Holiday Helpers

We all know that this time of year is filled with family-time, celebrations and traditions that are typically centered around food. Research has shown that the average person gains about 1 pound each holiday season. That may not sound like much, but research also shows that most people never lose their added weight. So over the years, these pounds can add up.

To help you keep calories more controlled without sacrifice, PLC has compiled a sampling of some traditional holiday foods that have been tweaked to be healthier, yet still flavorful! We hope you and your family enjoy trying these this holiday season!

Potato Latkes:

Makes 24 latkes

4 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 egg whites, beaten
1 medium onion
4 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil
Nonstick cooking spray

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the onions. Wrap mixture in paper towels and squeeze out all liquid over large bowl. Potato starch will settle to bottom of the bowl. Slowly pour off and discard liquid in the bowl and reserve the potato starch.

In large bowl, combine potato mixture, egg whites, onions, salt and pepper to taste, and reserved potato starch. Coat a nonstick skillet with olive oil and cooking spray and heat skillet over medium-high heat.

With your hands, press together about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture; place in skillet and flatten with wide metal spatula. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Cook the latkes about 8 minutes, turning once, until browned on both sides.

Nutrition Facts per 2 latkes: Calories: 76; Total fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Carbohydrate: 16 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g

Tasty Green Beans (instead of Green bean Casserole)

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Dash of salt and pepper

Steam green beans to cook. Drain and toss the green beans in butter, nutmeg, and salt & pepper.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 128; Total Fat: 9 g; Cholesterol: 23 mg; Sodium: 11 mg; Carbohydrate: 12 g; Fiber: 6 g; Protein: 3 g

Collard Greens

Makes 10 servings

Cooking spray
4 oz. turkey ham
2 lbs collard greens washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp onion powder
A Pinch of red pepper flakes
Black pepper to taste
Vinegar to taste

Spray a large pot with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until hot. Add turkey ham and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the collards, broth, garlic, onion powder, pepper flakes, black pepper to taste, and vinegar to taste. Cover. Cook 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 80: Total fat: 2.5 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 180 mg; Carbohydrate: 6 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 7 g

Whipped Sweet Potatoes With Pecan Crumble

Serves 8

Whipped Sweet Potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups plain 0% Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Kosher salt
Cooking spray (butter flavor)

Pecan Crumble Topping
1/2 cup whole oats
1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
2 T butter, chilled, chopped
2 T dark-brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash sweet potatoes, pat dry, and place in oven on bottom rack.

Prepare crumble topping by placing all ingredients in a bowl. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, mash ingredients together until all are well incorporated and hold together in small clusters. Reserve.

Bake potatoes for approximately 40 to 60 minutes until soft to the touch when pinched. Roasting will allow the sugar in the potato to caramelize naturally. Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool before removing skins.

Place warm sweet potato flesh in a mixing bowl. Add yogurt, vanilla, and salt.

Whip using wire whip attachment on medium speed for about 1 minute. Scrape sides down and turn to high and whip for about 30 seconds until all of the yogurt is incorporated in potatoes.

Prepare glass or ceramic 2qt baking dish by covering surface with cooking spray. Scoop potato mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crumble evenly across top of potatoes. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Place in hot oven at 350˚F for about 40 to 50 minutes to heat potatoes. The topping should be lightly browned. Remove pan from oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts per ½ cup serving: Calories: 200; Total fat: 6 g; Sat fat: 2 g; Trans fat: 0; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 290 mg; Carbohydrate: 30 g; Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 10; Protein: 8 g

Spicy Biscotti

Makes 18


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup almond meal
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cardamom
1 tablespoon ginger
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and the water, mixing well. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and spices. Mix in the almond meal.

In a medium bowl, beat together the agave nectar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in almonds. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. On a well-floured surface, shape each half into a log. Transfer the logs to your prepared baking sheet. Pat down the tops of each log so that they are flattened a little. There should be at least 3 inches between each log.

Bake the logs for 30 minutes; remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Transfer the logs one at a time to a cutting board and slice the logs into 1/4 inch slices. Transfer the slices back to the baking sheet and bake them for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts per 2 biscotti: Calories: 130; Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 50 mg; Carbohydrate: 19 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 3 g