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!
By Melissa Lafrance on December 2, 2015
As the busyness of the holiday season begins to ramp up with to-do lists and social commitments both at work and at home, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Remember, the holidays are a time to be jolly and spend time with loved ones. The following four articles by Shepell, UBC’s EFAP provider, can help support you to maintain your wellbeing during the holiday season.
- Rediscover the joy of the holidays with Make it Meaningful: Reconnecting to the Spirit of the Holiday Season.
- Become a smart shopper and creative gift giver with Tips for Savvy Holiday-season Spending.
- Warm-Weather Activities to Bring Your Family Together
- Time Out: Making the Most of the Holidays
UBC’s EFAP provides confidential counselling and work-life consultations to eligible UBC faculty, staff and their dependents. EFAP counseling services can be accessed by calling the Shepell Care Access Centre, 24/7, at 1-800-387-4765.
Counselling services include but are not limited to issues related to:
- Personal/emotional (stress, anxiety, depression);
- Couple/relationship (communication, separation/divorce);
- Family (parenting, elder care);
- Work (workplace violence/harassment and conflicts); and
UBC staff, faculty and dependants have many ways to get help today – all completely confidential. Review the services available here and use the icons under Get in Touch to book your service anytime, anywhere. For more information on UBC’s EFAP provider Shepell click here.
If you have questions about the UBC EFAP or Shepell, contact Melissa Lafrance, UBC Health and Wellbeing Associate, at 604-827-3047 or email@example.com.
Extended Health Benefit Plan
Don’t forget to get the most of your UBC benefits this December by reviewing your Extended Health Benefit Plan.
The plan is designed to help promote the continued health and wellbeing of UBC staff and faculty. Benefits include coverage for a wide range of services that are beyond the scope of coverage of BC’s Medical Service Plan.
Need Help with Benefits?
If you have questions about your UBC Extended Health benefits or need help filing your claim, contact UBC Benefits.