July 18th, 2018

From Our Table: Moderation and Merry Christmas

By Medicine Hat News on December 19, 2017.

With Christmas right around the corner lots of last-minute preparations are being done. There might be gifts to be wrapped and maybe even some shopping too. A few more decorations to add to the beauty of the season and of course one of the highlights of Christmas — the food!

There are so many traditional recipes to enjoy during the Christmas season. All that delicious baking. It seems so many people have specific recipes that are a must have from their family traditions. I shared the whipped shortbread recipe from my friend Christine’s mom and many people told me that was also a traditional very special recipe in their families too. For some it’s Christmas fruitcake or fudge or toffee. Everyone has those seasonal special foods that tug at their heart.

There’s also many traditional favourite recipes served for Christmas dinner. We were sharing our favorite food for this occasion in a large group recently and there were two main favourites. One was mashed potatoes and the other was stuffing. The stuffing especially was very specific to “my mom’s stuffing is the best!” No one can duplicate certain recipes made by someone we love.

So with all this fabulous food around, many of which are only around once a year, how can we possibly eat healthy.

The solution starts with “M.” It’s moderation, a word I know you’ve heard many times but it really is the key to eating healthy.

I just don’t think it is practical to expect anyone not to enjoy the many treat foods available over the holidays. I believe even by telling yourself it’s fine to have these you automatically eat less just by giving yourself permission. On the other hand when you deny yourself completely you usually end up giving in only to have eight instead of one! Sound familiar?

There’s nothing wrong with having a few sweet treats or buttery stuffing or cream cheese whipped potatoes (oh my tummy is growling) this Christmas season. The key is to keep the amount you have limited. Skip seconds, share dessert with someone. You get the picture. Also make sure you include many veggies on your plate and remember to drink lots of water. There are also an abundance of high calorie drinks this season that need to be consumed in moderation.

Christmas time is about enjoying the festive food with family and friends not about total denial. Just moderate the amounts you are eating and you and your tummy will be glad you did. Oh, and you might want to make sure you throw in a bit of extra exercise right about now. How about a group walk to look at the lights after your delicious meal.

There are many versions of this salad but I decided to share my sister in law Sandra’s recipe. She’s an amazing cook! Hope you and yours enjoy it.

From my family to yours have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year’s celebrations! See you in 2018.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

1 large head of broccoli

1/2 head of cauliflower

1/2 pound bacon cooked, crisp and crumbled

1 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted

1/4 cup purple onion

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans


1 1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 Tbsp vinegar

1/2cup sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces. Chop onion fine. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large serving bowl. Mix dressing and stir into salad.

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