It’s the Holidays! The music, the food, giving to others, and the visiting with friends and family are all things I absolutely love about the season.
We are especially excited about the holidays this year with Emma’s arrival.
Mom in particular, can’t wait to dress her up in cute, but partially uncomfortable, outfits adorned with beaded Christmas trees and let her sit on Santa’s lap so we can take her picture (where she will most likely be screaming)!
Some of my clients really dread the holidays. They fear their weight will creep up as they attend events with a decedent display of goodies. It doesn’t have to be that way! People can still enjoy family events, work parties and baking without sacrificing their health and nutrition goals. As with anything, you must be smart, determined and have a plan. A few quick tips to help you navigate the holiday food frenzy and a recipe for my Mother-in-law’s famous “Swedish Butter Horn” cookies made with Ultragrain® flour are below.
Tips to Save You from Dreaded Weight Gain this Holiday Season:
1. Never attend an event hungry. NEVER! If you do, you’ll be much more likely to overindulge in foods that aren’t consistent with your goals.
2. Fill Up On a powerful protein / fiber combo before you arrive! These two key nutrition superstars will help you curb cravings and keep you to just one plate at the buffet. For protein, a 3oz portion of meat, meat substitute, chicken or fish or even some low-fat dairy like Greek yogurt is a perfect amount to keep you satisfied. Pair your protein with some vegetables and fruit and you’ll be feeling full and making good decisions all night long!
3. Bring your favorite healthy dish! You can fill up on something you know and trust prior to hitting the cookie tray. This will help you keep your portion sizes in check.
4. Don’t skip your must-have’s! If your Aunt Suzie only makes her famous red velvet cake once a year, make sure you partake! Just be sure to only have one slice of her wonderful treat, not three. Research has shown that the pleasure centers in our brain that are activated when we have desserts are at their peak after only a few bites. After that time, no additional satisfaction is achieved with additional intake. You can enjoy the right portion size and not feel a bit guilty. Savor those first bites, have a reasonable serving and then put the fork down and move on.
I hope everyone adds some healthy whole grain nutrition to their favorite cookies this year with Ultragrain®! It feels good to know you’re getting (and giving on your cookie tray) fiber, antioxidants and nutrients with the same taste and texture you already love. Have a great Holiday and give the recipe below a try! These cookies will NOT disappoint!
“Swedish Butter Horns”
1 cup Crisco.
½ cup sugar
4 cups Ultragrain® All Purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
2 packages dry active yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 beaten eggs
Blend the first four ingredients together as you would pie dough (pie cutter or fork).
Dissolve the dry yeast in the WARM (not hot) milk and add to beaten eggs, then stir. Add to dry ingredients, stirring only until the flour is absorbed. Cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
¾ cup margarine (1 and ½ stick)
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Blend the four ingredients together (briefly microwave the filling to make it easier to spread on the dough. It should be a pasty consistency).
Take cooled dough (about the size of a tennis ball) and roll it into a circle on a floured surface. Slice the dough like the spokes of a wheel into twelve identical pieces. Spread some filling on each piece (don’t be afraid to use your fingers) and roll from the wide end to make a croissant. Place on a cookie sheet and let rise for about 20 minutes. Bake at 350°F (10-15 minutes) until the tops of the cookies are turning lightly brown. Remove and cool on wire racks. While cooking, drizzle with mixture of powdered sugar and milk. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.
· Make sure you put a sheet of foil under the wire racks while drizzling as it’s a bit messy!
· Save the residual nuts and frosting for the oatmeal in the morning.