5 host/hostess gift ideas to avoid holiday weight-gain

xmas picture

December is here, which means it’s time for family, friends, and holiday parties. With that comes host/hostest gifts. Candy, chocolate, cookies, desserts and alcohol are great, especially when they are served at the party; but, the host may end up with extra caloires hanging around the house once the party ends. Here are a few other gift ideas that may help prevent your friends from packing on the holiday pounds.

stocking
1) DIY gifts: homemade holiday-themed gifts, like a decorative stocking, a christmas tree skirt, placemats, or decorative pillows are great. Not a fan of sewing or making projects, contact me for information about purchasing my homemade items!

holiday plate
2) serving platter or decorative dish: if you are brining an appetizer or part of the meal, put it on a dish that you will gift to the host.

Bird salt and pepper shakerelephant salt and pepper shaker

 

Santa salt and pepper shakerWedding salt and pepper shaker
3) Salt and pepper shakers: there are so many adorable options, including holiday themed, animals, or even sports teams. Shop online, or one of my favorite spots for unique kitchen gadgets is Anthropologie. You can also find things like this at HomeGoods or Marshalls.

Xmas wine stoppertool wine markers
4) Wine stopper or identification tags for wine glasses:just becuase you dont bring the alcohol doesn’t mean it won’t be there (or that you can’t enjoy it in moderation!). Like the salt and pepper shakers, there are great options for anyone you might be gifting to!

Flavored oil
5) flavored olive oil: Make your own flavored oil and put it in a decorrative container or you can purchase these from specialty stores. This is a great way to season food without salt and they look pretty!

Holidays don’t have to be a time to “give up” on your healthy lifestyle. Contact me for help through your holiday season!

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What’s cooking?! High-fiber, low-sodium, low-fat egg and veggie bake

Egg-Bake

Break fast for a group can be a tricky thing, but planning ahead can take a lot of the stress and early morning wake-up calls away. Try this high-fiber, low-sodium, low-fat egg bake the next time you are hosting a group for the weekend. You can even make the egg mixture ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until that morning! All you have to do is wake up and pop it in the oven.

High-fiber, low-sodium, low-fat egg and veggie bake
Ingredients:
– 16 eggs (whisked)
– 1 chopped green pepper
– 1 chopped orange pepper (or whatever other color you prefer)
– 1 chopped sweet onion
– 1 cup sliced mushrooms
– 1 lb low sodium deli meat (turkey)–chopped
– 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
pour into a baking dish
Bake for about 60 minutes or until eggs are firm

Contact me for individualized recipe ideas and healthy edits or for meal plans and shopping lists!

Healthy hosting for a weekend with friends

Friends-visitingMy husband’s college buddies are coming to visit this weekend, meaning that we will have an apartment full of hungry men. Being a dietitian, I am probably more concerned about what people are going to eat than most; but, come on, guys! SOMEONE has to think you will be hungry at some point during the weekend. Check out how this dietitian plans for a healthier weekend eating with friends

Friday:
– Dinner: Crock pot Chili and jalapeno cornbread

Saturday:
– Breakfast: Make-ahead egg and veggie bake
– Lunch: POT LUCK TAILGATE here is what our crew is bringing: burgers, pasta salad, chicken wings, guacamole and chicken dip with tortilla chips and pretzels, swiss dip with veggies, cookies, and of course water bottles and plenty of other beverages.
– Dinner: no plan here, we will probably still be at the game and likely snack on anything left over from the tailgate as long as we can safely store everything in the coolers. Or, if the weather is bad and we leave the game early, we will end up watching it at a bar where we will find food.

Sunday:
– Breakfast: Pancakes
The rest of the day depends on how everyone is feeling and when everyone plans on hitting the road back to Michigan; so it will be more last-minute thinking.

We look forward to weekend visits so much; but, with full-time jobs and everything else going on before our friends get here, it’s easy to forget about meal planning and even easier to just say “oh well, we can just eat out”. Yes, it’s fun to bring everyone to our favorite restaurants; and we will still have the opportunity to do that. But, as a dietitian, no one is going unfed, no one is overpaying to eat high-sodium meals all weekend long, and everyone will get their share of fiber, lean protein, and veggies! Can’t wait to see you all and I hope you enjoy!

