Celebrate Oktoberfest with a Healthier Menu

Oktoberfest, a two-week festival held each year in Munich, Germany, was originally created to celebrate Bavarian culture. Today, people honor Oktoberfest all over the world with festivals and celebrations that feature German food, beer, music, rides, and games.

While Oktoberfest is well underway in Germany, you can fashion your own Bavarian celebration wherever you are. The food served at Oktoberfest celebrations tends to be rich and starchy (think: pork chops, potato salad, pretzels and beer.) Luckily, dieters overseas can lighten their favorite German fare to fit their healthy lifestyle – and even save room for a brew or two.

Instead of roasted pork or pork hocks, try Pork with Apple Sauerkraut.

Pork hocks, though often inexpensive, often require long cooking times in order for the tough meat to be made palatable. Instead of roasting or braising meat in added fat, pick a simple pork tenderloin that is quick and lean.

Instead of a traditional German potato salad, try Crock Pot German Potato Salad or Mashed Potatoes with Leeks.

German potato salad is made with vinegar-based dressing and typically lighter than the mayo-laden American versions. Cut even more calories from your Oktoberfest diet by cutting down on the amount of bacon in your salad and adding extra celery seed and pepper for more flavor.

Even mashed potato purists will appreciate adding some green vegetables into their spuds. These potatoes are made with margarine and skim milk instead of butter and cream, but you’ll never miss the fat.

Instead of red cabbage sauteed in butter, try Red Cabbage Salad with Cranberries from Eclectic Recipes.

If Oktoberfest has one forgiving food tradition, it’s cabbage. A cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is packed with fiber and may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A crunchy cabbage salad is the perfect complement to some of the heavier Oktoberfest options.

Instead of Bierocks with ground beef, try Bierocks from Dine and Dish with ground turkey.

Use lean ground turkey breast in these classic German buns stuffed with meat or vegetables. Similar to Mexican empanadas or Indian samosas, Bierocks are versatile and can be made as rich or as light as you like.

Instead of a large soft pretzel, try Chocolate Glazed Soft Pretzel Bites.

Knock out your sweet and salty cravings in one fell swoop with these whole wheat pretzel bites, a decadent treat that’s warm and gooey, with just the right amount of chocolate and sea salt.

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