Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for Special Holiday Dishes

Getting ready for Thanksgiving? I know I am. Today I was searching for my mother-in-law's fabulous fresh yam and green bean recipes, so I can begin to make some of "her" dishes. However, I am SO grateful that she is still here on earth to be on hand as I prepare them, because her quantities are usually measured by phrases such as "just enough", and "till it looks right", and "well, it depends!"

Isn't it amazing how dependent we've become on prepared mixes or at a minimum, google'd recipes? Truthfully, in the kitchen I tend to alter the vast majority of recipes that I use, even the first time. I substitute apple sauce for oil, or change up flours to make things gluten-free, or create some other "healthy" modification. When it comes to family traditions, though, I usually defer to the high-fat, full calorie version, which is FINE. Not EVERYTHING we eat needs to be pure nutrition! It's perfectly fine within the confines of healthy living to splurge on treats now and then. The trick is to remember that every day or week should not be "that" special occasion!

I have learned from my patients (by doing 24 hour dietary recalls) that what people believe is an unusual day is often a frequent occurrence. Do you grab fast food before every soccer practice or music lesson? Well, I'm guessing that is EVERY Tuesday (or whatever day or dayS your kids have that activity.) Look at your schedule now, and recognize those days that present a challenge every week, and then PLAN AHEAD. Sandwiches, slow cooked meals, and even "breakfast for dinner" might be healthier choices.

BOTTOM LINE: Enjoy your traditional holiday treats this season, but recognize patterns of unhealthy choices in your everyday schedule and make pro-active changes to improve your health!

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