Childhood Obesity: Healthy Holidays Tips and Recipes

Childhood Obesity: Healthy Holiday Tips and Recipes

WOW I cannot believe that Thanksgiving and The Winter Holidays have begun. And as anyone knows many of us tend to over eat sweets treats and purely delicious but fattening delights throughout the Holiday season.

And Why shouldn’t we indulge a little bit enjoying the scrumptious edible gifts from family and friends! I mean it is common during the Holiday Season for grandparents’ parents’ aunts uncles friends, and associates to prepare with finesse their finest meals treats and sweets only to share them with others. The Holidays are afterall a time to share to show you care. But does it have to be so darn fattening? No it does not!

Therefore to avoid some of the excess weight during this year next year and for a lifetime to come, especially if Obesity runs in your family or if you have a child who is overweight here are a few tips to help you develop a Healthier Holiday than those in the past!

The Healthful Ingredients

>Do not purchase Low Fat or Non Fat products as they commonly contain more sugar and salt than their whole varieties!

>Use Whole Yogurt instead of sour cream in sour cream based cakes cookies muffins and brownies.

>Know that when you make your own Dips and Salad Dressings that Whole Yogurt can be used to replacedalmost all of that sour cream or at least ½ of it. Yes you can use half whole yogurt and half whole sour cream.

>When a recipes requires OIL, do not use corn canola vegetable or soy oil Unless Organically Labeled—use safflower sunflower or olive oil instead! The other oils are not just more fattening but also contaminated with too much pesticides for health! This is especially so if someone in your family has a heart condition.

> If diabetes is in your family—you can always bake and cook with Xylitol instead of sugar. And If a recipe requires brown sugar, add 2-3 tablespoons of black strap molasses to each ½ cup of Xylitol required mix it in and allow it to dry and then break it up with your fingers or a fork. (if you can afford stevia then use that.)

>Use fresh fruits and veggies as much as you can over non organic canned.  Canned fruits and veggies are loaded with salts and/or sugars!

>If Gluten Free there are various All Purpose GF flours for you to easily use—and yes measurements are the same!

The Healthful Way to Eat Through the Holidays

>When going to a party or another’s home for the holidays do not be a glutton and pile your plate up too high. Tiny 2-3 tablespoon servings of each dish are more than enough to taste and satisfy. And if you or your kids like one dish more than the other, then have them take a little taste for respect and then serve them their favorite one—using the palm of their hand serving size to determine how much they get.

> Serve  or have a glass of water/milk and a small leafy green salad before the main course! And remember 2 tablespoons of Salad Dressing is enough more is to much.

> Do Not bring all the food to be served to the table. The turkey is great as a center piece but the rest can be dished out from the pans on the counter! Plus such makes for more room for dishes glasses and the occasional elbow!

>Remember that serving sizes resemble the size of an individual’s palm of the hand. And when family members want seconds—remind them of the desert and to save room for such!

>A big one: If you have served breads during a large Holiday Breakfast and if sweet bread is available to snack on THEN THERE IS NO REASON TO SERVE BREAD AT DINNER! Keep in mind that too much can pack on the excess pounds. Plus that turkey or ham can soak up the rest of those potatoes and gravy.

> TO prepare a healthier turkey—-instead of using all those breaded dried out cubes to stuff your turkey with why not just stiff it with a few apples celery and onions mixed with the spices you use on the turkey. Rather than use those salty canned broths to baste your turkey with, how about using 100% apple juice or cider instead.  The flavor is magnificent!

> Remember that fruits and veggies do not just have to be side dishes they can add a succulent marvelous flavor to various dishes as well as desserts! And adding some chopped nuts to various treats and dishes adds a bit of health plus flavor to it!

(Think of mashed sweet potatoes with chopped pecans or a rice pudding topped with roasted sliced almonds—YUM!)

> The more difficult healthful challenge is limiting the amount of treats and sweets you and your family consumes over the holidays. First limit the amount they can have daily; such as 2-3 cookies per day not 5-8. If cake and/or pie is available then they must make a choice—cake or cookies. Both are not Ok when your child is overweight! And Please don’t even purchase Ice Cream to go with it and if you must then purchase Frozen Yogurt to pair with that apple pie. Also WHIPPED CREAM, especially those in the tubs is not a healthful choice! Sure it tastes good but is not necessary; especially when obesity is in your family. Simply do not waste your money on it by not buying it. It is not necessary to enhance the flavor of a dessert!

Enough words of wisdom; here are a few recipes to help you make this holiday season a happy flavorful and healthy one.

Healthful Treats That Take Minimal Time!

 Favorite Quick Apple Cranberry Crisp:

 Preheat oven to 350? Fahrenheit  Serves 6

5 cups peeled cored and thinly sliced Gala Apples

2 cups Cranberries (fresh)

1-2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

2 teaspoons white sugar

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Tablespoon Butter                                            


3 Tablespoons Flour

3 tablespoons Oats

3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed firmly or brown sugar substitute

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)

1 Tablespoon of butter

 1. Thoroughly grease a 9×9-inch pan with pan spray, butter or margarine.

2.  Mix the sliced apple cranberries lemon juice and sugar together in the greased pan. Dot the top with 1 Tablespoon of butter.

4. Mix the dry ingredients cinnamon nutmeg if using and the Butter together until crumbly.

5. Sprinkle the oat mixture all over the top of the fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crumbs begin to brown and the juices are bubbly. Serve hot or cold.


Serving size: 3-4 per person, depending on age

 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1-2 teaspoons butter

½ cup dark or golden raisins or a variety of chopped dried fruits (personal favorites are chopped pineapple and dried cherries work great)
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

2 cups chow mein noodles (amount can be adjusted per personal preference)

2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

1. Using a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and butter for about a minute in the microwave. Remove the bowl and then stir the chocolate chips until thoroughly melted and smooth. Depending on the strength of your microwave oven, the chips may need a few more seconds in the microwave to melt completely.

2. Mix the remaining choice of ingredients into the melted chocolate until all ingredients are thoroughly coated.

3. Using a medium-sized spoon, drop individual mounds of the mixture onto a piece of waxed paper.

4. Refrigerate the candies for about an hour or until firm.

5. Store leftovers in a cool spot or in the refrigerator in a lined can with a lid, a plastic container with a light fitting lid or wrapped in plastic wrap.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels and/or Fruits

 Simply dip fresh or dried fruit, or Pretzel sticks into 1 cup of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed with 1 teaspoon of butter and then set to cool on a piece of waxed paper until firm.. You may want to use toothpicks to dip small berries or cherry halves into the chocolate with; and for strawberries, simply hold a few of the leaves gently with your fingers and dip. It is best to store chocolate covered fruit in the refrigerator, until about 10-15 minutes prior to serving to prevent melting and messy fingers! And You can always sprinkle some Christmas toned sprinkles onto the top for the Holiday Appeal.

TIP:  For a richer flavor add a 1 ounce square of Unsweetened Chocolate to the chocolate chips before melting it with the butter!

HINT: These als make great gifts when placed in a waxed paper lined can with a tight fitting lid!



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