Holiday Eating – Lightened Up

By on December 17, 2012

By Meredith Kimebladt –

The holiday season is known for a lot of things—crowded malls, cookie exchanges and lots of family time are all popular holiday hallmarks. But when it comes to Christmastime, comfort food tops the list of holiday traditions. From comfort food-filled family dinners to holiday potlucks, good eating is everywhere and home-cooked dishes are at their peak.

To fully enjoy yourself—and all the delicious food—this holiday season, keep the following tips in mind to make sure you don’t go too overboard in the junk food department this year:

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  • Fill your plate with colors
    The healthiest foods out there (think fresh fruits and veggies) all have one thing in common: they’re usually colorful. Instead of brown crusty bread or white mashed potatoes that tend to be high in carbs, butter and sodium, make sure your plate is as colorful as possible. You’ll get a lot more nutrients that can help keep you healthy during flu season!
  • Stick to lean meats

If you have the choice between red meats like beef or steak, and lighter meats like turkey or chicken, the lighter ones will usually be better for you. Turkey and chicken are leaner and lower in fat than their red counterparts but are still excellent sources of protein. Try them in comfort foods like meatballs, sloppy joes and meatloaf for a lighter update on family favorites.

  • Go easy on the alcohol

Peppermint martinis and sugarplum cocktails sound sweet and innocent, but sugary holiday cocktails tend to be loaded with way more calories than you might think. Skip the cocktails this season and choose a glass or two of wine instead for some healthier indulgence.

This easy recipe for turkey picadillo is perfect for a filling-but-healthy pre or post-holiday meal. It’s got all the flavors of the season, including cinnamon, cocoa powder and almonds, so it’s sure to get you in a festive mood. If you’re making it after your Christmas dinner, try substituting chopped up leftover turkey for the ground turkey the recipe calls for.

Stress-Free Turkey Picadillo

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz each) Manwich® Original Sloppy Joe Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • Hot cooked rice, optional


Combine turkey, cinnamon and red pepper in large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the turkey is crumbled and no longer pink; drain.

Add Sloppy Joe sauce, cocoa and sugar; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in raisins and almonds. Serve over rice, if desired.


Toasting nuts deepens the flavor and adds crunch. Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until light golden brown, stirring frequently. Or, bake in a 350°F oven in a shallow baking pan for 8 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring several times.


Author Bio:  This is a guest post written by Meredith K. on behalf of Manwich®. Visit to explore other comforting holiday food ideas, from biscuit casseroles to sloppy joe recipes.

About Meredith Kimelblatt

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Holiday Eating – Lightened Up