By Melissa Lafrance on December 7, 2017
In December, we are highlighting winter produce, feeding yourself when you’ve caught a bug, and rethinking holiday eating. You won’t find your typical guide to healthy holiday eating here. We are all unique and some of us celebrate in different ways, so it’s important to savour those special moments, especially if your festivities revolve around food.
Each week in December, we will be sharing tips, recipes and ideas on how to nourish ourselves this winter and mindfully and positively enjoy holiday eating.
We are lucky enough to be able to enjoy great foods and flavourful ingredients – even through the chilly winter season.
Recipes and tips for using in-season produce:
- Check out EatingWell’s five healthy foods you can enjoy this winter.
- To find local foods grown in December, check out FarmFolk CityFolk’s seasonal food chart.
- Try Ina Garten’s simple roasted vegetable recipe. If you want, sprinkle some goat cheese on your finished dish.
- Buy what might be an odd-looking squash and inspire yourself to do something with it. “Ugly vegetables” are not just ornamental; you can actually eat them. Check out The Spruce’s website to see all the many winter squash and pumpkin varieties You’ll also find great recipes if you scroll all the way down the page.
If you’ve caught a cold or flu virus, it’s important to hydrate and get proper nutrition – even with a reduced appetite. Passing over food or skipping meals isn’t a recommended treatment for any illness. When you’re fighting infection, whether it be a cold or flu virus, you need extra calories to support a higher metabolic rate.
Here are some tips and recipes to help you combat the bug:
- Hydrate! Learn about WebMD’s best (and worst) drinks to have when battling a cold.
- Check out this classic chicken soup from EatingWell.
- Try making CookingLight’s flavourful quick chicken pho recipe.
- For when you have more energy to cook, consider Jamie Oliver’s collection of winter soup recipes.
Let’s reframe the way we view holiday eating: it’s not what you eat on a few special occasions; it’s about the healthy food choices you make between occasions. Therefore, if you are going to be miserable about not eating your grandma’s special cookie, eat the darn cookie and savour every bite!
- Read Psychology Today’s take on enjoying holiday eating. You might gain a few tips in the process.
This holiday season, leave the guilt aside and mindfully enjoy meals that not only nourish your body, but also feed your soul. It is perfectly okay to eat foods that are sweeter and richer (oilier or creamier).
If you choose to indulge a little, here are some tips on how to do it well and mindfully:
- Have a strategy to help with self-control. Check out Self’s 13 holiday healthy-eating tips from a registered dietitian.
- Check out Harvard Health’s blog post on 10 mindful eating tips.
Melissa Lafrance’s Tips of the Month & Favourite Potluck Recipes
When I have an upcoming event involving food, my strategy is to make healthy food choices on the day of so that I can have balance and fully enjoy occasional indulgences. If I arrive hungry, I can’t even focus on pre-dinner socializing because I’m so famished. So, I don’t skip meals and I eat a snack beforehand. If I’m bringing a prepared dish, I tend to focus on simple sides, salads or appetizers that include fresh fruits and veggies. I’m not saying this is the “right” way, but it works for me and maybe it will for you too!
Check out some of my favourite go-to recipes, including a classic one from my grandma:
- Spinach dip is a great go-to potluck dish. Try Cookspiration’s version with pumpernickel bread and a variety of veggies.
- Another winner is Smitten Kitchen’s broccoli slaw. (I usually omit the buttermilk and mayo, and use Vegenaise instead.)
- Check out Vegetarian Times’ rosemary whole-wheat stuffing with figs and hazelnuts. (I usually add finely chopped carrots and celery, a bit of allspice, and replace the port with extra broth.)
My Mémère’s (grandma’s) classic coleslaw recipe:
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ cup vinegar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- 1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1-2 celery stalks, chopped
- In a saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and celery seeds just to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
- Slice the cabbage, green onion and celery, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Carefully pour the hot liquid over the cabbage.
- Refrigerate until cooled and serve. The coleslaw is best when it has time to mellow. Enjoy!