Chefs, dieticians offer healthy eating tips for holidays

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A campaign to fight weight gain this holiday season is now underway. Several Lowcountry hospitals are spreading the word.

Holiday cooking and meals can be fun to make, good to eat, but bad for your health.

"People often times eat a lot of extra calories during the holidays and end up gaining quite a bit of weight. They can have up to 3,000 calories in one meal," dietician Janet Carter said.

MUSC Chef Fred Bennett had a live health-conscious cooking demonstration for the "Healthy Holidays" campaign. He made split pea/butternut squash soup, mahi mahi with braised fennel, Thai turkey salad with rice noodles, and chicken and garlic fusilli pasta, all with a healthy twist.

Chef Bennett says to make your meals a little healthier, use canola or olive oil instead of butter, use herbs and spices instead of salt, and reduced vegetable broth instead of gravy.

"They're more nutritious for you. Your body responds better to them, gives you a little more energy, doesn't weigh you down with all the extra fats, butters," Chef Bennett said.

Chefs from various hospitals and the SC Hospital Association will be featuring healthy recipes on Live 5 News throughout the holidays and eventually they will feature how to prepare a healthy New Years meal. Experts say the average person will gain one pound during the holidays, but healthier options and portion control can help you avoid that.

"If you can at least maintain your weight during the holidays and then try to lose once the holidays are over that's usually the best way to go so you don't stress over that too much," Carter said.

MUSC, Trident, Roper, East Cooper, and the SCHA are all partnered up for the campaign. On Dec. 27, on Live 5 News at noon, there will be a special on preparing a healthy New Years meal. For more expert tips and recipes click here.

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