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Holiday meals that fill you up, not fill you out

There’s nothing like gathering at the table with family and friends for a holiday dinner, but the feeling of sluggishness and being overly full can leave even the most festive diners feeling guilty. Michele Powers, registered dietitian and chef, aims to create holiday meals with nutrient-packed, whole grain dishes that are delicious and nutritious.

To help home-cooks make the most of their meals, Powers offers these tips for creating dishes filled with whole grains and great taste.

* Use whole grain bread and rice in your stuffing recipe. Even the pickiest of eaters won’t realize any difference in taste but will notice increased fullness from the added fiber.

* Don’t peel your potatoes before mashing them. Potato skins are packed with nutrients and fiber. Not only will you save time in the kitchen, but you will be serving up a more nutritious meal too.

* Whole grain rice goes well with naturally healthy ingredients, such as chicken and vegetables. Uncle Ben’s Fast and Natural Whole Grain Instant Brown Rice or new Whole Grain White Rice – whole grain rice that looks and tastes like white rice but has the goodness of whole grains – can be used in many traditional side dishes.

More heart-healthy recipes to create festive meals this holiday season can be found at www.UncleBens.com.

Chocolate Rice Pudding
By The Sneaky Chef
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1 cup or 8 oz
Prep Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 box Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice Long Grain
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, no syrup or sugar added
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. water
2 cups skim milk
2 cups evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Prepare rice as instructed on the box.
2. To make the Sneaky Chef Cherry Puree, combine the cherries, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water in the food processor and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth out the puree. (Makes about 2 cups of puree. Leftovers can be kept in refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to three months.)
3. In a medium saucepan, combine skim milk, evaporated milk, 1/4 cup Cherry Puree, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
4. Add cooked rice and reduce to a simmer.
5. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until thickened.
6. Pour into serving bowls and enjoy!

Tip: This decadent dessert is not only delicious, but also heart-healthy, so you can feel good about serving it to the kids (and yourself)!

Recipe created by Missy Chase Lapine, author of “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals”. www.TheSneakyChef.com.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 190 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 37 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams protein and contains 25% Daily Value for calcium.

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