The holiday season is a wonderful time to share with family and friends, leading to social celebrations that can be a roadblock to your good health.
There are so many extra tempting foods to enjoy but these can lead to overeating and weight gain. Even if it results in only an extra pound or two, a lifetime of holiday overeating can really add up.
Intake 250 calories a day more than expended over a month is 7,500 or about two pounds added weight. That's 20 pounds in 10 years.
Being health-conscious doesn't mean you can't enjoy special treats, but it sure does help to make a plan for healthful eating and activity and to stick to the plan.
Skipping meals or snacks often leads to overeating at parties. Be diligent about creating and sticking to meals that include a variety of foods from different food groups for meals.
For example, breakfast could be a hot whole grain cereal such as cream of wheat or oatmeal with dried apricots or raisins and almonds and a glass of skim milk.
A balanced lunch could include a chicken or lean roast beef sandwich made from whole grain bread with green leaf lettuce, tomato slices and a slice of reduced fat cheese along with raw vegetable crudites with a low fat dip and a fresh fruit cup for dessert.
Dinner might consist of a large vegetable salad with a low fat dressing, a small portion of fish, lean red meat or poultry, brown rice pilaf and a colorful cooked vegetable like broccoli, carrots, spinach or acorn squash.
Enjoy custard made with skim milk and fruit for dessert. Healthy snacks like fruits, nuts and whole-grain crackers can help bridge the gap.
There are many strategies to implement to create a healthy balance for good nutrition and activity during the holidays:
• Start with how you think and focus on the meaning of the celebration along with the festive food, activity and fun.
• Be realistic and don't try to lose weight during the holidays but instead focus on maintaining your current weight. Remember that if you have gained weight during the holiday season in the past, maintaining weight is an improvement.
• Maintain a regular balanced diet including breakfast, lunch and dinner with two or three small snacks throughout the day to prevent getting too hungry, which can lead to overeating at parties.
• Plan time for regular activity to make sure it happens. Enjoy walks, bike rides or a trip to the fitness center. This helps burn extra calories and is an outlet for managing stress.
• Once arriving at the party, check out the food before making selections.
Choose a petite portion of five or six foods you would most like to try.
Move away from the food table to another part of the room to visit with friends or to make new acquaintances.
Finally, whether you are hosting a party or offering a treat to share as a guest at a party you are attending, there are many delicious options.
We have three ideas for you to try.
Strawberry Dip served with a Fruit and Nut Tray
Makes 24 servings
1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
¼ cup fat free vanilla yogurt
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
8 ounces partially thawed frozen unsweetened strawberries
4 red delicious apples
4 green pears
¼ cup unsweetened apple juice with vitamin C
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup whole almonds
• Combine ricotta cheese, yogurt, powdered sugar, coconut flavoring and strawberries in blender. Blend on medium to high speed until smooth. Pour into a chilled serving dish.
• Core apples and pears and slice in eighths. Place fruit in bowl and add apple juice. This will prevent fruit from turning brown.
• Just before serving remove fruit from apple juice and drain. Arrange apples, pears, pecans, almonds and strawberry dip on serving tray.
Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 3 cups of strawberry dip or 24 two tablespoon servings. Each serving of dip contains approximately 16 calories and no fat.
Variations: Other fruits are delicious with this dip. Try pineapple chunks, grapes and other favorites if desired. If you are short on time to prepare fruit dip try just using strawberry or cherry fat free yogurt for a dip. It is delicious!
Makes 10 servings
½ cup fat free ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper
15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained
• Place ricotta cheese, lime juice, garlic and pepper in blender. Blend on medium to high speed until smooth.
• Add garbanzo beans and blend again a few seconds. Turn the blender off and scrape the sides of the blender as necessary with a spatula and continue blending until smooth.
Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 1¼ cups dip and a serving is two tablespoons. Each serving contains approximately 44 calories and .5 gram of fat.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with raw vegetables such as baby carrots, celery sticks, mini peppers or large bell peppers cut in strips, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli or cauliflower florets. This dip can also be used as a sandwich spread.
The following nonalcoholic fruit punch is delicious, high in vitamin C and is beautiful served in a punch bowl.
Cranberry Citrus Punch
Makes 10 servings
2 cups reduced calorie cranberry juice, chilled
4 cups orange juice, chilled
4 cups diet tonic water, chilled
1 lime, sliced horizontally in ¼-inch slices
1 orange, sliced horizontally in ¼-inch slices
• Pour cranberry juice, orange juice and diet tonic water in a large punch bowl.
• Use ladle to stir.
• Arrange fruit slices on top to float.
• Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 10 one cup servings. Each serving contains approximately 58 calories and no fat.
Class for edible gifts offered
Becky will teach a class on making healthy edible Christmas gifts, including Spaghetti Sauce Mix, Salad Dressing Mix, Friendship Soup In A Jar, Heart Healthy Basket and Pomander Balls at the following locations: at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell in Edmond; at noon Dec. 5 at Buy For Less, 10011 SE 15 St. in Midwest City; at noon Dec. 11 at the Buy For Less, 3501 NW Expressway; at noon Dec. 12 at the Buy For Less, 2500 N Pennsylvania Ave. Class size is limited, call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.