Healthy Living: Holiday Health - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Healthy Living: Holiday Health

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Be jolly without the jiggle!

With all the great holiday food, it might seem impossible this time of year, but we're making it easier to fight festive fat.

Michelle Dunaway has a healthy holiday meal you can make in an hour.

Here are some holiday recipes to make a quick and healthy meal for family and friends:

Roasted Acorn Squash (Serves 4)


1 acorn squash

Vegetable oil spray

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut the acorn squash into quarters. Remove seeds. Place on a baking pan. Spray with vegetable oil spray for 8 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft when pierced with a knife.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 43                                       Carbohydrates: 11 g

Total Fat: 0 g                                      Cholesterol: 0 mg

Saturated Fat: 0 g                              Dietary Fiber: 2 g

Sodium: 143 mg                                   Protein: 1 g

Roasted Pork Loin with Apple Cider Sauce (Serves 8)


2 lbs. pork loin roast

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash Seasoning

2 tsp. oil


2 Tbsp. onion, minced

2 cups apple cider or apple juice

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. cornstarch


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel garlic cloves and cut into small pieces. With the tip of a sharp knife make slits in the pork loin. Stick the garlic pieces into the slits.

3. In a small bowl mix the pepper, Mrs. Dash seasoning, and dried thyme. Rub the mixture over the pork loin.

4. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the oil then sear the meat on all sides until browned, about 5-8 minutes.

5. Place pork loin in a roasting pan and cook for 1 hour or until the thermometer reads at least 145 degrees.

6. Remove roast from pan. Let roast sit for 10 minutes.

For the sauce: In a small bowl mix the apple cider with the cornstarch. Add the onion to the saute pan that was used to brown the pork and cook for 2 minutes until slightly browned. Add the apple cider mixture, cranberries, and spices to the pan and simmer, stirring for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and the cranberries begin to split. Serve with the sliced roast pork.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 168                                  Carbohydrates: 9 g

Total Fat: 7 g                                   Cholesterol: 73 mg

Saturated Fat: 1 g                            Dietary Fiber: 0 g

Sodium: 62 mg                                 Protein: 23 g

Parmesan Brown Rice Pilaf (Serves 6)


2 tsp. olive oil

1/4 cup onion, minced

1 cup brown rice

2 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup parmesan cheese


1. In a medium sauce pot, heat oil and saute onion until soft (but not brown) about 2 minutes. Add rice and saute for another 2 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Cover. Simmer for 35 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

3. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve.

Nutritional Facts: 1/2 cup per serving

Calories: 147                                         Protein: 4 g

Fat: 3 g                                                   Fiber: 2 g

Sat. Fat: 1 g                                           Cholesterol: 5 mg

Carbohydrate: 24 g                                Sodium: 253 mg

Swiss Chard with Toasted Walnuts (Serves 4)


1 1/2 lbs. red or green Swiss chard

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced

2 Tbsp. water (or more if needed)

1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted*


1. Wash the chard and strip the leaves off the stalks.

2. Coarsely chop the greens.

3. In a large skillet or stockpot with a lid, heat oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes.

4. Add greens and stir to coat with oil. Add 2 Tbsp. water, cover, and cook until greens are wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. Add more water if necessary.

5. Season with the soy sauce and pepper.

6. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

*NOTE: To toast walnuts: heat walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat until slightly browned with a nutty aroma. Remove from heat.

Nutritional Facts: for 1/2 cup serving

Calories: 65                                     Protein: 5 g

Fat: 7 g                                            Fiber: 3 g

Sat. Fat: 1 g                                     Cholesterol: 0 mg

Carbohydrate: 0 g                            Sodium: 204 mg