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Eating well while eating healthy, too

December 26, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor ( , Weirton Daily Times

If high holiday calories are still calling your name, perhaps this column can steer you to a healthier way of eating.

Information in this column is from "Health Guides" and was provided in a brochure from the Jefferson Behavioral Health System.

Here are a few hints:

Article Photos

Karen Rish made a cheese ball shaped like an apple, with a cinnamon stick for a stem and dried parsley applied to the outside to resemble the Granny Smith variety. A cheese ball can be made lower in calories by using no-fat cream cheese, low-fat mayonnaise and an assortment of veggies included within the mixture. --Esther McCoy

Don't skip meals to save on calories. You will be quite hungry and eat more than planned.

Snack on low-fat food, such as fruit and vegetables before attending the remaining parties to avoid over-eating the rich and fattening foods.

Don't keep leftovers around. If you are having a party in your home, send the food home with guests in holiday containers.

Don't deny yourself all desserts and fun foods. Allow yourself a small sampling of a few special treats or you'll feel deprived and end up overeating.

When eating out, do what you can to cut fat. Avoid sauces, gravies, cheese, mayonnaise, butter and margarine or ask for them on the side. Choose baked, grilled, roasted, steamed, broiled or poached foods instead of fried.

Try to eat fruits and vegetables as much as possible, at least one each meal, to offset desserts and meat/cheese finger foods.

Eat slowly whenever you can so you'll eat less. Spend your time talking with family and friends instead of putting food into your mouth.

Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption. It's fattening and can make you want to eat more.

Drink lots of water.

Offset tiring activities with regular exercise and time to relax. If you feel yourself becoming stressed, take time to recharge.

Now if you follow these suggestions you will be one step ahead when the new year rolls around. And you'll be in the groove for healthy eating.

Just remember to keep up most of the hints throughout the year and you won't have to be going through all of these suggestions again at the start of 2014.

Appetizers can really pile on the calories before you even sit down to eat a meal. Potato chips and all the other salty snacks are high in fat and calories. Try these bagel chips instead. They are from the Jefferson Behavioral Health System, too.

Herbed Bagel chips

Nine 1-ounce frozen mini bagels, thawed

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Cut bagels crosswise into four slices. Place them with cut sides up on a baking sheet sprayed with butter flavored vegetable cooking spray. Lightly coat tops with spray. Combine other ingredients then sprinkle over bagels. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes until crisp. These are 22 calories each, with 12 percent calories from fat and 25 milligrams sodium.

A bowl of low-fat tuna salad can be put out to spread on a reduced fat cracker or on the herbed bagel chips. This is from the april 2005 issue of the Healthy Exchanges newsletter. It is only 33 calories for 4 tablespoons of crunchy salad.

Tuna Crunch Salad

6-ounce can white tuna, packed in water, drained and flaked

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 cup purchased low-fat cole slaw mix

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Splenda or any other no sugar sweetener

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, celery and cole slaw mix. Add mayonnaise, artificial sweetener and parsley flakes. Mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Gently stir again and put in a fancy bowl on the appetizer table. Spread on crackers for a satisfying and good-tasting treat. But don't eat more than three or four.

Here is a creamy salsa from the Healthy Exchanges newsletter. A one-fourth cup equals 56 calories. Dip some of the lower fat corn or tortilla chips into this and enjoy. It is said that it is almost as good as the salsa from Bennigans.

Sweet Cream Salsa

8-ounce can crushed pineapple, packed in fruit juice drained

1 tablespoon fat-free half and half

2 tablespoons no-fat sour cream

1/4 cup Splenda

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons each finely chopped red and green bell pepper

In a medium bowl, combine undrained pineapple, half and half, sour cream, Splenda, onion, and green and red peppers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Gently stir again before serving.

How about meat balls on a cocktail pick to combat a raving appetite?

Four 1-inch meatballs equal 159 calories. It is from the Healthy Exchanges newsletter.

Baked Beefy Rice Meatballs

8 ounces of extra lean ground sirloin beef or turkey breast

1/3 cup uncooked Minute rice

1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

10 3/4-ounce can Healthy Request tomato soup

3/4 cup reduced-sodium tomato juice

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter flavored cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine meat, uncooked instant rice, onion flakes and garlic. Form into 16 1-inch meatballs. Arrange in prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, combine tomato soup, tomato juice and parlsey flakes. Pour soup mixture evenly over meatballs. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until meatballs are baked through. Put sauce in a separate bowl for guests to spoon onto their plate and drizzle over top of the meatballs.

Now, how about a creamy dessert that is quite heavenly to the tastebuds and only 230 calories for one-eighth of a pie?

Maui Banana Cream Pie

2 cups, 2 medium, diced bananas

6-ounce graham cracker pie crust

4-serving size sugar-free instant banana cream pudding mix

2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder

8-ounce can crushed pineapple, packed in fruit juice, undrained

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup no-fat sour cream

1 cup no-fat whipped topping

1 teaspoon coconut extract

2 tablespoons flaked coconut

1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs, if possible break off little bits from the edge of the pie crust

2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans

Arrange bananas in pie crust. In a large bowl, combine dry pudding mix, dry milk powder, undrained pineapple and water. Mix well using a wire whisk. Blend in sour cream. Spread mixture evenly over bananas. In a medium bowl, gently combine whipped topping and coconut extract. Spread evenly over filling. In a small bowl, combine coconut, graham cracker crumbs and pecans. Sprinkle over top of pie. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Cut into eight servings.

(McCoy can be contacted at

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