Survival Tips for Yuletide Eating

Living in Balance
By Jenipher Appleton

We are all too familiar with holiday feasting and what it can do to our waistlines (let alone our cholesterol levels). After the holiday season we begin to see the ads for fitness and weight loss programs: “Lose 20 pounds for 20 bucks” – or something like that. Many of us make stringent New Year’s resolutions only to break them before January is out. However, there are some ways to survive the party food season without putting on an extra five or ten pounds.

Pace Yourself
It is well known in nutrition circles that the more slowly one eats, the less food you will consume. This applies to everyday meal consumption, but even more so when at a social gathering. It is so easy to eat quickly, gulping delicious morsels while talking to friends, co-workers, or other acquaintances. The best approach is to slow everything down; inhale deeply, be calm, and savour every bite (which should be small). Chew slowly and you’ll be surprised at how much better the food tastes.

When faced with platter upon platter of tempting, fattening foods, or catering staff in your face with the next hot hors d’oeuvre, stop and think about what pleases your palate most. Don’t have some of everything; instead, choose the things you love. For me it would have to be the mushroom tart, the barbecued shrimp skewer, or the garlic bruschetta. It is all about priorities. Don’t just eat something because it is in front of you. Make sure it is so appealing to you that it is worth the fat and calories. Again…eat oh so slowly.

The 80/20 Rule
This is a rule I learned in a nutrition class at Fanshawe College. Eighty per cent of the time you should eat a really healthy, balanced diet with lots of good fats (not trans or saturated) and whole grains. Twenty per cent of the time you can treat yourself to the less healthy foods with minimal nutritional value or ‘empty calories’. I actually prefer changing it to the 90/10 rule but have been known to bend it during the party season.

So, good luck this Christmas. Enjoy the festivities but don’t overdo it. Go for lots of walks outside. You’ll be thankful on January 1st you do!

Orange Gingerbread
The following is a recipe for a relatively nutritious Christmas treat.
Recipe by Jenipher Appleton

1/3 cup – canola oil
1 cup – dark molasses
1 1/4 cup – orange juice
1 tbsp – grated orange peel
2 1/2 cups – whole wheat flour
1 tsp – baking soda
1 tsp – ground cinnamon
2 tsp – ground ginger
1/2 tsp – salt
1/2 cup – raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl. Add raisins. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Pour into a greased 9” x 13” pan and bake 40 minutes. Be sure not to over bake. Gingerbread will be moist.