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December 19, 2013

Lori Brothers: Got cookies? Cut fats elsewhere

NEW CASTLE — Put down that cookie and pay attention!

What I have to say is not delicious, fluffy or sweet, but it needs to be said. It is my holiday hope to help you make balanced choices.

Eating less fat means eating less calories. So be prepared to cut out fat somewhere else in your diet during the holidays if you’re determined to continue to eat that cookie.

One of my registered dieticians for the Dean Ornish Programs reiterated to our last Spectrum class the “fat facts” of eating.

“Fat has more calories per teaspoon than any other kind of food,” said Rochelle Rashid-Nebel. She reminded us that a serving of two pats of butter has 200 calories, the same amount as six cups of broccoli. Now isn’t that a punch to the stomach — or perhaps I should say an addition to the stomach if you aren’t careful.

During the holidays when you’re eating more of those favorite snacks and desserts that have added fat, choose reduced-fat options in other ways wherever you can. Cut back on the bacon, butter, lard in cooking.

Even reduce the use of olive oil, which is considered a “healthier fat.” Olive oil contains 120 calories per table spoon. Cook with nonfat cooking spray or veggie broth instead through the end of the year. (You may just create a new habit for the new year.)

You don’t have to eat six cups of broccoli, but “butter versus broccoli” demonstrates the difference in the volume of foods you can consume per calories. So eat more foods naturally lower in fat, or eaten without added fat.

I’m not saying that we should start a new tradition of serving platters of decorated holiday broccoli — although broccoli is green, so it could carry the seasonal theme nicely.

The research has proven clinically that most fats promote inflammation and raise cholesterol levels. Added dietary fat has proven to be a strong link to increased risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke and many cancers, or other chronic diseases. We face these health threats and looming weight gain, and we still indulge during the holidays.

I don’t want to be a buzz-kill to your festivities, but when it comes to overindulging, I invite you to use some common sense about how much refined sugars and fats you are consuming. Remember refined sugars turn into fat.

To choose wiser, go for the veggie tray (go light on the dip) more than the cookie tray. You will be doing yourself and your health status a favor.

Cooking and baking in your own kitchen offers you more control over the amounts of added fats and sugars you are preparing foods with. So consider these suggestions to compensate for the extra indulgences that will tempt you, just through the holidays.

Use nonfat cooking spray on the cookie sheets, and substitute prune puree or apple sauce for added butter or oil in your recipes.

Changing-up your cooking style to low-fat alternatives in your meal plan can really balance those daily calories, off-setting desserts and high-fat dips when eating out. To achieve that balance switch to egg beaters for breakfast cooked in non-fat spray.

Cut out the breakfast meats. Don’t butter your toast. Use mustard instead of mayo or Miracle Whip on your lunch sandwich. Cut full-fat dairy products back to use 2 percent, 1 percent or skim milk instead.

Also, look to garlic and onions, or garlic and onion powder, Mrs. Dash or other salt subs to bring out the natural flavors in foods instead of adding fat to your dinner.

Don’t butter the mashed potatoes. Add less cheese to the cheesy potatoes, or choose low-fat cheeses. Do your best to limit packaged foods like crackers and chips, or other snacks, if you are choosing to more eat gravies, pies and cookies.

You’ll be the one weighing-in with your choices soon enough. The scale will be waiting for all of us Jan. 2.

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