September 25th, 2020

From Our Table: Fa la la la food

By Joanne Smith on December 3, 2019.

The Christmas season is here and the festivities, fun and of course food are fully in swing.

With all this fabulous food around, especially the special treats that only come around once a year, how can we possibly eat healthy.

Here are a few tips that might come in handy helping you make healthy choices this holiday season.

1. If you are skimming this and you only take away one point about healthy holiday eating read this one.

The solution starts with “M.” It’s Moderation. It’s a word I know you’ve heard many times but it really is the key to eating healthy. I believe in “go big or go home.” Have the treats you want with all their buttery goodness and just have one or maybe two rather then having a lower fat or sugar alternative that you don’t enjoy as much, and having six or eight. Moderation is truly one of the keys to healthy eating.

2. Don’t forget to eat lots of veggies. Most parties will have lots of veggie options. On your first round have a variety of veggies that fill at least half your plate. Skip the dip if you can and keep those calories for other treats.

3. Drink lots of water. It’s fine to have some of the other higher calorie Christmas drinks in moderation, but don’t forget to keep your body well hydrated. Your mouth will thank you in the morning.

4. Skip seconds and enjoy the choices you make the first time around.

5. Bump up the exercise. Add in a few more minutes at the gym or park your car a few more blocks from work. Enjoy a walk with friends through the neighbourhood to look at all the Christmas lights and decorations on display.

6. Don’t deny. I just don’t think it is practical to expect anyone to not 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?

7. Enjoy the season as thoroughly as possible – the lights, the music, the sharing, the gifts, the decorations, the parties and of course the food. Forget the stress and just stop and enjoy the moments.

Christmas time is about celebrating Jesus’ birth, Immanuel – God with us. It’s about enjoying festive food with family and friends not about total denial. Just moderate the amounts you are eating (except for veggies and water, have lots of those!) and add in some exercise. Your tummy and your waistline will thank you.

This recipe is truly a treat and it’s easy to transport to a party or have it at your own. My friend Christine brought it to a party recently and it was a huge hit. It’s very rich and full of delicious flavours that just say Merry Christmas with every bite. You might even want to serve it for your Christmas dinner dessert and start a new family tradition.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Gingerbread Dip

1 8oz package cream cheese

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 to 1/2 cup cream

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 cups gingerbread cookies ground into 1 cup of crumbs

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup icing sugar

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.

Add in the molasses and beat until smooth.

Add 1/3 cup of cream as well as the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and beat until smooth

Add in cookie crumbs (these can be made by pulsing cookies in a blender or food processor) and blend until smooth.

Add brown sugar and icing sugar and once again blend until smooth. Mixture should be the consistency of thick but spreadable icing. If it’s too thick add more cream and blend until smooth.

Put into serving bowl and serve with wedges of Granny Smith apples. The tart apples and sweet gingerbread dip are a perfect combination.

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