutes. Increase the temperature to 425° F and cook until the breasts reach 155° F, and the other pieces 175° F in the thickest part (not touching the bone).
  5. Remove the turkey pieces to a platter to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder

Preparation

  1. Cut each acorn squash in half
  2. Remove seeds
  3. Put teaspoon of maple syrup in each half cavity
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon powder ¼ teaspoon in each half
  5. Cover acorn squash loosely with saran wrap and put in microwave bowl
  6. Cook one half at a time in microwave, high setting, for 4 minutes
  7. Set aside to rest for 2 minute

Sesame String Beans with Garlic

Ingredients

  • 1lb String beans
  • 5 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Blanch string beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, followed by ice bath.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan, medium heat
  3. Add garlic, string beans and sesame seeds; salt and pepper
  4. Toss and plate

Roasted Apples

Ingredients

  • 4 large good baking apples, such as Rome Beauty or Golden Delicious
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Wash apples. Remove cores to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4-inch to 1-inch wide.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans. Place apples in an 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with this mixture. Top with a dot of margarine (1/4 of the tbsp).
  3. Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes until tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.

Next-Day Waldorf Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Cooked turkey cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb String beans cut in half (left over from last night)
  • 1 cup Walnuts cut in half and shelled
  • Leftover sweet and Idaho potatoes with onions peppers, cubed
  • 1 cup Low-fat raspberry vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 cup Dried cranberries

Preparation

Mix all of the above, salt and pepper to taste, and serve on large platter.