Happy and Healthy Hanukkah

The Hanukkah festivities are in full swing. You may be tempted to indulge in those typical holiday foods, but look at these numbers before you leap into a plate of gourmet goodies. Hanukkah lasts for eight days, and most of the traditional foods are fried in oil to honor the miracle of how long a small supply of oil lasted at the Temple of Jerusalem. That means fried latkes, fried pastries, fried cookies, fried sufganiyot (donuts). Just one two-ounce potato latke -- fried in oil -- will cost you a whopping 200 calories -- and that's before a dollop of sour cream at 30 calories per tablespoon. One cheese-filled blintz is 340 calories, while a jelly-filled sufganiyot is 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. A rugelach cookie is 100 calories, and one large matzo ball is 90 calories and 3 grams of fat. Can you really afford eight days of this fattening feast?

Probably not. So why not make it a festival of "lites" this year? There are plenty of steps you can take for a pared-down version of the festivities. For starters, don't overindulge in fried foods every night. Turn those staples into sides and serve with fish or chicken that's not saturated in oil. Avoid coconut and palm oil - instead, opt for olive, canola or peanut oil, which are all higher in monounsaturated fats. Bake instead of fry wherever you can. If you do decide to fry, use a non-stick skillet and cooking spray instead of oil. And if you use oil, pat dry the foods on paper towels before serving.