Top 5 Healthy Holiday Foods

Cranberries- These tart little berries are packed full of vitamin C and anthocyanins, both potent antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage, slowing the progression of aging and reducing inflammation.  The polyphenols and flavonoids in cranberries may also help prevent cancer and heart disease.  Cranberries are also known to for their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.

In addition to cranberry sauce, add some cranberries to a festive loaf, healthy muffin or hot oatmeal this holiday season.

Butternut Squash is a delicious low calorie orange vegetable.  1 cup contains only 60 calories, has a whopping 5 grams of fibre and is a great source of vitamin C and Beta carotene.  The health benefits are endless, from improving regularity, protecting against cancer and heart disease, inflammation, and cataracts.

Consider starting a healthy holiday meal with a bowl of butternut squash soup.  Research shows that people who eat vegetable soup before their meal eat less food at the meal. 

Turkey Breast without the skin is a high quality lean protein food.  Including more protein in your meal can help stabilize blood sugars and keep you full longer.  4oz of cooked turkey contains only 120 calories and 20 grams of protein whereas 4oz of ground beef contains 400 calories! 

Don’t limit turkey to the holidays.  Roast a turkey breast for dinner and slice up leftovers for sandwiches mid-week.  Add sliced turkey breast to a salad with dried cranberries and orange sections or use turkey in your next stir fry instead of chicken.

Mandarin Oranges are a convenient portable snack for holiday shopping.  Keep one handy for fuel in those long line-ups or to enjoy while on the slopes.  Mandarins contain vitamin C which is essential in wound healing, bone health, iron absorption and immune function.

Bake orange wedges with cloves, allspice and chicken breasts, add oranges to a salad with fresh mint or squeeze the juices into a low calorie salad dressing.

Nuts are not only a great source of satisfying protein, but they also contain polyunsaturated fats.  Reducing saturated fats from animals and replacing them with polyunsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, vegetables oils and fish can help improve your cholesterol levels.  Walnuts, flax and pumpkin seeds are particularly high in omega 3 fats, known to help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, not to mention depression, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.

Include 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds in a breakfast smoothie, chop some nuts for added nutrients in your stuffing or sprinkle walnuts on your morning cereal.

The 12 Days of Christmas…

On the first day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Christmas is only one day.  (Not the whole month.)

On the second day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

If you keep up your workout routine throughout the holidays, you won’t have as much hard work come the New Year.  If you do plan to indulge a bit you can always add another 15 minutes of cardio to your workout to help off-set the extra calories.

On the third day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Don’t skip meals before a party, because you’ll end up eating way more later.

On the fourth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Eat Breakfast daily and make it a nutritious one, not Christmas baking.

On the fifth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Plan Aaaaahead!  Avoid the grab and go.  With your busy schedule if you don’t plan meals you will end up eating out and consuming more calories.

On the sixth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Alcohol has calories too.  If you choose to have a cocktail mix it with a low calorie mix or stick to wine or a light beer.  Mix your eggnog with skim milk and consider alternating your alcohol with water to reduce consumption and stay hydrated.  1 bottle of wine can pack 700 calories.

On the seventh day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

If you host a party serve some healthy options too.  Try a tray of tropical fruit, veggies and a yogurt dip, seafood layered dip or a devilled egg filled with hummus instead of egg yolk.

On the eighth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Don’t stand by the food table.  You risk filling your mouth every time there is a lull in conversation.  Set yourself up for success.

On the ninth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Serve turkey instead of ham and don’t eat the skin.

On the tenth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Eat your veggies!  Filling up on salad, raw vegetables and vegetable sides means you will consume fewer calories and still feel satisfied.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Watch your portions!  You don’t need to try everything from the buffet table, select your favorites and eat from a plate so you can keep track of how much you are eating.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my dietitian said to me…

Stop eating when you’re full not stuffed!  This is not the last meal of your life and chances are you will eat again in 3 hours.  Serve yourself less in the first place. You can always go back for more.

If you are trying to stay on track over the holidays, remember this is much more than just the food.  Fill up on family and festivities and make food your side dish.

