Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

Photo Credit: ecstaticist via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ecstaticist via Compfight cc

Tis the season of food, food and food. So how do we manage our health while entertaining and celebrating?  Instead of fearing weight gain or trying for weight loss during the holidays, let yourself maintain your current weight. Think slow and steady wins the race. However this is not a race rather an almost 2 month period of eating and drinking.  This year, vow to make the holiday season healthy with family and friends as the focus and these tips to plan a mindful season balanced between food and fitness.

5 Tips Celebrate Health and Holidays

  1. Focus on Family and Friends – Growing up in an Italian family I remember the holidays were about food and family. Instead of making food for 25 people, we made enough for 50 people. Instead of sitting around the fire, we sat around the table. If this was your family, start a new tradition this year. Celebrate you health and the holiday season by focusing on family and friends not food. Have family and friends come over to socialize rather than eat. You can serve food, but don’t center the evening on/around the food and the act of eating all of it.
  2. Plan Fitness – With limited time, shopping exhaustion and colder weather, our fitness routines get displaced. Since moving increases your energy, your mood and your metabolism, this is the last thing you want to give up over the holiday season. Instead, make dates with friends to go yoga together rather than getting drinks. Schedule spin class or any classes that you have to pay for if you miss. This is a great incentive to make sure you attend class.
  3. Make a date. Use you daily planner or PDA to schedule all activities, whether it is food shopping, meal prep, exercise or therapy. If it gets scheduled just like any important meeting, you will set the precedent to ensure this activity gets done.
  4. Slow down and Savor – Being a foodie, I know how hard it is not to celebrate with food. However, you can change your mindset of that of your guests too by hosting smaller more intimate holiday parties. Create small intense flavorful meals. Start the meal off with a prayer, a toast or even a moment of silence to allow you and your guests to refocus, create inner calm, and engage in mindful eating.
  5. Use Your Five Senses: Rather than race through your holiday meal and overeat, be sure to use all 5 senses while eating. Smell your food and think about memories the aroma may conjure up. Touch your food; Is your bread hot and crusty or naturally rough with seeds and nuts? Think about the texture and how it makes you feel. Really look at the plate. Is the food presented beautifully? Are there multiple colors on your plate, there should be. Listen to the food, yes listen to see if the turkey’s skin is crispy or the biscotti crunchy. And finally taste your meal!! Many people eat an entire meal and Can never tell you what it really tasted like. They were too busy talking, or shoveling the food in so they could either leave the dinner table or get seconds. This holiday season, be healthy mentally and physically by truly tasting your food and appreciating each bite. A small amount of food tasted will fulfill you more than a few plates of food you never tasted would.

 

 

5 Simple Tips For A Simply Healthier You This Fall Holiday Season

5 Simple Tips For A Simply Healthier You This Fall Holiday Season

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

 

Autumn typically means cooler, darker days, busier schedules with school and work, oh, and we can’t forget about all of those holiday parties. When things get busy, to-do lists get longer, calendars fill up and our self-care can slip further and further down our priority list. Thankfully, there are some simple changes to re-prioritize and maintain or even improve your well being.

Photo Credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via Compfight cc

1. Connect Food and Mood: After eating a meal, think does this make me feel comfortable, give me energy and improve my mood?

    • If the answer is no, you need a new comfort food. A great resource is to reach for my Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook, filled with 200 healthy and comforting recipes.
    • A good tip to remember is that comfort food is meant to make us feel well, not sick and lethargic. So choose a food that will make you feel content, and increase your energy levels. Be sure to be eating when you are hungry.

 

2. Think brown for fall: Switch to brown bread and brown grains to get less processed, more wholesome natural fiber in your diet. This is also great for those favorite holiday recipes. Consider swapping white bread for a whole-wheat variety in a stuffing recipe to add more Vitamin B and Vitamin E, plus natural fiber. Or swap all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour in your homemade baked goods. Here are some tips to go brown this holiday season:

    • Buy grains in bulk to really save money.
    • Be weary of the sugar content: choose grains with no added sugar.
    • Hello comfort food: whole grains can make a great comfy side dish. Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and quinoa all make wonderful sides.

 

3. Warm up! Fat is essential for body temperature regulation. Keep warm this fall and replace saturated fat and trans fat like margarine with heart helpful fats known as MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids). Here are some suggestions to help you stay warm and healthy.

