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Kaylor: Have a Healthy Holiday

By Staff | Dec 18, 2015

Spending time with family and friends and enjoying special food is part of most holiday celebrations. However, you may leave the gathering thinking you ate too much. If you are planning any holiday gatherings, try these tips to keep your holidays festive and also focused on good health.

1.Keep the celebration simple. How about a soup, bread and salad potluck? If some of your guests do not have time to cook, could they help organize or assist with cleanup?

2.Have fun with your menu ideas. Be sure to feature fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthful foods such as these:

Red and green apple wedges with lemon yogurt dip

Parfaits made by layering nonfat vanilla yogurt with frozen red berries

Pomegranate seeds sprinkled over kiwi slices

Spinach dip served with red and green pepper strips and whole-grain pita chips

3.Slim your recipes. Choose lower-fat versions of your ingredients, such as “light” cream cheese. If you are making a dip, substitute plain nonfat yogurt for the mayonnaise or sour cream. Choose baked chips instead of fried.

4.Remember food safety for holiday gatherings. Perishable food, such as cut fruit and vegetables, salads, meats and casseroles, should spend no more than two hours at room temperature.

Use a slow cooker to hold hot foods hot. Keep food warm in the oven until you serve it.

Keep cold foods cold by making an “ice nest”: Set bowls or plates of food inside or on top of bowls of ice to help keep the food cold. Replace ice if it melts.

5.Make activity part of the celebration. Organize a sledding party. If the weather is too cold outdoors, make room for dancing indoors.

6.Explore some new recipes. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on “recipes” for

hundreds of foods in categories such as appetizers, soups, breads and main dishes. Check out all the nutrition resources and videos, too.

7.Don’t get stressed about buying holiday gifts and food. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a thoughtful gift, but be sure to plan ahead and budget for the holidays. Some financial experts say to stick with 1 to 1.5 percent of your annual income for holiday spending. For example, if your family makes $25,000 per year, 1 percent would be $250 (.01 x 25,000).

After you have decided on your budget, figure out how much to spend on each person. Start shopping early to take advantage of the sales and consider shopping online. Be sure to track what you spend in whatever way works the best for you (notepad, computer, etc.). Write down the total you plan to spend per person at the top of the page and subtract as you buy items.

Remember that not all gifts need to be purchased. Maybe one of your friends likes to bake, and you like to sew. How about sewing an apron from the fabric you have on

hand? You could give a gift of your time with “coupons” for free baby-sitting, snow shoveling, window washing or cleaning. Offer a free cooking or baking lesson for a

family favorite, such as lefse or kuchen. Make a homemade cocoa or tea mix in a jar to enjoy during cold winter months.

The NDSU Extension Service has a variety of beverage and bread mixes. Visit ww.ag.ndsu.edu/food (click on “food preparation”).


2 c. all-purpose flour

c. granulated sugar

c. nonfat dry milk powder

2 tsp. baking powder

tsp. salt

1/3 c. shortening

1 c. dried blueberries or dried cranberries

Stir together the flour, sugar, dry milk, baking powder and salt. Use a fork to cut in the shortening until the mixture looks crumbly. Pour into a 1-quart glass jar and top with the blueberries. Add more dried fruit to fill in the gap between the flour and top of jar, if needed. You also may place the mix in a zipper-top plastic bag. Copy the following scone recipe and add to the jar or plastic bag.


Place the jar contents in a large mixing bowl. Add the following ingredients and mix until


tsp. vanilla extract

tsp. lemon juice

1 beaten egg

c. water

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and quickly yet gently kneading for 12 to 15 strokes or until smooth. Pat to -inch thickness. Cut into desired shape using a cookie

cutter or knife. Place each scone 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for

12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a cooking rack. Serve warm.

Makes 15 servings. Each serving has 180 calories, 5 grams (g) fat, 3 g protein, 29 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 150 milligrams sodium.

SOURCE: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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