Use more healthy oils in holiday baking

Published 12:36 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

With the holidays here there is an abundance of food and a tendency to overeat. Many of the foods and dishes we eat during the holidays can also be unhealthy. Did you know that by increasing healthy oils in your diet, you could start a healthy habit that could continue well into the coming year?

Oils are not counted as a food group, but they do add essential fatty acids and vitamin E to our diets. Some examples of healthy oils include olive, peanut, canola and vegetable oils.

Benefits of using healthy oils include: lowering both LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels; reducing risk of heart disease; protects against some types of cancers; and reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (fat that collects along the walls of the arteries).

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This leads to coronary artery disease. Healthy oils also reduce the risk of diabetes by lowering blood sugar and improving sensitivity to insulin.

Ways you can increase healthy oils in your diet include adding small amounts of oils to foods in cooking. Remember, oils are concentrated sources of energy. One tablespoon of oil contains 119 calories.

Use soft margarine with zero Trans fats made from vegetable oils, instead of stick margarine or butter.

Add at least one good source of omega-3 fatty acids, found in tuna, salmon, walnuts and flax seed to your diet each day.

Use vegetable oils or non-fat cooking sprays instead of solid fats when cooking.

Use canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, and soybean or sunflower oils in cooking rather than solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening and lard.

Replace some meats and poultry with seafood or unsalted nuts. Use reduced fat, low fat, light or fat free salad dressings on salads.

With the holidays upon us you may enjoy this Smashed Potatoes recipe. Be sure to visit our web site at for more healthy recipes such as Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole and Cauliflower on the Side, all of which are from our Plate It Up KY Proud recipe collection.

Smashed Potatoes

6 large baking potatoes

Cooking spray

1 1/2 cups sliced, fresh mushrooms

4 green onions, thinly slices

6 ounces fresh spinach

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3/4 cup light sour cream

1 cup 2 percent cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Spray the skins with cooking spray and pierce potatoes in several places with a fork. Place on a 13 x 18 inch baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour.

Wash mushrooms, green onions and spinach. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 6 minutes. Add the green onions and fresh spinach, sauté for 1 minute.

Slice off the top inch of each potato and scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl and mash. Add mushroom mixture, Dijon mustard, sour cream and 1/2 cup cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Scoop mixture into potato shells and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return the potatoes to the baking sheet and bake until heated through and golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings. Nutritional analysis: 410 calories, 9 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 70 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 15 g protein.

For more information on healthy eating, contact us at the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682 or visit us our webpage at

Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.