    • Choose canola oil or olive oil.
    • Spread natural peanut butter rather than butter. (Hint: opt for a brand with minimal ingredients, only peanuts and/or salt is ideal).
    • Skip the cheese, avocado please! Swapping avocado for cheese increases your intake of heart-healthy MUFAs, B vitamins and even potassium.
Photo Credit: Chris Blakeley via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Chris Blakeley via Compfight cc

4. Say Goodbye to Calorie Counting: Log hunger and fullness cues in a food log, not calories! This is the best way to learn if you are eating the right amount for you.

    • Log food, feelings and behaviors to identify obstacles to self-care and healthy habits.
    • Identify if you are eating for physical, emotional or behavioral reasons. Ideally you want to aim to eat for physical reasons.
    • If you are always full or just not hungry but find yourself eating, seek alternative comfort or distractions – find a new hobby or fun workout class to distract you. Even better learn to sit with your feelings. They will pass.

 

5. Carpe Diem!! Last but not least, relish the happy moments this holiday season. We know that the holidays can be stressful and hectic, but they are also a great time to catch up with family and friends. So relax, find positive moments and take deep breaths. You deserve it!

Give thanks for a healthier Thanksgiving:

Are you counting down yet? In less than 22 days you will either be making or eating some yummy stuffing. Start planning now. Here are 3 recipes to make your Thanksgiving heart healthy. There is a recipe to meet everyone’s food preference –    the meat lover, the vegetarian and  of course the vegan. Use low fat, low salt broth in the following recipes to make them even healthier.

 

Low Fat Bread and Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4 ounces chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound day-old artisan bread cubes

1 14 1/2–ounce can fat free, low sodium chicken broth

1 egg, lightly beaten, or 2 egg whites

 

Directions: Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook sausage meat until browned, breaking it into chunks with a spatula. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to skillet. Add onion, celery and mushrooms, and sauté until tender. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes with cooked sausage, vegetable mixture, herbs and pepper. Whisk together broth and egg, and pour over stuffing mixture. Toss well to coat. Spoon stuffing into 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until browned.

Serves 12

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 134 Calories; 2.7g Fat; 0.6g Sat Fat; 21.8g Carbohydrates; 6.5g Protein; 1.6g Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 341mg Sodium

http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/holidayrecipes/r/breadstuff1104.htm

 

 

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ingredients:

8 slices whole wheat bread

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cup chopped celery

¼ cup granny smith apples (finely chopped with skin on)

1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh sage

2 tablespoons light butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions: Start by drying out your bread. You can either do this by toasting in the oven, or by leaving the bread sit out at room temperature overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium pot, combine chicken broth, onions, celery, apples, butter, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and sage. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, break up your bread into small ½” pieces by chopping or just breaking apart with your hands. Put bread into a large oven safe dish. When broth mixture is ready, slowly pour onto bread, making sure to cover all the pieces. Next, mix in the egg substitute and make sure to cover all pieces. If bread cubes do not seem wet enough (they should be moist, but not saturated), add a tablespoon or two of warm water until appropriate texture is reached. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Cover dish with foil and transfer to over. Cook for about 25 minutes. Then, take out stuffing, mix it around and fluff it a bit and put back in the oven, uncovered for about another 15 minutes.

Serves 4
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 229 Calories; 5.1g Fat; 2.4g Sat Fat; 32.5g Carbohydrates; 13.8g Protein; 5.7g Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 637mg Sodium

http://www.laaloosh.com/2009/11/20/low-calorie-thanksgiving-stuffing-recipe/#ixzz1csvpvywI

 

 

 

Brown-Rice and Cranberry Stuffing

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium carrots cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 medium fennel bulbs, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cup long-grain brown rice

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

4 cup dried cranberries

1 3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

 

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add carrots, fennel, celery, and onion, and cook 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in rice, chicken broth, cranberries, salt, thyme, pepper, and 4 1/4 cups water. Cover and heat to boiling. Pour rice mixture into 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish; cover with foil and bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates and rice is tender

Serves 6

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 135 Calories; 2g Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 28g Carbohydrates; 3g Protein; 2g Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 265mg Sodium

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/brown-rice-and-cranberry-stuffing-2947