Swedish recently shot and produced a short video featuring two recipes for quick, easy and healthy Holiday drinks.
December 2011 posts
So, here we are again. Right in the middle of the holiday season. This beautiful time of year when we have extra lights and candles and glass ornaments decorating the house. Regardless of which, if any, holidays you and your family celebrate, chances are your child will be exposed to pretty, new, shiny things to discover.
When you’re decorating, and you have crawlers or toddlers in the house (whether they’re yours or they’re visiting), you’ll want to take certain precautions to protect both the babes and the pretty decor.
Once you decorate, crawl around on your knees and investigate the world from that angle.
- Look for low hanging glass or breakable ornaments and move them higher. Put unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches and make sure they are not hung with metal hooks. A loop of ribbon can work instead.
- Look for dangling extension cords and lights that the child could reach. Sometimes just sliding a piece of furniture over a couple of inches in front of the cords is all you need.
- Look for tablecloths that could be pulled down, causing plates and centerpieces to fall.
- Look for easy access to holiday plants. Poinsettias are not as poisonous as people think. It takes....
The more that has been done to a food, the less it has to offer you. Fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes and whole grains, enjoyed as close to their natural state as possible this holiday season, will keep your energy levels high, your appetite content, and weight gain off your worry list.
Reunite with Your Appetite
These next few months feel like the fast-forward button is stuck on…work demands remain high, yet family and friends require a significantly greater share of your attention. I fully support the extra shot of espresso to fill your tank this season, as long as you put the brakes on and slow way down at the dinner table.
It takes at least 20 minutes after you start eating for your stomach to signal your brain that it’s receiving food and to slow production of hunger hormones (ghrelin) and kick up production of leptin (satiety hormone). If you are shoveling food in your mouth like you are training to take on Takeru Kobayashi (hot dog eating champ), you are going to end up miserable. Slow down. Take time to chew thoroughly, put your fork down between bites, breathe, and enjoy the company.
Speaking of company…unfortunately when we are graced with the presence of loved ones, we tend to eat much more than we would by ourselves. Eating with just one other person encourages you to eat about 35% more, and in a group of 7 or more, you’ll eat roughly 96% more than you would if you were eating alone. Now you have an excuse not to invite that bizarre cousin right? Kidding. For those of us blessed with large families and parties of friends, make sure to pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table (anyone in a highchair is fair game), start eating last, and determine how much you are going to eat before you sit down. We eat about 92% of what we dish up in the buffet line, so now is the time to be chintzy (not on your Uncles gift). If there is a choice in plate size, go for the smaller one. Just a two-inch smaller diameter plate (from 12 to 10”) reduces your consumption by 22%. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not when you have reached the point where you are too full (it’s too late).
Put Vegetables on the Guest List
During the holidays we do a fine job getting our fix of fruits (apple pie, wine), grains (gingerbread), and meats (duck, turkey, or whatever other animals we aren’t willing to prepare the other 360 something other days a year). What about our true friends that are packed full of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber), while contributing few calories and little fat? Vegetables! Displace 20% of your plate with these guys and you will save a couple hundred calories. There are 3,500 calories per pound, so do the math: Over the next two month celebration marathon, that’s a new years resolution besides losing weight gained over the holidays!
Embrace the season – focus on seasonal winter vegetables, such as:
- 3/4 cup 100% Pomegranate Juice
- Juice and zest of one orange
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs honey
- Whisk entirely and serve immediately.
Preparation Time: Less than 5 minutes.
Yields: 1 cup of dressing
- 4 cups washed and rinsed baby spinach
- 2 ripe pears
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 4 baby Clementine oranges
- 1 Tbs dried cranberries
- 1 Tbs pistachios (shelled, dry roasted, salted)
- 1 Tbs dry roasted almonds
- 1 Tbs dry roasted pecans
- 1 Tbs dry roasted walnuts
- Fresh cracked pepper (optional)
- Cut pear into small cubes and place in bowl and cover with lemon juice (to prevent browning). Let sit 5 minutes.
- Peel Clementines and cut individual segments in half.
- Pour pear bowl over greens.
- Add oranges, cranberries and nuts and toss salad completely.
- Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper if preferred. Add dressing if preferred.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes.
Yields: 4 servings (Nutrition Facts is for ¼ of recipe above).