Eat This, Not That This Holiday Season

As you head out to your annual holiday parties, don’t be worried about how you’ll avoid the tables laden with sugary sweets, processed carbs and drinks galore. We’ve got a practical list of eat this … not that, for the holiday season. Some things may surprise you!

Pickle meat roll up vs cocktail weiners.
This won’t be too much of a hardship, because pickle meat roll ups are delicious! Plus, they are a perfectly balanced snack wrapped up in one. You’ve got your protein in the form of deli meat, fat in the form of the cream cheese and carb in the form of a pickle. This perfect combo will allow you to snack throughout the party and know you’re doing your blood sugar (and subsequently your mood, waistline and control over cravings) a huge favor. On the flipside, the all too common cocktail wieners are loaded with processed meat and then doused in sugary sauce, which will only serve to produce cravings for more sugar, more carbs and more processed food.

Full-fat eggnog vs. sugar-free and/or fat-free.
Classic, full-fat nog is a healthier choice because it contains good fat from cream that helps to stabilize blood sugar and gives the body a sense of fullness. The fat-free, sugar-free eggnog is full of chemicals and additives designed to taste like real nog without the calories. Low-fat nog sacrifices nutrition for calories making you believe it is a healthier version.
Olives and nuts vs. chips and dip. Did you know that just as if you grabbed a handful of cookies, a handful of chips also turns into sugar in your body? Believe it or not, just four chips turn into a teaspoon of sugar in your body. A teaspoon! Not to mention, who has just four chips once they start mindlessly snacking, as so often happens. On top of the sugar, chips are fried in bad fats that cause our brains to not work well and result in inflammation throughout the body that make a holiday party better.

A better alternative is a diverse mix of olives and a homemade batch of our Crispy Nuts. They are guaranteed to be a crowd favorite and you can deck out the nuts in whatever sweet or savory spices you think sounds good. Plus you’ll know you have a healthy fat to choose from, as both olives and nuts are a great source of fat, which helps keeps you satisfied and less likely to keep mindlessly eating.

Butter vs. margarine. While indulging in baking should be done in moderation (one or two of Grandma’s famous cookies would be fine, but not a couple cookies at every party you attend!) or not at all, we’d highly recommend choosing a baked good made with real butter versus processed margarine.
Real butter is a rich source of vitamin A and trace minerals, such as selenium and conjugated linoleic acid, which support immune function we all need during the holidays. Many times, margarine contains trans fats in the form of hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils that lower our immune function and create inflammation in our bodies. Plus, can we all agree butter just tastes better?!

Dark chocolate vs. holiday cookies. We suggest dark chocolate with 70-85 % cocoa. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. This holiday favorite is also loaded with antioxidants that help with anti-aging. Finally, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels that contribute to weight gain and overeating at the party … which cookies absolutely do. Additionally, holiday cookies are absolutely loaded with sugar, harmful fats and chemical food dyes.

Be empowered to make better choices this holiday and trust us, that as soon as you do, each healthy choice becomes easier and easier. Plus, when you bring a healthy food option you’ll know there is something healthy to choose from. And, though they might not be chatting about it, you are definitely not the only one trying to getting through the holidays without extra pounds and a sugar hangover!

By Jackie Cartier for Nutritional Weight and Wellness. https://www.weightandwellness.com/resources/articles-and-videos/eat-not-holiday-season/

CRISPY NUTS

Adapted from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D.

Makes 4 cups

4 cups of any of the following types of nuts:
Walnut halves and pieces, preferably fresh shelled
Raw peanuts, preferably skinless
Pine nuts
Almonds, preferably skinless but almonds with skins will work
Raw macadamia nuts
2 tsp. salt
Filtered water

Directions:
Mix nuts with salt and water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.
Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp.

Store in the refrigerator, as the fats in nuts can go rancid quickly.