The Holiday season is upon us and for many of us with it comes parties, alcohol and a departure from our normal eating habits! Why is it when it is on a beautiful tray, on a table filled with other treat laden beautiful trays does food I would never consider eating suddenly sound good? (And if I have had a glass of wine, it doesn’t even have to be on a beautiful tray!) Tonight, I am headed to my first Holiday party of the year and these are my ideas to avoid the usual mindless munching.
Eat before I go: I am going to have a small, protein filled snack about an hour before I have to leave for the party. The protein will keep me full longer and keep me from reaching for high calorie foods just because I am starving.
Check out all options before filling my plate: Before I take a plate, I am going to look at all the food options in the room and decide which ones will be the best choices. This does not mean I will not have any “treats” but that I am going to decide which ones are really “special” and are worth the indulgence. (Because really, what are the holidays without some “treats”!)
I am going to fill my plate with healthy choices: I plan to fill my plate with as many fruits, vegetables and other nutrient dense food like shrimp as I can. I plan to skip the dips, cheeses, fried foods and other foods with a high calorie to nutrient ratio. If my plate is full of nutrient dense food, there is less room for food that doesn’t nourish.
Alternate water with alcohol: Between each glass of wine or cocktail that I drink, I plan to have a glass of water. This will keep me hydrated. Being hydrated slows down the consumption of alcohol, decreases the likelihood of a hangover and helps me feel full longer.
Bring a healthy appetizer to share: I plan to bring a healthy appetizer to share. This will be my contribution to the party and gives me something I know that I want to eat.
These are my suggestions for having a sane and healthy Holiday party season. I would love to hear about yours.
½ avocado topped with salt, pepper and spoonful of salsa (170 calories)
2 tbs of chia seeds with ¼ cup of almond milk and ½ cup of blueberries (196 calories)
1 cup of jicama spears with ¼ cup guacamole and 2 tbs of salsa (165 calories)
1 cup veggie juice with 4 slices of deli turkey (150 calories)
3 tbs of hummus spread on hearts of palm spears (180 calories)
1 100 calories whole wheat pita with 2 tbs of hummus (170)
1 cup of shelled edamame (200 calories)
6 dates stuffed with 3 tsps of Gorgonzola cheese and 1 almond each (210 calories)
2 large hard boiled eggs and ¾ cup of cherries (210 calories)
1 ounce of turkey jerky, 1/8 cup of slivered almonds and a pear (208 calories)
9 walnut halves and 1 cup of sliced plums (194 calories)
4 dried figs and two slices of prosciutto (210 calories)
1 apple and 1 piece of string cheese (160 calories)
Chocolate Almond Energy Blasts
18. Chocolate Almond Energy Blasts
19. Four fresh figs stuffed with 1 tbs of goat cheese and then drizzled with honey (206 calories)
20. 1 Trader Joes mini fiber cake spread with 1 tbs of nut butter (175 calories)
21. 3 oz of deli turkey spread with 2 tbs of hummus and then rolled up
22. One 6 inch whole wheat tortilla, spread with 2 tbs of Trader Joe’s Fat Free Black Bean dip with ¼ avocado, then rolled up (190 calories)
23. Trader Joe’s Fat Free Bean Dip spread on 2 oz of deli turkey and ¼ avocado (180 calories)
24. Medium pear, 1 tbs of chopped walnuts, 1 tsp of honey (170 calories)
25. Larabar (roughly 200 calories, depending on flavor)
26. 7 oz full fat Greek Plain Yogurt with handful of raspberries
27. Medium banana with 1 tbs of peanut butter (190 calories)
28. 3 Rye crackers with 1 oz of goat cheese and 1/3 cup of blueberries
29. 1 serving of pita chips and 1 kiwi
30. 1/3 cup of part skim milk ricotta plus 11 chopped smokey almonds
31. ¼ cup of Love Grown Granola, ¼ cup of blueberries with ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (166 calories)
32. 2 hard boiled eggs with 2 tsps of sriracha sauce (165 calories)
33. 1 cup whole strawberries dipped in 2 melted Lindt Excellence Chili Bar squares (141 calories)
Also checkout this weeks Cooking For One Series I am participating in. Here is the line up of amazing bloggers with super yummy recipes. I can’t wait to try all these recipes!
Now that you have determined your baby is ready for solids and you have decided how you want to feed your child, the all important question of what to feed them becomes relevant.
