Mother’s Day celebrates moms and all that they do. They are most likely the chief cook, bottle washer, chauffeur, event planner, wardrobe stylist, food stylist, psychologist, healer and the list goes on. Mom is a pretty busy woman. One of the key things Mom does as the chief cook is nurture and establishes the foundation of our food heritage. Whether she is a cooking Mom or Carry-out Mom, the foods we eat at the family table play a super-size part in our food memories and eating patterns.

In most families there are comfort foods, favorite dishes, as well as the dishes that are fixtures on the menu at extended family gatherings. Historically many of these foods may have been made with traditional ingredients such as whole milk, butter, higher fat beef and pork, cane sugar, and more. Although these foods taste good and impart what folks may consider as authentic flavor, most of us today do not need the high number of calorie foods made with those ingredients. As people learn more about the influence food selections have on health, many have made the conscious choice to change eating habits, ingredients and the dishes that our food memories were built on.

One of my signature mottos—”There is not one food that is completely good for you or completely bad for you.” I advise my clients to make wise food choices and exercise moderation. You can make changes in family food favorites by choosing more healthful ingredients. For example:

  • Choose low-fat or 2% milk in place of whole milk as a beverage and in recipes.
  • Replace high starch carbohydrate foods with more green vegetables.
  • Use plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Choose smoked turkey to flavor broths for vegetables and soups instead of pork.
  • Replace white rice with higher fiber brown rice
  • Reduce the amount of fried foods in your diet.
  • Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole grains, dried beans and lentils.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar consumed in foods and beverages.
  • Choose 4-oz portions of meat, fish and poultry. (the serving should be the size of the palm of your hand
  • Enjoy a treat now and then, but don’t overindulge.

If you grew up enjoying meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, consider making it with lower fat ground beef, ground turkey or chicken. Try serving it with boiled potatoes or mashed cauliflower. Serve assorted fresh fruit with a topping of toasted almonds and low-fat lemon yogurt.

These are guidelines to adjust some of Mom’s recipes, helping you and your Mom make healthier choices when dishing up meals. On occasion you and Mom may want to indulge your guilty pleasure just remember, you can enjoy, but don’t over indulge.

Take Away: Mom’s play a huge part building the foundation of our food memories. You can lighten up those traditional recipes and dishes by making adjustments in the ingredients you use. A few changes add up to a dual win by creating a healthier lifestyle for Mom and you too.

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Mother's Day celebrates moms and all that they do. They are most likely the chief cook, bottle washer, chauffeur, event planner, wardrobe stylist, food stylist, psychologist, healer and the list goes on. Mom is a pretty busy woman. One of the key things Mom does as the chief cook...