December is here again. It always seems to sneak up on us so fast. Great news is that this is the time to enjoy family, friends, and rich traditions. Be aware, it is also the time of year when tempting treats are everywhere we turn. Unlike other times of the year when the occasional wedding or birthday bash makes it easy to overindulge because its just once off, social times in December seem to be back-to-back; one high-calorie feast after another.
To avoid that trap of mindless eating, I remind you of my favourite quote: “It’s a holiday, not holimonth !! May all your homes be filled with peace and happiness this Holiday Season.
Other than the following fun odds and ends, Recipes and holiday Tid Bits, don’t forget to keep scanning through my blog, as the next few articles will offer great holiday season survival strategies.
Recipe Selection of the Season
For those that still have loads of turkey left over, here is a great recipe – it is quick and easy, very tasty, great for cozy winter days and can make use of turkey leftovers without you being over the turkey flavors.
Turkey Gumbo Soup (serves 6)
3 cups turkey or chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
10-ounce bag of frozen okra, cut
16-ounce can tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup rice, uncooked
2 cups turkey, cooked and diced
Boil broth. Add vegetables, seasonings, rice, and turkey. Cover and cook over low heat (about 15 minutes) until vegetables and rice are tender. 170 calories per 1-cup serving.
TALKING TURKEY – KEEP IT SAFE
Sure to be the staple of many holiday meals, turkey is a great addition to your diet. It’s low in fat and high in protein, and a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. Here are some tips for turkey safety:
A frozen turkey can be bought months in advance and stored in the freezer. Allow ~24 hours of defrost time for every 5 lbs of turkey. A 20-pound turkey takes 4-5 days to thaw! Never thaw turkey at room temperature.
Stuff your turkey just before you place the bird in the oven. Allow ½ to ¾ cup stuffing pe lb of turkey. The stuffing must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 0 to be safe.
To roast the perfect turkey, place the bird in a shallow pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the inner thigh of the bird and roast it in a pre-heated oven set at 325 degrees. Your turkey is cooked when the thermometer in the inner thigh reads 180 degrees, and the juices run clear. Be sure the thermometer is not touching any bones-
PUMPKIN CUSTARD PIES (serves 6)
1 can, 16 oz., pumpkin
1/2 cup prunes, pitted and finely chopped
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tsp. margarine, reduced calorie
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
8 mini (3 ½ “ dia) pumpkins (Jack-be-little pumpkins)
Simmer together : pumpkin, prunes, apple, orange juice and margarine for 15 mins, stirring frequently. Transfer to a food processor and add milk, egg subs, orange peel and spice. Process until smooth.
Cut off the tops of each pumpkin ~ 1” down. Scoop out the seeds. Place the shells in a 13″ X 9″ baking dish. Bake at 3500 F for about 30 mins (flesh tender) Spoon the custard mixture into the shells. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of custard comes out clean. Per serve: Cal 106, Fat: 1g ,Sodium: 74mg, Fiber 2g, Carbohydrate: 18g, Pro 4g, Fiber 2g
Balance Food Choices
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.over desserts with traditional pie crusts.
Lastly, don’t put your exercise routine on hold just because its holidays. Any type of activity is better than none at all.
1: Light jog in place (2 minutes), jump rope (2 minutes), light jog (2 minutes)
2: Sit-ups (2 minutes), 25 push-ups, sit-ups (2 minutes), 25 push-ups
3: Light jog in place (2 minutes), 1 set squats (8-12 repetitions), 1 set lunges, 1 set squats, 1 set lunges, leg stretches (2 minutes)
4: Take your dog (or just yourself!) for a walk around the block – swing arms, walk hard !!