In the recent past, iron fortified rice cereal was often the recommended first food for babies. This recommendation has started to come under question. Rice and other cereals are a heavily processed food with most of the nutrients stripped out. Rice cereal, in particular, has recently been called into question due to the presence of arsenic in some rice (AAP, 2003). There is also some question about a baby’s ability to digest grains due to a lack of pancreatic amylase, the enzyme needed to breakdown carbohydrates. A baby doesn’t have full pancreatic amylase production until the age of 28 months (Dessinger, 2011). However, breast milk is a rich source of alpha amylase, offering breastfed babies added digestive help (Lindberg, 1982). This amylase is unique because it has a broad range for pH tolerances. This broad range helps the amylase survive the low pH of the stomach and helps digest carbohydrates in the small intestine. Babies also have two other enzymes in their small intestines, sucrase-isomaltase and glucoamylase, which aid in the digestion of carbohydrates (Harrison, 2012).
One more factor to consider in the introduction of grains is the timing of adding them to your baby’s diet. In 2012, Norris et al conducted a study looking at the relationship between the time of first gluten exposure to the development of celiac disease. They found that babies fed barley, rye or wheat cereal in the first three months of life had a 5 fold increase in the development of celiac disease over children whose first exposure was between 4-6 months of age. Children who were not exposed to gluten until the seventh month, had a marginally higher rate of celiac then those children exposed between four and six months. A similar study looked at time of first wheat exposure and the development of a wheat allergy. Pool et al (2006) found similar results about the timing of first exposure. Both of these studies point to a sweet spot of four to six months of age for first time gluten exposure to decrease the risk of celiac disease or wheat allergy.
Adding grains to your infant’s diet will need to be a personal choice. If you do decide to introduce them at this time, do not make them the main component of your child’s meals. Vegetables, meat and fruits should be the main course with cereal as a small addition. Remember an infant’s stomach is only as big as his/her fist. Adjust your portion size accordingly. Avoid processed baby cereal. You can make your own cereal gruel with properly prepared, soaked and sprouted grains such as oats, spelt, rye or barley (Fallon, 2013). Sally Fallon is an excellent resource for properly preparing grains.
Good first foods for babies include avocado, green beans, squash, egg yolks, carrots, pumpkin, banana, bone broth, sweet potato, shaved organic liver, and pureed meats. Small amounts of unsweetened goat or sheep’s milk yogurt and fish eggs can also be good additions to an infant’s diet. If at all possible these foods should be organic and/or grass fed. Fruits and vegetables should be soft cooked and consist of only one ingredient. Introduce only one new food every few days so if your child has an allergic reaction you can pinpoint the culprit (Sears, 2013). If after a couple of days of eating a new food you see no reaction, then you can add another new food. Signs of an allergic reaction include:
Hives or welts
Flushed skin or hives
Swollen tongue, face or cheeks
Diarrhea and/or vomiting
Loss of consciousness
Coughing or wheezing
Allergic reactions can escalate quickly. If your child is having difficulty breathing, having severe diarrhea and/or vomiting or is experiencing swelling of the face or tongue, call 911 immediately.
Before sitting down to a meal of solid foods, allow your infant to breast-feed or bottle feed first so they are not starving when they sit down and become frustrated with getting the food to their mouths. As your child becomes more adept at eating solids, you can continue to introduce new tastes, textures and smells. The goal is to get your child to eat the same food you are eating. If your child refuses a food at first, reintroduce it at a later date. It often takes a baby multiple exposures to a particular food or texture before he/she likes it (Satter, 2000). Now is not the time to restrict healthy fat. Fat from fish, avocados, fish oil, breast milk and other healthy sources are necessary for brain development and vitamin absorption (Sears, 2013).
Foods to Avoid
Hot dogs, nuts, hard candies and other choking hazards.
Foods with added sugar.
Cow’s dairy before 1 year of age. Sheep or goat’s milk unsweetened, cultured (like yogurt or kefir) dairy can be okay in moderation.
Honey before 1 year of age.
Common allergens such as nuts, wheat, citrus, corn and soy.
Peanuts, egg whites and shellfish are also common allergens so care should be exercised in their introduction.
Spinach and strawberries have been known to cause reactions in some infants.
Care should be used when introducing fish due to the concern with contamination from mercury. White, small, middle swimming fish should be introduced first.