Merry Christmas

From your dietitian, Diana Steele

Healthy Appies:

Seafood 3 layer dip

Cream Cheese Layer

1pk (8 oz) light cream cheese

1/2c Greek fat free yogurt

2 tsp chopped jalepeno pepper

1/4c diced red bell pepper

Avocado layer

2 ripe avocados

1/4c diced purple onion

2 tsp lime juice

3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Seafood layer

1 cup fresh cooked shrimp meat coarsely chopped

1 cup fresh cooked crabmeat


3 green onions minced


  1. Blend yogurt and cream cheese, add peppers.  
  2. Spread mixture into shallow serving dish (8-10” wide)
  3. Mash avocado with lime juice, stir in onion and cilantro.
  4. Spread avocado layer over cream cheese layer.
  5. Gently combine shrimp and crab and spoon over avocado layer
  6. Sprinkle with green onion and refrigerate until ready to serve. (2 hours)

Devil-less Eggs


12 eggs

1 tin chickpeas

2 Tbsp light mayo

1 tbsp white vinegar

2 Tbsp French’s mustard

1/4tsp cayenne pepper

3 Tbsp scallions minced

¼ tsp paprika

Few sprigs parsley (garnish)

Salt to taste (optional)


  1. Hard boil 12 eggs.  Let them cool in a cold water bath.  
  2. In a small food processor blend together chickpeas and other ingredients until smooth.
  3. Peel eggs and slice in halve from top to bottom.  Remove yolk.
  4. Fill egg white halves with chickpea mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.

New Year’s Resolutions Made Easy

Rather than saying you are going to lose weight, yet another year in a row, why not set some goals that are based on actions.  This year, take inventory of your bad habits and decide which one of them has to go.  What will you replace it with?  What specifically can you do to consume fewer calories and burn more?  In the end that’s what really counts.

  1. Do you eat breakfast?  If not, figure out why.  No time? Who said breakfast had to be sit down.  Make a smoothie to go or whole grain toast and peanut butter.  Don’t like breakfast foods? Have a slice of leftover pizza.  Not hungry?  Ask yourself what you ate before bed.  By cutting back on late night snacking you may find you are hungry in the morning.  Research shows that eating a small breakfast helps promote weight loss.
  2. Do you snack all day?  Having snacks between your meals is important for maintaining blood sugars, energy and metabolism.  But grazing all day on the trail mix in your desk drawer can lead to excessive calorie intake.  Plan your snacks, space them out from your meals and eat mindfully.  Try apple slices with peanut butter, wasa crackers with hummus, cucumber slices and tatziki or just 12 almonds and a few dried apricots.
  3. Are your portions too big?  Sometimes we are just plain hungry but filling up on higher calorie items like pasta and burgers will make it hard to see any change in the scale.  Include lots of low calorie, high nutrient foods like cantaloupe, Swiss chard and kale, cucumbers and grilled peppers and zucchini.  To fill the gap and maintain your calorie deficit replace high fat sauces with salsa and yogurt based dressings.  Include lean protein like chicken, egg white or tuna to abate hunger and tide you over until your next meal or snack.
  4. Do you love your sweets?  Try keeping it to 2 treats a week and make them tasty.  Practice the pleasure maximization principle and enjoy every mouthful.  Remember this is not all or none.  By including some of your favorite foods you won’t feel deprived and you will be able to make this a long term commitment.  Set some limits.  If you know you will eat chocolate if it is in the house, don’t keep it in the house.
  5. Do your workouts need a turbo boost?  Walking is a great way to reduce stress and improve cardiovascular health, but it isn’t a huge calorie burn unless you have a few hours or you are doing hills.  Doing higher intensity workouts can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.  A recent study showed that men who did 45 minutes of intense cardiovascular activity such as spinning on a stationary bike (at a level that is too hard to talk)burned 190 calories more that day (in addition to the 520 calories they burned in the workout) than they did on the days they didn’t workout.  In addition to your cardio program, add in a few strength workouts to help build muscle which in turn will raise your metabolism.

Let’s Make this The Year of Action!

Top 5 Healthy Holiday Foods Top 5 Healthy Holiday Foods Top 5 Healthy Holiday Foods Top 5 Healthy Holiday Foods