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    Easter Favorites: Healthy Variations on Classic Lunch & Brunch Recipes

    Carolyn Burns, Clinical Dietitian Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions 03/22/2018

    I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about this blog, enjoying the rays of the sun shining through my window. With the sun shining bright, I began to think of all the people who want to be able to lose a few pounds in order to be able to get into the shorts that they bought last season. 

    Below are recipes that are common to find special gatherings on Easter Day. However, the versions of these recipes offer a few less calories without compromising on taste.

    Taste of Home offers a recipe for Slow-Roasted Lemon Dill Chicken. This recipe provides 366 calories from a 5 ounce portion. However, with all the other foods that are on the table, you can easily cut back on the size of the portion to save calories. You could also further modify the recipe by using a healthier fat such as olive oil to replace the butter in the recipe.

    Better Homes & Gardens has a recipe on their web site for Heart-Healthy Cheesy Potatoes. One serving of the heart-healthy casserole was noted to be 129 calories. Does this sound like a lot of calories for a serving of a potato casserole? I went to a popular recipe site and typed in Cheesy Potato Casserole. The calories for the first recipe for Cheesy Potato Casserole that I saw on this particular site was for 438 calories for one serving. Think of all the calories that can be saved by looking for recipes for our favorite food items that have been modified.

    When you view the MyPlate guide, you see that non-starchy vegetables and fruit cover half the plate. Below you will find two recipes for vegetables that would make a great low calorie addition to the Easter meal—or really any meal. The first recipe is for Steamed Carrots with Garlic-Ginger Butter. One serving of the carrot recipe provides 69 calories.

    The Green Beans Amandine recipe from Taste of Home provides 92 calories per serving. Note: One may easily reduce calories even further by reducing the amount of butter that the almonds are cooked in.

    Most of us think about dessert for the holiday meals.  What about a scrumptious Almond Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding? Not into the chia seeds? Leave them out and save a few calories. One tablespoon of chia seeds provides approximately 70 calories. Maybe you like the chia seeds but not all the calories… try portioning the pudding into individual bowls and sprinkling a teaspoon of the chia seeds on top.

    Spiced Apples would be a tasty dish that may be used as an accompaniment or a dessert.  This particular recipe from allrecipes.com provides 110 calories per serving.  Compare the calories in this recipe to Grandma’s apple pie recipe. You could easily be saving 300-400 calories by making this substitution.

    What about just having a fruit salad for dessert? Sparks People’s recipe for Rainbow Fruit combines a variety of fruit into a not only a lovely, great tasting dessert but one that is lower in calories. The recipe provides 88 calories per serving. This recipe could be made ahead in order to save time on the day of the holiday.

    As I reviewed the recipes for lower calorie dishes noted above, it dawned on me that the spiced apples and fruit salad could be used as a dish for breakfast or brunch on Easter morning. I further thought about foods that could be made on Easter morning that would be quick, tasty and lower in calories. I thought of the biscuits that I had at home in the years past. Guess what? I found a recipe for a Yogurt Biscuits that provides 68.7 calories for one biscuit compared to 180 calories in the popular larger style of biscuits that you find at the grocery.  However, the biscuits in a can are easy to pop into the oven and are ready to eat within a few minutes, so here’s a hint: make the yogurt biscuits ahead of time and just rewarm in the microwave a few minutes prior to serving.

    I pondered what might be a good entrée to have for breakfast on Easter that would go with the
    Yogurt Biscuits and Rainbow Fruit. As I searched on the computer for ideas, I found a recipe for Crustless Broccoli & Cheddar Mini Quiches. What I found great about this recipe is not only that one serving provides 120 calories but they can be made ahead of time and frozen.

    I hope this blog stimulated ideas how you may adjust your meals not only at Easter but any day throughout the year, to be able to eat healthy and enjoy your meals every day.

    Happy Easter!


     

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