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Celebrate Health Without Scrooge

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Life in the supermarket world seems to revolve around marketing themes, and it’s something that is no different for a registered dietitian (RD)! In this business we think about the selling seasons, knowing that the holiday season is the most popular time for eating and indulging with a touch of tradition.

For the RD, this is the season to remind people that health-smart lifestyles are right for all seasons. Far be it from taking away from the fun, our reminders can hopefully make it easier for our shoppers to meet their inevitable New Year’s resolutions — if we plan ahead and make smart choices in our meals and gifts today.

So what can we do to help keep the traditions of the season alive while maintaining a healthy touch that skips over Scrooge approach? Try these thoughts for starters:

  •  Think out of the box when it comes to party plans. Along with the traditional choices introduce some healthy options for the buffet table. Lower fat dips, a variety of salsas, and lower fat cheeses on the cheese tray are a good beginning. Mix in some veggies that go beyond shortcut carrots and celery. Why not demo making radish roses along with Jicama sticks, edamame, and turnip chips?
  • Feature sides that double as main dishes and are the first choice for guests with health needs or vegetarian preferences. Heritage grains, lentils, beans and polenta can be dressed up to fit into any occasion. Caution: This means add some recipes!
  •  Build a display of gifts with a life- purpose: A basket of gluten-free foods, an assortment of spices and herbs with some favorite recipes, whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, with some legumes packaged in a stew-size pot, or a luxury assortment of high-end and nutrient-packed snack bars, nuts, and flavored waters for the active person. Tie in the idea of being good to the environment with “green” and recyclable options for cleaning a home, a pet or a person.
  • Add some ideas for holiday beverages with a healthy touch. Flavored waters, seltzers to combine with wine for spritzers (which also helps limit the amount of alcohol without stifling the fun). Punch recipes can feature 100% juices with sparkling water or real ginger ale. Mulled cider, coffee and tea beverages can round out the selection. Did you ever try eggnog in your coffee to give you the taste with fewer calories? And of course it’s a good time to demo ways to dress up the holiday table and punch bowl with cut fruit and fresh flowers.

It is possible to add a healthy touch the themes of the season without even a muttering of “Bah-humbug!” Enjoy the holidays!

[Photo credit: Dominic Hallau]

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