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 April 5, 2016
This month’s healthy recipes include exciting spring food options to satisfy your appetite!
Spring has sprung and our latest recipes will help you make the most of what this season has to offer.
- Roasted Spring Vegetables with Arugula Pesto
- Garden Veggie Buddha Bowl with Lentils & Tahini Dressing
- Baked Eggs with Lentils, Peppers & Tomatoes
- Butternut Squash Mash
For more of tasty treats, visit our Healthy UBC Recipe Series page. Bon appétit!
To keep informed of all new recipes and additional weekly health and wellbeing offerings, become a UBC Health Contact.
Stephanie Dang is a fourth-year dietetics student at the University of British Columbia. When she is not busy studying, Stephanie volunteers at the eating disorder clinic at Children’s Hospital, works at a local bar, and plays soccer. Stephanie believes that living “healthy” means enjoying everything in moderation, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
By Colin Hearne on December 4, 2014
This month we have a special holiday season edition of The Healthy Path from Stephanie Dang, fourth year dietetics student at the University of British Columbia and contributor to the Healthy UBC Recipe Series . Read on to see how Stephanie’s Surviving the Holidays tips can help you avoid the trap of excess holiday indulgence, while also picking up some information on valuable resources available to support you at UBC.
Surviving the Holidays!
The Holidays are fast approaching, which means the days of endless treats, dinner parties, and drinking are also fast approaching. Worried about overindulging during the holidays? Read these tips to try to keep on track with your health goals this year.
Healthy Eating Strategies
- Don’t skip meals before a party – this will make it easier to control your appetite
- Fill your plate with veggies, fruit, lean meat, and seafood
- Make your calories count! Remember, half the portion is half the calories and fat
- Before going for seconds, try to wait at least 15 minutes to see if you are still hungry
- Bring some gum for you to chew on after you have eaten dinner. This will help prevent you from over-snacking the rest of the night
- If you do indulge, make sure it is a food you truly enjoy
- Just say No! Practice polite, but firm ways to say “no thank you” to unnecessary, high calorie foods
- Focus on family and friends instead of food
- Bring your own healthy dish to dinner parties to you can be sure there will be something for you to nibble on
- The occasional indulgence is good for the soul, as long as you keep in mind your bigger health goals this season
- Half a glass of low-fat eggnog and half a glass of skim milk instead of a full glass of eggnog
- Alternate each alcoholic beverage or pop with a glass of water or sparkling water
- Try fresh fruit drizzled with melted chocolate instead of pie or cake
- When eating pie or tarts, avoid eating the crust to save calories
- Make a wine spritzer using soda water instead of having a full glass of wine
- Shrimp and cocktail sauce or sushi rolls instead of sausage rolls
Healthy Eating @UBC
If you are interested in improving your nutrition, the following resources and services available to UBC staff and faculty through Homewood Health, UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provider:
- Nutrition Resource Kit: The kit contains useful information on making healthy food choices, as well as delicious healthy recipes for you and your family to try. Nutritional Counseling, 30-Day Nutrition Challenge and 12 Weeks to Wellness Program are services delivered over the telephone. Call Homewood Health at 1-800-663-1142 to sign up.
- Nutritional Counseling: a registered dietician will conduct an assessment of your dietary needs and work with you to develop personalized food plans, provide nutritional information and ‘how-to’ advice and coaching.
- 12 Weeks to Wellness: a self-directed program that offers a comprehensive approach to behaviour change. You will have access to life coaching, nutritional counselling, and health risk assessment over a 12-week period
Stephanie Dang is a fourth year dietetics student at the University of British Columbia. When she is not busy studying, Stephanie volunteers at the eating disorder clinic at Children’s Hospital, works at a local bar, and plays soccer. Stephanie believes that living “healthy” means enjoying everything in moderation, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Staying physically active and satisfying your body’s nutritional needs shouldn’t be considered a burden, and if it is, seeing a dietitian is a great way to get advice on how to enjoy healthy living!