What’s Cooking?! Low-fat, salt-free stir-fry

Stir-FryLooking for another way to add vegetables and increase the fiber in your dinner meal? Try a stir-fry! Now generally, any dish with the word “fry” in it means that it has been cooked in oil and tend to be high in fat, calories, and salt; but, with some minor adjustments, I still managed to make a flavorful meal that is heart healthy and won’t run the blood sugars off the charts. Here is what I made, but since it’s a stir-fry, you can really add anything you want!
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5 tips for a healthy, homemade steak dinner

Steak-and-potato

I love cooking, but there are definitely times when we get home later than usual, or I’m tired, or I have things to do around the house and I just don’t have time (or don’t want) to make something. Thankfully, my husband has been listening to my cooking tips and can put together an awesome heart-healthy, high fiber meal! Men love their meat, so of course when he is cooking, it’s going to be steak. But check out what he did to keep it low fat, low sodium, and high in fiber!
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5 Healthier Halloween Snacks

trick-or-treat

I love Halloween! Fun decorations, homemade costumes, warm drinks, an excuse to hang out with friends and be silly, and of course: CANDY! Halloween seems to set off the “holiday season”, and unwanted weight gain and excuses that tend to come with it. So, let’s stop blaming the holidays and find ways to enjoy them without letting ourselves go! Here are 5 treats for grown ups to bring to Halloween or fall parties.

caramel-grapes

These pseudo-caramel apple bites are easy to make and feed a bigger crowd for less money than making actual caramel apples! Melt soft caramel candy in a sauce pan, stick grapes with a toothpick, dip grape in caramel and then in chopped peanuts and let them cool in the fridge.

strawberry-ghosts

Another dipped fruit option is the strawberry ghost. Melt vanilla almond bark or white chocolate in a saucepan and dip strawberries. Give the vanilla a little time to cool, and apply mini chocolate chips for eyes. Once the vanilla is set completely, melt semi-sweet chocolate and put melted chocolate into a ziplock bag. Cut a very small hole in one corner of the bag and use that to draw the mouth. Let cool in the fridge.

Pumpkin-cupcakes

Wondering about a lower-fat cupcake recipe? Try replacing the oil in your favorite cupcake recipe with pumpkin puree. Perfect for a Halloween or fall party, and heart-healty, too!

Pumpkin-seeds

I pretty much carve pumpkins just so that I can get to the seeds! These are my favorite and they are high in protein and fiber. Remove all seeds from the pumpkin, clean them and spread them onto a cookie sheet and allow to dry overnight. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees farenheit. Spray seeds with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano, or chili powder. Bake for about 25 minutes or until browned.

Spider-Eggs

Deviled eggs are always a hit, no matter what the occasion. Add a little Halloween touch by slicing a few black olives (which add heart healthy fats) and arranging them to look like spiders! I would just mash the yolk for this dish, but if you usually add more to your deviled eggs, go easy on the mayo, or try using plain greek yogurt for a lower fat, high protein treat.

What are you bringing to your party? I love new ideas and can even help brainstorm ways to take some of the guilt away from your favorites!

What’s Cooking?! Healthier Sausage and Peppers

healthy-sausage-peppers
Looking for a low maintenence meal with minimal prep work and clean up? Try these, low-sodium, no-carb, low-fat sausage and peppers! This is another recipe that is great for leftovers. Top a whole wheat hoagie for a fun sub sandwich, cook them into eggs for a high-protein, high-fiber omelet, or (my favorite) toss them on top of your favorite green with cold tomatoes, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar for a quick lunch salad.

Ingredients:
– 1 lb low-sodium, low-fat chicken sausage (sliced)
– 1 red pepper (chopped in large pieces)
– 1 green pepper (chopped in large pieces)
– 1 yellow pepper (chopped in large pieces)
– 1 medium onion (chopped in large pieces)
– 2 tbl olive oil
– 2 tbl fresh basil (chopped)
– 1 tbl dried oregano
– 1/2 tbl garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
– Brown sausage in a skillet (does not need to be fully cooked, just browned)
– Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to coat
– Spread mixture into a 9 X 13 baking dish
– Bake for 50 minutes and serve

Need a side dish? Try sautéed potatoes with spinach for complex carbohydrates and fiber without the salt!

What’s Cooking?! Low-Sodium Vegetarian Tomato Noodle Soup

vegetarian-tomato-noodle-soup

Don’t tell my husband, but we had a vegetarian dinner this week! Believe it or not, he didn’t even miss the meat. The beans added protein and the vegetables and whole wheat pasta added fiber to make us feel full and keep us feeling full longer. PLUS, this was a crock pot meal, so while our pizzas were cooking on Monday, I did some veggie chopping and threw everything in a gallon Ziplock bag and all Jason had to do in the morning was dump the liquids and bag of goodies into the crock pot and turn it on. Dinner was ready when we got home; and, clean up was a piece of cake, since all we used was the crock pot.

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What’s Cooking?! Whole Wheat Muffin Pizza

english-muffin-pizza
Pizza, beer, and Monday Night Football should be enjoyed, even in the home of a dietitian! But, I do try to make the pizza heart healthy and higher in fiber. Rather than ordering delivery, consider making your own pies! English muffin pizza makes for an easy, fast and interactive meal. Everyone creates individual pizzas with their favorite toppings and they are done in 15 minutes.

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