18 Fat-Free Holiday Cooking Tips

18 Fat-Free Holiday Cooking Tips
by Jyl Steinback - iVillage.com

Holidays are the greatest excuse for indulgence - parties, family gatherings, and other social events with an abundance of food and drinks. Holidays do not have to mean giving up on healthy eating. Stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving; potato pancakes for Hanukkah: and gingerbread treats for Christmas can all be a part of your healthy holiday menu plans. There are so many simple ways to keep the holidays festive, fun, and fat-free - substitutions, cooking methods, and planning!


Never go to a party on an empty stomach! Eat a healthy, filling salad with a large glass of water or club soda before you go.

Substitute hot apple cider for eggnog and you’ll save yourself 19 grams of fat per cup! Alcoholic drinks contain empty calories and often lead to overeating.

Do not skip meals during the holidays in order to splurge later - that splurge will cost you far more than it’s worth.

Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to give up exercise - squeeze out whatever time you can at least three times a week.

Keep a food diary - this may curb munching on calorie-laden, fat-filled treats over the holidays!

Always bring a fat-free dish you love to all of your holiday parties. You will then know you have something great to snack on all night long.


Sprinkle fat-free chicken or turkey with fat-free chicken broth and season with poultry seasoning, garlic, and onion powder; all the flavor of butter basted turkey with a savings of up to 8 grams of fat (per 3 oz. serving).

Try new varieties of fat-free canned gravies or mix up some of your own. Make a quick mix with 1 can reduced-fat cream of celery soup, 1/4 cup evaporated skim milk, 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, and a dash of pepper - simple heat and serve. Save 5-6 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving!

Eliminate the butter or margarine from your sweet potato casseroles; 1/4 cup butter or margarine adds 5-6 grams of fat per serving or 55-60 grams of fat per casserole!

Substitute fat-free chicken broth, fat-free sour cream, fat-free cream cheese or fat-free cottage cheese for whole milk and butter in mashed potatoes - save over 7 grams of fat per serving.

Bake up a fat-free stuffing casserole by substituting fat-free chicken broth for butter or margarine; combine fat-free bread cubes or croutons, fat-free chicken broth, celery, and seasonings.

Create flavorful pie crusts by combining crushed fat-free cookie crumbs, Cornflake crumbs, or fat-free granola with low-sugar preserves, Butter Buds, or fat-free flavored yogurt. My favorite pie crust is Snackwell Cinnamon Stars crushed in a blender or food processor.

Make a fat-free phyllo pastry shell - layer sheet of phyllo dough in pie pan and lightly spray with nonfat cooking spry or brush with reconstituted Butter Buds.

Substitute fruit purees (i.e. Light Bake, apple butter) or applesauce for butter, margarine or oil in baked goods - great for gingerbread, chocolate cake, and brownies.

Substitute 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute per whole egg - a savings of 40-50 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 240 milligrams of cholesterol! Fat-free egg substitutes add moisture and flavor to stuffing recipes.

Substitute skim milk, diluted evaporated skim milk, or reconstituted nonfat dry mild powder for whole milk - a savings of 64 calories and 8 grams of fat per cup!

Substitute 1 cup evaporated skim milk for 1 cup heavy cream - a savings of 621 calories and 87 grams of fat! Evaporated skim milk works well in pumpkin pie, sauces, etc.

Substitute fat-free salad dressing or flavored vinegar for regular salad dressing - 2 tablespoons of fat-free salad dressing will save you over 100 calories and up to 18 grams of fat!

Just think - a few simple changes in on holiday meal can add up to over 75 grams of fat savings. Enjoy the holidays in a healthy way and start the year off lighter!


Cinnamon-Honey Sweet Potatoes

5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tbsp. orange juice
1/4 cup honey

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 inch baking dish with nonfat cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in bottom of dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ginger, orange juice and honey. Bake, covered, in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until potatoes are soft and tender. Serves 8.

Fat Free Stuffing

1 cup minced yellow onion
3/4 cup minced celery
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
2 quarts fat-free crouton for stuffing (Kellogg’s Croutetts)
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute

Heat 1/2 cup chicken broth over medium high heat. Add onion and celery to hot broth and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Mix in croutons, seasonings, egg substitute and additional 1/2 cup chicken broth. Lightly spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Place stuffing in casserole disk and bake 1 hour in 325 degree oven.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

8 medium baking potatoes
1 cup fat free cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 cup fat-free parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonfat cooking spray. Wash potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain and cool to room temperature. Peel potatoes and set aside. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream and mix until blended smooth. Add potatoes and mash or blend with electric mixer until all ingredients are blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon potato mixture into prepared casserole dish; sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. If recipe is prepared ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to bake; bake 10-15 minutes longer if refrigerated before cooking. Serves 8.