Tag Archives: holiday season

Healthy holiday sides – Tufts

This Thanksgiving don’t abandon healthy habits…celebrate them. Whether you are getting together virtually or in person, seasonal produce brings color, flavor, variety, and nutrition to your table. What better way to carry on the Thanksgiving tradition than to celebrate with a table laden with seasonal plant-based foods—as we give thanks for the Earth’s nourishing and delicious bounty.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Focus on Fall Flavor: Autumn’s array of produce—like winter squashes, apples, root vegetables, cranberries, and pomegranates—are packed with nutrients, fiber, and other health-promoting bioactive compounds. “When you bring in variety from plant foods, you satisfy the desire for flavor without excessive calories, and you feel very satisfied,” says Susan B. Roberts, PhD, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Many traditional Thanksgiving sides—like sweet potatoes with marshmallows and creamy green bean casserole—have lots of added sugars and saturated fat. “Most things taste good with sugar and butter,” Roberts says, “but you can also prepare many tasty things without, and enjoy something a little different, or even completely new.”

If nothing says “celebration” like sweet, add fruit to vegetable dishes for sweetness without added sugar. Richly colored, naturally sweet, and packed with nutrients, seasonal fruit is a crowd-pleaser. Apple makes a great compliment to sweet potatoes; dried apricots or prunes add earthy sweetness to roasted root vegetables; pears, berries, and persimmons make a delicious addition to salads; and pomegranate arils are gorgeous sprinkled over most any dish before serving. A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg adds depth and fall flavor.

Cooking method influences flavor as well. Roasting vegetables, for example, causes caramelization, intensifying their natural sweetness (see below for Dr. Lichtenstein’s veggie roasting instructions).

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5 Ways To Manage Holiday Stress

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Or is it?

Yes, the holiday season can be magical — with all of its dazzling displays of lights, parades, festive parties and fun family gatherings. But it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, when Christmas shopping is unfinished, budgets get blown and out-of-town guests overstay their welcome.

Furman University Associate Professor of Psychology Cinnamon Stetler says it’s unrealistic to think you can eliminate all holiday stress.

close up of christmas decoration hanging on tree

Photo by Gary Spears on Pexels.com

“If you don’t have any stress, you’re not really engaging with life,” she says. “You should try to keep stress to a minimum, but it will not be something you can eliminate entirely.”

The key to managing stress is to recognize it and work to minimize it so it doesn’t overwhelm, according to Stetler.

Here are five ways to cope with holiday stress. Continue reading

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Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

Eat less; move more; live longer. Those words are the mantra of this blog. I realize that they are also easier said than done especially at this time of year – holiday season.
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We seem to be hard-wired to celebrate by eating. Maybe it goes back to the time we had to hunt for  our food. When we managed to kill something edible that was reason for celebration and we did. We ate our fill because we didn’t know when our next meal would be. But, times have changed and a trip to a supermarket is enough to feed an entire family for a week. So there is no need to eat till we are bursting at any single meal or event.

The holidays are a particularly trying time. There are various family celebrations along with parties at friends and neighbors. Each is a special form of temptation that we have to deal with.

I think one of the most important concepts to keep in mind in the holiday season is that weight control is a lifetime job. You can’t do it one day and then forget about it, or worse, celebrate by binge-ing on sweets as soon as you lose a pound or two. You also cannot wreck your progress in one day any more than you can solve your weight problem in one day. Think of it as a long continuum. Most importantly, during the holidays, don’t get down on yourself and wallow in guilt because you overdid it on one occasion. The damage from that is much worse than just an extra pound or two. Guilt hurts your heart and makes a positive outlook more difficult.

If you carry the sense of continuum with you in the holiday season, it may help you to steer an even keel through these difficult seas. First, when you are at a party with ‘a spread,’ snack on the carrots instead of the chips. You can work on filling your belly that way and not jam in a bunch of empty calories. Second, if you do overindulge try to eat light the next day. Give your system a chance to reset and find normality. Remember the continuum. Strive for balance. Third, keep portion sizes in mind. You can enjoy the taste of something without eating a plate full of it.

Finally, keep active. Don’t let your exercise program slip. Two reasons: It will help you to burn excess calories and your body needs to work every day. Use it or lose it is the irrefutable law of the body.

I hope this helps you to enjoy the holidays a little more and feel a little less guilty about your eating.

Tony

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