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Here we go – it is party season – the time of year to avoid putting on extra weight while we maneuver through many social events. Food is an important part of holiday celebrations with family and friends. Now is the time to plan so you can make healthy choices and slide right into the good times that lay ahead.

The first thing is to shop smart. When creating menus and making your shopping list include lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean meats. Prioritize purchasing reduced-fat versions of dairy products, such as reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream for appetizers and lower-fat milk for hot chocolate and eggnog. Soyfoods add an alternative to help decrease fat and cholesterol. Reduced-fat soymilk can be substituted for cow's milk and silken tofu can be used in place of cream cheese or sour cream in dips and spreads. You'll also find soynog and soy coffee creamer.

When asked to bring a dish to a party, consider modifying tried and true recipes to create a healthy option. Change up an appetizer to include raw vegetables, hummus and lean deli meats. Add to the appearance of your tray with vibrant fresh fruits and vegetables which will make it sparkle with color. If you are bringing a dessert, try a fruit tray with soy yogurt or tofu in a dip instead of a higher fat dessert.

Soyfoods can be incorporated into everything from appetizers to comfort food, adding protein and cutting cholesterol that can result in heart-health benefits in your favorite holiday foods. Holiday festivities are much more than food and drinks. They are a time to delight in the traditions of the season, and enjoy the company of family and friends. Let the good times roll!

Raspberry Fruit Dip

1 package (12.3 ounces) firm silken tofu

3 tablespoons honey

1-1/4 cups frozen raspberries (unsweetened)

Put the tofu and honey into a blender and blend until very smooth. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides occasionally, if necessary. Add the frozen raspberries and blend again until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl and serve with fresh fruit, cake, graham crackers or cookies for dipping.

Yield: 2 cups. Per ¼ cup serving: 60 calories, 1 g fat (0.2 g sat fat), 3 g protein (2 g soy protein), 9 g carbohydrate, 16 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g dietary fiber.

Source: Put A Little SOY In Your Life! cookbook

This information is provided by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC), publisher of the cookbook, Put a Little SOY In Your Life. The cookbook, available to Michigan residents while supply lasts, is provided compliments of Michigan's soybean farmers through their soybean checkoff investment. MSPC brings healthy soy information to consumers along with education about the many uses for soybeans. For information about the MSPC or to request a cookbook visit www.michigansoybean.org or write to soyinfo@michigansoybean.org or MSPC, P.O. Box 287, Frankenmuth, MI 48734.

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