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 March 2, 2017
It’s March and we are celebrating nutrition month! Let’s get cooking and focus on improving our nutritional health by focusing on small changes each week. Explore healthy fats, ways to retain nutrients in vegetables, how to use sweet foods instead of sugars, and low-sodium recipes.
We need fats in our diets. To ensure we get more unsaturated fats, let’s try these recipes!
- Honey Grilled Salmon & Asparagus
- Fast Fish & Fresh Herb Veggie Packets
- Easy Homemade Vinaigrette
- Roasted Beet Hummus
Let’s explore recipes to maximize nutrient retention in vegetables.
- Stir-fried Vegetables
- Ways to Make Steamed Vegetables Taste Amazing
- Guide to Avoid Overcooking Vegetables
There are many sweet substitutes to refined white sugar. Or better yet, tasty foods and recipes with no added sugar.
Here are recipes using no sugar or naturally sweet food items:
Many Canadians consume too much sodium as a result of eating foods with high levels of sodium. Lowering sodium intake is easy, you just have to be aware of what is in your food.
Here low-sodium recipes and tips:
- Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
- Lentil & Soybean Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
- Learn Ways to Consume Less Sodium
Each week in March, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information for improving nutrition. Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
By Colin Hearne on December 4, 2014
UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team has a great line up of FREE activities and events coming up in the New Year. Sign up today for topics including The Toxin Myth, Nutrition vs. Nourishment, Ergo your Office: Getting smart with your Workspace, Office Ergo rep training, and more!
Part 1 of our ‘Debunking the Diet Series’ with Dr. Thara Vayali – The terms “toxin” and “detox” are commonly used in natural health and wellness lingo. Find out what it all really means and understand your body’s actual detoxification mechanisms. Learn what to look for in a safe “detox” plan and leave with three valid and useful diet and lifestyle changes that help you step into a cleaner, clearer new year. For more information, or to register, click here.
Join UBC Ergonomics Advisor Abigail Overduin in this 1hr tutorial combining a presentation and a practical session giving you the skills to optimize your office environment to improve comfort and reduce the risk of injury. For more information, or to register click here.
UBC Ergonomics strives to have an Office Ergonomics Representative for each department. We provide the training (one three-hour session) and material required for reps to promote, educate and ensure musculoskeletal health for employees in their departments. Office Ergo Reps are trained by the UBC Ergonomics Coordinator in simple computer workstation set-up, how to notice signs and symptoms of injuries from poor ergonomic set-up, and to control strategies to reduce or prevent symptoms. For more information , or to register click here.
Part 2 of our ‘Debunking the Diet Series’ with Dr. Thara Vayali – Every diet since the industrial age has villainized or glorified one nutrient over another. Join a discussion on diet trends through time and what elements of these diets do and do not work. Develop an understanding of the macronutrient balance required for a healthy body, so that you can better evaluate new diets. Leave with three dietary shifts you can make to find balance. For more information, or to register, click here.
Part 3 of our ‘Debunking the Diet Series’ with Dr. Thara Vayali – Superfoods are everywhere. Eat this, for that. How much? How long? For what end? Find out the components of nourishment, and learn the merits of 10 superfoods. Leave with three tools that help you shift from calories/nutrient counting into feeling nourished and making the most out of your food choices. For more information, or to register, click here.
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