Ho, Ho, Ho! Tis the season of giving, receiving, and of course, feasts. Holidays revolve around food and family, moreover, Christmas actually has its roots in a feast. Although this time of year represents serious temptation for one that is constantly watching what they eat, following these tips will help most succeed instead of “starting over” or “resolving” for the New Year.
Regardless of your own personal traditions, and what temptations you fall to, may all your homes be filled with peace and happiness this Holiday Season.
Balance Food Choices
Well, it’s that time of year again. Everywhere you go, you can’t help but nibble on rich holiday treats. A typical holiday meal can be 4000-5000 calories. To make matters worse, activity drops because we’re indoors. Consequently, most of us put on several pounds during the holiday season.
But weight gain does not have to be inevitable. You can compensate for eating high calorie meals by increasing your activity and making wise food choices when possible. For instance, it’s easy to rake up the calories when eating snacks. Choose raw vegetable and fresh fruit with low-calorie dressings instead of cheese spreads or high-calorie dips.
When it comes to eating meats, choose turkey breast without the skin. The skin on turkey can add 200 extra calories to meat that is fairly lean to begin with. Avoid fatty gravies; instead opt for natural cooking juices that have been de-fatted. Limit yourself to one casserole-type potato or vegetable dish – most casseroles tend to be high in cals. When it comes to dessert, choose fruit or pumpkin pie over pecan pie. Desserts made with graham cracker crusts are generally lower in fat, making them a better choice.than desserts with traditional piecrusts.
Lastly, don’t put your exercise routine on hold just because you think that exercise can’t make up for all the calories you’ve consumed. Any type of activity is better than none at all.
CRANBERRIES – NOT JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Do cranberries conjure up thoughts of the holidays? Whether you drink cranberry juice, blend canned cranberries in smoothies, add cranberries to poultry or pork stuffing or enjoy cranberries in salsas, salads or side dishes, cranberries help keep you healthy any time of year. They’re loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants. Their crimson color comes from a flavonoid that may help lower your LDL – (bad) cholesterol, help prevent blood clots that cause heart attacks and stroke—and so protect you from heart disease. Their other plant substances may protect you from cancers, gum disease and stomach ulcers
Another better-known benefit: Substances in cranberries help prevent bacteria in the urinary tract from causing bladder infections.
The weather outside is frightful, but finding time for physical activity is delightful!
This year, try speed shopping…. Lace up those sneakers and move! Before you know it your shopping will be done.
Or Embrace some of these ideas:
– Burn 84 calories ice skating for 10 minutes. Burn 96 calories playing hockey for the same amount of time.
– Cross-Country skiing is one of the best all-around exercises out there. Burn 96 calories in 10 minutes while working both your upper and lower body.
– Using a snow blower burns 54 calories in 10 minutes while shoveling snow burns 72.
Healthy Gift Ideas
If you have a beloved family member or a friend that is looking to get on the track to a better/healthier way of life, why not help nurture them healthy gifts to guide them in the right direction:
• Water Bottles. Reusable metal water bottles offer a healthy alternative to the temptation of sugary drinks.
•Lunch Bags. Thermal bags are a fun way to pack healthy fare and save calories and money.
•Sports Gear. New gear can energize even a reluctant exerciser. Buy wicking athletic wear, like socks or shirts, which can make exercising comfortable in any climate.
Recipe Selection for DECEMBER
Enjoy one of the great sweet treats of the season guilt-free.
Only 1 egg yolk is used, thus a drop or two of yellow coloring may add appeal.
If ou don’t want to add alcohol, a little rum extract adds a traditional touch.
EGGNOG A LA WINTER
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
1 1/2 cups fat free half-and-half
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum or brandy (optional)
freshly grated nutmeg to garnish
Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Add egg and egg whites, and beat for 3-4 mins. Gently heat milk in a large saucepan. Gradually stir egg mixture into the hot milk . Stir constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in vanilla extract and remove from heat.
Let the milk and egg mixture cool. Blend cooled mix with fat-free half-and-half. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Before serving, add rum or brandy if desired and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg on top.
Calories (no alcohol): 272, Calories from Fat 24, Total Fat 2.9g (sat 1.4g), Cholesterol 60mg, Sodium 249mg, Carbohydrate 51.1g, Fiber 0.1g, Pro 10.9g
HOLIDAY FUN FACTS AND FOODS USED IN CELEBRATION
Kwanzaa, which means “First Fruits,” is based on ancient African harvest festivals and celebrates ideals such as family life and unity. During this spiritual holiday, African Americans dress in special clothes, decorate their homes with fruits and vegetables, and light a candleholder called a kinara.
For the 8 days of Hanukah, Jewish people light candles in a special candleholder called a menorah. They do this to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned eight days in their temple. Traditions include potato pancakes called latkes, Hanukah songs, and spin a top called a dreidel spun to win chocolate coins and other treats.
Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrated by going to church, giving gifts, and caroling to anyone who’ll listen. Christmas eve feasts are traditionally meatless because the night prior to a religious feast was considered a vigil. During this religious observance meat is usually not served. The hanging of greens, such as holly and ivy is also traditional, because greenery supposedly lifts sagging winter spirits and remind people that spring was not far away.