Slowing down during the holidays may sound about as hard as finding the perfect present in minutes, but it can be done. In fact, it should be a priority. After all, the essence of this joyous season isn’t to crank up the stress, but rather to connect with family and friends, capture the moments of your growing children, and maybe enjoy a cookie or two. Yes, even your dietitian understands the gravitational pull of Christmas cookies and other seasonal sweets. While I may not be able to lure you away from all your traditional treats, I can with that daily Advent calendar chocolate that counts you down to Christmas. Even better, with just a bit of thought, I can help you create those mindful moments and offer alternatives to chocolate-filled Advent calendars.
I appreciate opportunities to write about Thanksgiving in the weeks leading up to the food-filled holiday for a few reasons. For one, I love food and adore anytime we can gather with friends and family to celebrate delicious dishes. Another reason I love writing about Thanksgiving is that it’s celebrated by so many of us and, except for small shifts in the menu, we essentially all do it the same way. Naturally, a fantastic feast doesn’t just appear on the table without thought, menu planning, and strategically timed visits to the supermarket. To help you prepare I’ve put together five planning tips and of course a few recipes too.
We recently attended the 2019 annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Known as FNCE, this year’s conference was held in Philly and once again included an extensive expo floor, complete with many food industry companies. There continues to be a trend toward plant-based products, lower-sugar foods, and products made with fewer ingredients to provide consumers with the simplicity their looking for in their foods. As always, we enjoyed trying new foods and having fun on the expo floor.
If you host a large Thanksgiving, as I do, then the beginning of November marks the beginning of planning and locating recipes ready to make your menu shine. I annually host a Thanksgiving for about 35 people. (Yes, you read that correctly.) With plenty of planning (and furniture moving) we seem to pull off a delightful day. There are some smart shopping strategies that are the key to making it work. I’m happy to share the process with you.
A simple seasonal meal of a hearty stew or soup only needs a salad and a crusty bread to be complete. Of course, when the meal must also be gluten free, it’s easy to cover the soup, stew, or salad, but finding the perfect bready compliment can be challenging. I’m happy to report that today’s supermarket has options ready to go and that there are also simple recipes that are perfectly poised to match your meal.
There is nothing like returning home after a long day to a slow-cooked meal that’s ready to savor or waking up to a warm, ready-to-eat breakfast. Ahh yes, your BFF, the slow cooker…doing the work for you while you’re usually doing, well, other work. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that all that ready-to-go awesomeness that your slow cooker provides is also nutritious. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid that ensure it is.
I’ve written about snacking a few times including how to snack when you travel and fun snacks that engage kids. It’s easy for me to write about snacks because I love them for sustaining energy and maintaining metabolism. That said, I don’t recommend grazing, which denotes images of grabbing food throughout the day without a plan or consideration of the timing. Snacking, in my view, is deliberate, purposeful, and planned eating that can be built into our day to ensure we meet our daily needs. Since I recommend that snacks be planned just like meals, I also suggest getting the family involved in prepping snacks for the week. With a bit of effort, you’ll have balanced options ready for your family when you need them.
Living in a home where our weekday evening “schedule scramble” means simple meals eaten on the fly and often not together, my family has grown to love a weekend morning meal or long lunch that lets us spend some time together. We’ve turned weekend breakfast and lunch into family time, which gives us all a moment to slow down…together.