Showing your appreciation for loved ones through food is common during the holiday season, but you can deliver delicious gifts in a healthful way.
Plenty of cookies, cakes and pies will be exchanged, so why not give a uniquely delicious gift that show long-term affection for those on your gift list.
Two of the current recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are to increase vegetable and fruit intake and to eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red and orange vegetables and beans and peas. Beans and peas are also a plant-based protein source and there are many ways to include them in the diet more regularly.
Another recommendation is to consume at least half of all grains as whole grains and to increase whole grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains. This Friendship Soup Gift encourages these recommendations. It includes split peas and lentils, which are plant-based proteins. Brown rice and whole wheat pasta are whole grains. Pearl barley is a grain but the bran has been removed.
Another recommendation in the Dietary Guidelines is to reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are black or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children and the majority of adults.
Most Americans consume more sodium than they need. Sodium is primarily consumed as salt. One teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2,300 mg of sodium.
Most of the salt consumed comes from salt added during the processing of food. There are many types of processed foods that contribute to the high intake of sodium. These low-sodium seasoning mixes are a great way to reduce sodium intake. The following Herb Seasoning Mix gift idea contains only about 1 milligram of sodium per teaspoon. It is delicious on meats and vegetables.
Herb Seasoning Mix Gift
Makes ¼ cup seasoning mix
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
1 ½ tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 small decorative jar with a tight fitting lid
Ribbon to decorate
Friendship Soup recipe
Makes 8 generous servings
½ cup dry split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
½ cup brown rice
½ cup lentils
¼ cup dehydrated minced onion
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole wheat small pasta
1 quart Mason jar with lid
6-inch circle of a Christmas print or fun print cotton material
Several cotton balls to create a soft rounded lid
2 small clear cellophane bags or zippered plastic bags for the seasoning and the pasta
A blank recipe card or sheet of paper to include the directions to prepare the soup
Red or green curling ribbon
Directions to make the Friendship Soup Gift:
Directions to enclose with the gift:
Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving contains approximately 201 calories and 4 grams of fat.