June 26th, 2019

From Our Table: Top tips for the Christmas holiday party season

By Medicine Hat News on December 4, 2018.

Patchwork soup is easy to whip up and makes a nice gift.

Nutritional survival during the Christmas and holiday season can be a real challenge. There is such a wide variety of tempting treats that can be high in fat and sugar and likely to contribute to a few extra party pounds.

Here are some top tips to help you navigate your way through even the most extravagant parties full of tempting treats.

1. Don’t starve yourself before the party. It’s important to eat three meals and three snacks every day. Try to make all your choices before the party count nutritionally. If supper is included have a healthy snack before the party like veggies and hummus or an apple and cheese. If it’s after supper don’t skip supper but maybe have a lighter one that includes protein so you feel satisfied.

2. Choose wisely. For your first go around the party table choose healthier choices like veggies with dip such as hummus or tzatziki; pretzels or corn chips with spinach dip or salsa; meatballs or dry ribs. Next go around have a bit more of your favourites and include the sweet treats you eyed up before. Just keep these higher sugar and/or fat treats to a moderate level.

3. Try not to overeat until you feel uncomfortable. It’s OK to say no when the hostess offers you more. I usually say my mouth would like more but my tummy says no.

4. Avoid standing right beside the food table while you chat. You will likely tend to graze and totally lose awareness of how much you are eating. Easy access to food is dangerous, especially if you are nervous or there are lulls in the conversation and so you are grabbing food as a distraction.

5. Get rid of your plate, napkin and utensils when you are full.

6. It’s important to stay hydrated and not spend the whole party drinking liquid calories. So grab a big glass of ice water at least once during the party and drink it down.

7. If you still feel like having something to snack on while visiting grab a cup and fill it with crunchy low calorie veggies like celery, cucumbers and peppers without the dip and crunch away.

8. Enjoy all the fun, friends, family and festivities of this glorious Christmas season!

Here is a perfect home made gift you can whip up and give to your hostess or make a few for gifts all around.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Patchwork Soup

1 wide mouth 1 quart canning jar with lid

1 cup barley

1 cup dried split peas

1 cup uncooked rice

3/4 cup dry lentils

2 Tbsp dried parsley

2 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Italian seasoning

2 tsp dried sage

Layer the ingredients into jar in the order given. Pack each layer in place before adding the next one. Place lid on jar and attach a card with directions:

Patchwork Soup:

Place ingredients from jar in a large pot and add 20 cups of water along with 1 chopped onion. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Check after 30 minutes and add more water if necessary.

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