Stay Healthy Eat Well

Stay Healthy, Eat Well
Healthier holiday options to consider
By Leslie Reschly, BSN, RN,

A recent video that circulated on social media starred a grandmother attempting to make her grandson his annual birthday cake…but he is now gluten-free and vegan. Although satirical in nature, her struggle is real to those who be entertaining for the holidays and have guests with special dietary requests which fall outside of the traditional turkey or ham and mashed potatoes with gravy.
People who follow a gluten-free lifestyle avoid the protein gluten found in grains of wheat, barley, rye and triticale ( a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten must be avoided in people with celiac disease but also in those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free products abound at the grocery store so that traditional stuffing can be made with gluten-free breads but perhaps consider changing your recipes to include rice, quinoa or other tolerable products. In addition, use of gluten-free flour blends can be used for baking. For gravy, use cornstarch instead of flour. Please see that attached gluten-free vegan recipe for gravy!

Vegetarian style diets vary so be sure to check with your guests. Do they avoid all types of meat and fish? Do they eat eggs? Turkey substitute products are available. Be sure to consider gravy made from vegetable broth. Those subscribing to a vegan dietary style avoid all animal products including eggs and dairy products such as whipped cream. This requires some careful thought to avoid use of butter, and cheeses unless they are dairy free. Of note, honey is an animal product so may not be an option for use in cooking.

During a season packed with extra sugar cookies and desserts, diabetic friends and family will appreciate your extra attention to providing options that include lean meats, raw fruits and vegetables or modified recipes. Often, recipes allow for decreasing the amount of sugar or substituting with artificial sweeteners. Be sure to check your sweetener to see that it can be used in baking. Diabetic recipes for holiday substitutions abound on the Internet so get creative and try something new. In addition, Vicki Allen, RDN, LDN, CDE, Dietician at Dosher Hospital has provided several options for your consideration

Experiment and Enjoy! Here’s to your Health!!

These recipes are courtesy of Ashley Randall

Meatless Holiday Gravy
(serves 8-10) (vegan with gluten-free option)
3 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped finely
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 C. mushrooms, chopped
– I like cremini, but white button works well too
½ C. flour
– For gluten free, use a gluten free flour, like Bob’s Red Mill
½ C. soy sauce
– For gluten free, use tamari
2-4 C. water
2 t. rosemary
2 t. thyme
In a large sauce pan, add 3 T. olive oil, onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are soft. Set aside. Add another 2-3 T. olive oil to the pan. Add remaining ingredients: flour, soy sauce, water (start with 2 cups) and herbs. Bring to a boil and whisk continually until gravy is thicken. Add more water as necessary. Remove from heat, add the mushroom mixture back into the pan. Stir well. Enjoy!

Stuffed Acorn Squash (serves 4) (gluten-free with vegan option)
2 Acorn Squash
1 T. olive oil
2-3 t. salt
1 C. cooked quinoa or brown rice
1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
½ C. dried cranberries
¾ C. fresh spinach, packed. (or ¼- ½ C. frozen spinach)
¼ C. walnuts or pecans, chopped
½ C. feta (optional. Omit for vegan option)
1 t. sage
1 t. rosemary
½ t. oregano
¼ C. water

Preheat oven to 350. Slice squash lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt; lightly grease baking sheet, then bake face down for 20 minutes or until the squash is slightly tender, but still holds shape. Meanwhile, make your stuffing. Combine quinoa, onion, apples, cranberries, spinach, walnuts, feta (optional) and herbs. Mix well. Remove squash from oven. Lightly brush with a bit more olive oil and salt. Stuff the inside of the squash with quinoa mixture. Place squash into glass baking dish; pour just enough water into the baking dish to cover the bottom – about ¼ – ½ inch of water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, remove foil. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, enjoy!

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