The holiday season is all about family, fun and food! Getting your family to eat heart-healthy, especially during the holidays, requires effort. Take the first step to making healthier food choices by taking part in the American Heart Association’s National Eating Healthy Day on Wednesday, November 6.

On this day, Americans are encouraged to eat healthy, get active and kick off healthy lifestyles in your community, circle of friends or with your family.

Statistics show that one in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease, and research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor. Over 149 million Americans, or 67 percent of adults 20 and older, are overweight or obese. From walking clubs and paths to cooking tips and easy-made recipes, the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative helps individuals and families understand how to get active and eat healthy.

Start the holiday season off right with this heart-healthy alternative to the traditional green bean casserole, which usually can be filled with fat, sugar or sodium.

To continue healthy eating after National Eating Healthy Day, remember these tips throughout the holiday season:

Turkey

  • Outsmart the bird. Reach for the lighter pieces of meat; they have fewer calories and less fat than the darker ones. Another way to cut calories is to take off the skin.
  • Keep portions in check. A serving size of meat is 3 oz., about the size of a deck of cards. So, be conscious of how much you put on your plate, and pass on that second helping. If you’re also having another meat, like ham or lamb, take smaller portions of each.
  • Watch out for the gravy train. Turkey usually comes with gravy, which can add excess fat, calories and sodium. Limit gravy to a tablespoon, and keep it off other items, like the dressing.

Sodium

  • Limit your sodium. Did you know that many of your favorite holiday dishes may be packed with sodium? Breads and rolls, poultry, and canned soups are three common foods that can add sodium to your diet. When shopping for ingredients to prepare your holiday meal, compare the labels to find lower sodium varieties.
  • Savor the flavor. Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of salt or butter.
  • Go fresh. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables to use in your dishes. If using canned products, rinse with water in a colander before cooking and serving.

Desserts

  • Treat yourself right. The best way to enjoy an occasional sweet without losing control is by sampling a selection or two, rather than having full servings. For example, have one bite of pie, half a cookie or one small square of fudge. Find a friend or family member who will stick to the sampling rule with you.

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 lb.     frozen green beans, thawed (French cut is best)
  • 10.5 oz.    1 can reduced-fat, low-sodium, cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup    low-fat sour cream
  • ½ tsp    pepper
  • 1    small onion, cut into thin sticks
  • ¼ cup    whole wheat flour
  • Cooking spray

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9×13 casserole dish, combine green beans, soup, sour cream and pepper. Stir until well mixed and bake for 20 minutes. While casserole bakes, spread out onion sticks and lightly spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle flour over onion pieces, tossing to coat equally. Spray a medium-large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove casserole from oven, add half of the onions and stir well. Top with remaining half and return to oven, bake five minutes more.

Nutrition Facts:
Serves 8
Calories    77

Total Fat    2.0 g
Saturated Fat    0.5 g
Trans Fat    0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat    0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat    0.5 g
Cholesterol    4 mg
Sodium    138 mg
Carbohydrates    12 g
Dietary Fiber    2 g
Added Sugars    0 g
Protein    3 g
Potassium    401 mg
Calcium    80 mg