Healthy Holidays:Feel better with smart food choices
(NC) - Many of us say it's quite a challenge to stick to healthy lifestyle choices during the holidays, especially when open-ended social demands and expectations add up to one of the most stressful times of the year.
You can, however, keep control. In fact, all you've ever learned about the basics of healthy living should be applied right now, say Canadian food and health specialists. To keep the mounting stress in check, it's most important to get your sleep, get your aerobic exercise, don't overbook your calendar - and of equal importance, be smart about what you eat.
"Nutrition can suffer significantly over the holidays," says Dana McCauley, author of Dana's Top Ten Table, and this year's spokesperson for Minute Rice. "Too many events where too many high-fat, high-calorie treats are consumed can lead to not only unwanted weight gain, but it may also leave you zapped for energy and in some cases feeling blue. It's worth remembering, however, that our bodies need the nutrients from healthful foods to maintain peak physical and mental well being. So don't deprive yourself at parties, just be selective."
Here's a little guideline to help with that from Dana's kitchen:
Pace yourself. Scout the party buffet for the healthiest food choices and limit your frequency of fried foods and sweets. If you do indulge, take a small amount. Use an appetizer plate to keep portions small. Or, on a dinner plate use at least three quarters of it for healthy items like veggies, fruit, and dairy, plus whole grain breads, pasta, and rice. To prevent nibbling, chew gum or suck on a sugarless breath mint. Ask for sparkling water with a twist, to limit higher calorie drinks.
Smart shop. Curtail the number of seasonal treats you bring home. Think of fruit, vegetables, salads, dairy products and lean proteins, like poultry and fish when you shop. Eat at home when possible to control the quality of the ingredients. Meals don't have to be complicated to be healthy. For example, wholegrain brown rice is now instant too and made effortless by Minute Rice. This new variety is reliably perfect in just a fraction of the time it takes to cook conventional whole grain rice and the nutritional value - which includes B vitamins, minerals, essential fats and fibre - is endorsed by the Health Check logo seen prominently on the new Minute Rice packaging.
Healthy food preparation. Think green. Try to include a deep green vegetable at every meal. In addition to the healthy cabbage family, beans are a nutrient powerhouse. String beans, for example, are a good source of vitamins K,C and A and can be served by lightly tossing with olive oil and lemon. Cook cranberries from scratch and replace some of the sugar with pureed orange. High-fibre, potassium-rich pumpkin and sweet potatoes are a delicious match for poultry. Prepare dips with fat-free sour cream or yogurt - and to prove that healthier choice sweet-treats are never boring, serve chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert.
Fun and activity. Strap on the skates, hit the slopes, ski cross country, and walk in a winter wonderland.
2 cups uncooked Minute Rice Instant White Rice(500 mL)
3/4 lb frozen, cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp (375 g)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (15 mL)
1 cup sugar snap peas (250 mL)
1 small red pepper, sliced
1/4 cup lite or sodium- reduced soy sauce(60 mL)
3 tbsp thawed, frozen orange juice concentrate (45 mL)
1 tbsp honey (15 mL)
1 tsp minced ginger (5 mL)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can mandarin orange segments, drained (10 oz/284 mL)
1/2 cup chopped green onion (125 mL)
Prepare Minute Rice according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and reserve. Run cool running water over the shrimp until thawed; drain well.
Heat the oil in a nonstick wok set over medium-high heat. Add the snap peas and red pepper. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, honey, ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until sauce has slightly thickened.
Stir the cooked rice, shrimp, orange segments and green onion into the sauce. Cook, tossing, until rice and shrimp are heated through and coated in sauce.
Use up leftovers: stir 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) sliced, cooked chicken, steak or pork into the stir-fry instead of the cooked shrimp.