At Kendall College's Lunch
Box Lessons, each parent-child duo gets tips about kitchen
essentials, a tasting and a lunch box. Classes cost $65 for each
parent-child pair. Children must be 6-13. For class schedules,
visit spiceup.kendall.edu, call (312) 752-2196 or e-mail
It's too easy to throw your arms up and proclaim a sugary, baked
goodness free-for-all during the holidays, but all it takes is one
bellyache to remind us our kids still need proper nutrition,
whether 'tis the season or not.
It's possible to eat healthy during the holidays, says Executive
Chef Renee Zonka, a registered dietician and associate dean at the
School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College.
Zonka organizes Lunch Box Lessons, offered at the School
of Culinary Arts to help educate parents and kids about proper
nutrition, kitchen etiquette and the importance of a healthful
diet. Here are a few tricks Zonka has up her sleeve to make sure
your holiday snacks this year are both tasty and
Replace oil and butter.
Butter and oil provide moisture in a recipe, especially in
cupcakes, breads and muffins. Applesauce provides the same moisture
and can be used as a healthy alternative.
Ditch sugar. Use jams and jellies in
place of sugar and sugar substitutes for a good pie crust. You'll
get the same sweetness and maintain texture. Nut cream or pureed
nuts with a little water also make a good binder for crusts. For
healthy holiday treats, use honey or pure maple syrup instead of
Skim the milk. Evaporated
skim milk has the thickness of cream without all of the fat. A half
cup of evaporated skim milk has less than half a gram of fat, while
heavy cream has as much as 5.5 grams of fat per tablespoon. Add
about a tablespoon of cornstarch to keep it from
Add whole grains. You can usually
substitute a third of the flour the recipe calls for with whole
Simply being aware of the ingredients and replacing them
with healthy options like vegetable and fruit purees will make
holiday snacks healthier without sacrificing taste, Zonka says.
"Always ask, 'What is the purpose of this ingredient?' and you
won't miss out on the additional fat or sugar."
Zonka and Heidi Hedeker shared a few healthy holiday
recipes to prove the point:
Esther Han is a Chicago Parent intern and student at
Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
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