What you pile on your plate during a holiday meal can wreak havoc on your waistline and your health. One of the biggest sources of fat and calories is hiding in your stuffing. Often made with loads of bread, fatty meat, butter and other calorie-laden ingredients, the stats can quickly add up. In fact, a cup of holiday stuffing can contain as much as 400 calories and more than 25 grams of fat – and that’s just one of the side dishes that will likely fill your plate!
So how do you make your holiday stuffing healthier while still making it taste great?
Healthy Stuffing: More Veggies, Less Calories
Here are 5 swaps that will keep your guests coming back for more:
- Use whole grains. Whether the base of your stuffing is bread or rice, choosing whole grains is better for your health. Opt for 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread instead of white. If you prefer rice in your stuffing, substitute brown or wild rice for white rice. Mix in some quinoa or farro for added fiber and protein.
- Select leaner meats. Using lean turkey sausage instead of pork sausage can substantially cut the fat without skimping on taste. Just a little bit of bacon or prosciutto can add loads of flavor – these meats contain saturated fat but a little goes a long way in the flavor department.
- Ditch some of the butter. Replace a portion (or all!) of the butter in your favorite stuffing recipe with heart-healthy oil, or better yet, use chicken stock to take the place of some of the fat.
- Add fruit, veggies and/or nuts. There are plenty of additions that can add vitamins, minerals and fiber to your stuffing. Apples, pears, cranberries, mushrooms, onions, celery, shallots, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts are just some to try. The calories add up quickly when using nuts, but they do offer health benefits.
- Focus on herbs and spices. The way you season your stuffing has a lot to do with how good it tastes. So bump up the flavor with fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Mix in some pepper, poultry seasoning, cinnamon or nutmeg.
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