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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Eating: Accentuate the Positive

I'm a big believer that good health comes from seeking out and choosing to focus on the positive - and I don't just the effects of your attitude or mood.  When it comes to good nutrition and healthful eating, if we sought out more positive, nourishing foods the empty-calorie, less-healthful foods would fall away into their proper place of "once-in-a-while" or "play" foods.
Often at this time of year, folks get downright touchy when it comes to food.  There is a lot of hype about how unhealthy holiday eating is and how much weight gain is inevitable. . . Nonsense! Stop focusing on the negative, defeatist view of food this time of year and start embracing all that is healthful, delicious and nourishing.  If we could stop agonizing over and guiltily replaying every bite of dip, chip or candy that goes into our mouths and instead made it our focus and goal to eat healthy, in-season produce, not only would we have a freer, lighter attitude, but the scale would most likely follow that same direction.  So in the spirit of ignoring the negative and focusing only on the positive, I'm dropping the "don'ts" and providing only "dos".

  • Pack in the Pomegranates

    Pomegranates are not only tasty (and thanks to youtube - a snap to seed), but they are packed with fiber and vitamins C, K, folate and potassium.  Top a toss salad with these edible jewels, mix into a fruit salad, or sit down with a bowl and spoon.
  • Go Nuts

     Nuts are a good idea any time of the year, but they seem to make regular appearances at party and festive occasions.  So enjoy all that fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium, protein and heart-healthy fat.  Studies indicate that people trying to lose weight have greater success when they include nuts into their daily diet.
  • Remember Root & Orange Veggies

    Roots and squash are in-season and the ultimate comfort food on a cold, wintry day.  Whether you go for oven roasted carrots and parsnips with garlic and rosemary, or a steaming bowl of butternut soup - these veggies provide fiber, vitamins A & C, plus lots of antioxidants such as carotenoids.  Also, winter squash contains pectin which reduces inflammation.  So while their saturated colors are a feast for the eyes, the nutrients are a feast for your body. 
  • An Apple a Day

    There are so many varieties and ways to incorporate apples into our diet this time of year.  Sliced apples work great in salads, on grilled cheese, or sauteed over french toast. Apples are packed with antioxidants and fiber - particularly pectin - which help reduce inflammation, risk of heart disease, cancer and help maintain a healthy weight.  So make it a goal to eat an apple a day.  
  • Keep Citrus in Circulation

     We all know that citrus is a great source of vitamin C, but aside from boosting our immune system.  However, citrus does much more than that.  Hesperidin is a flavonoid found in citrus that improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels and protect against heart disease.  Limonoids are antioxidants found in this tangy fruits that protect against many types of cancer.  Plus, since citrus is high in fiber and water, it makes it a natural weight management superstar.

    Make December and the rest of the winter season a time for "dos" not "don'ts" and enjoy the health that comes from better nutrition and less stress.

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