How to handle the holidays when you’re on a special diet

Living Well

The holiday season can be challenging for those on a special diet. Whether you have to go gluten-free, are watching your sodium or counting carbs, sometimes it can be tough to enjoy a holiday treat.

Registered dietitian Kim Galeaz joined FOX59 Morning News with tips for guests and hosts for navigating holiday gatherings and specialized diets.

The following recipes were featured in this Living Well segment:

Photo via Kim Galeaz

Cinnamon Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake (Gluten Free)

Pecan Streusel Filling

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Coffee cake

  • 3 cups gluten-free flour blend (measure-for-measure) such as King Arthur, Krusteaz, Bob’s Red Mill
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 container (16 oz.) full-fat sour cream, room temperature

Heat oven to 350⁰F. Grease a 9×13-inch metal baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans until thoroughly blended. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium-high until smooth and creamy. Add half the flour mixture and half the sour cream, mixing until blended. Add remaining flour mixture and sour cream and mix just until blended. Spread one-half batter in greased pan. Sprinkle with one-half the streusel filling. Top with remaining half of batter (spread as close to edges as possible) and sprinkle with remaining half of streusel. Bake 40 – 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean in center. Cool on wire rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers at room temperature in tightly covered container and enjoy within 3 days for best quality. Makes at least 20 servings.

Recipe provided by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist, Kim Galeaz, RDN LD from her baking friend with celiac disease, Laura in Blissfield, Michigan

Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) Kroger cut sweet potatoes in syrup, reserving liquid when draining*                    F
  • 1 can (15.5 ounce) Kroger garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 tablespoon Kroger honey-roasted peanut butter almond butter
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 very large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons Private Selection Moroccan Inspired Harissa Seasoning Blend
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Harissa sauce (from a 4.2 oz. tube)
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons reserved liquid from canned sweet potatoes
  • Optional chopped cilantro, lemon slices and sprinkled Harissa spice for garnish

Drain canned sweet potatoes, reserving the sweet liquid. In a medium bowl, smash/mash drained canned sweet potatoes. Add mashed sweet potato, garbanzo beans, peanut butter, lemon juice, oil and garlic to a food processor. Process/pulse until almost smooth. Add salt, cumin, coriander, harissa spice and Harissa sauce. Process again until smooth. Add reserved liquid to make smoother hummus if desired. Taste and add more lemon, harissa or spices if desired. Serve with favorite vegetables, pita wedges, whole grain naan, whole-grain crackers and gluten-free crackers.

Makes about 3 ½ cups hummus (about 10 servings of 1/3 cup each)

Tips and Hints

  • Fresh or canned sweet potatoes – taste and nutrition will be the same. The hummus color may be slightly less vivid orange with canned sweet potatoes. All the same excellent nutrition!
  • You can also use fresh cooked sweet potato if desired. Use about 2 1/3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potato.
  • If you use fresh sweet potatoes, reserve Garbanzo bean liquid when draining and add a couple tablespoons of that at end to thin out hummus.
  • The honey-roasted peanut butter or almond butter replaces traditional tahini in hummus – which is very expensive. Honey-roasted peanut butter offers a little sweetness to compliment the savory spices.

Recipe created by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Photo via Kim Galeaz

Hot & Spicy, Sweet & Smoky Mixed Nuts

  • 1 ½ cups walnut halves and pieces
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted pecan halves
  • 1 ¼ cups unsalted cashew halves and pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground chipotle chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne red pepper
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ – ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat two 18×13-inch rimmed baking sheets with oil or cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and all spices. Add walnuts, pecans, cashews and almonds and toss well. Drizzle vegetable oil over all nuts and stir/toss until thoroughly blended and all nuts are coated with spice mixture. Spread evenly in a single layer in prepared pans. Bake, stirring several times, about 15 to 20 minutes, until nuts are browned but not burned. Cool on wire racks. Enjoy immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container or zippered plastic bag at room temperature. Enjoy within 4 – 5 days. Or freeze in zippered freezer bags. They’ll last up to one year in freezer.

Makes about 5 ½ cups (roughly 16 servings of 1/3 cup each).

Recipe created by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz RDN, LD

Photo via Kim Galeaz

Cranberry Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 1/3 cups fresh cranberries (or frozen and thawed cranberries)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) Kroger or Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce 
  • 2/3 cup very finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup firmly packed chopped fresh celery leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon favorite whole-grain mustard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Kroger Cooked Shrimp, peeled and deveined, 1 or 2 pounds

Combine cranberries, canned cranberry sauce, onions and celery leaves in food processor bowl. Process until combined. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, horseradish, ketchup, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt and process until just combined. Taste and adjust horseradish, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder and salt as desired. Serve immediately with cooked chilled shrimp. Refrigerate leftover cranberry sauce in a tightly covered container and enjoy within 4 to 5 days.

Makes about 3 cups sauce.

Recipe created by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

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