By Dr. Janet Brill
The leaves are falling, the apple cider is brewing and pumpkins are the décor of the season. Now is the time to make a plan to stay healthy and fit over the upcoming holidays. Fail to plan and you plan to fail is an adage that rings most true over the holiday season. So NOW is the time to strategize how you will deal with the first of the series of holidays that oftentimes gives people some trouble sticking to a healthy eating plan…HALLOWEEN!
Have a Plan to Deal with the Candy
If you are home to give out Halloween candy to the kids, buy the kind of candy that you do not enjoy eating yourself. If your kids are the age where they bring home pillowcases full of Halloween candy, you need to have a plan of action! Have your child pick out 10 of their favorite pieces of candy loot. Divvy the candy up allotting just one or two pieces per day—and give all the rest away.
Don’t Just Carve your Pumpkin, Eat It! This bright orange vegetable is great for making Halloween lanterns but did you know that it is also a virtually fat-free super food? The orange color is a giveaway that pumpkin is rich in the disease-fighting antioxidant vitamin precursors called carotenoids (especially the alpha and beta-carotenoids). The carotenoid family of antioxidants is highly effective in mopping up damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals harm healthy cells and can lead to disease and premature aging. Ingesting a wide array of antioxidant foods in your diet is the best lifestyle strategy for fighting off harmful free radical molecules. Pumpkin also contains a nice amount of two other antioxidant vitamins: C and E along with lots of minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium.
Canned pumpkin is a great and easy way to get in this orange wonder food. 1 cup of canned pumpkin contains 7 grams of dietary fiber (28% of your daily needs), 763% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 17% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, 19% of your daily needs for iron and 6% of your bone-building calcium needs and all this for a mere 83 calories and practically 0 fat and 0 cholesterol! It just doesn’t get better than this, nutritionally speaking.
How to eat it: There’s no need to cook your jack-o-lantern if you don’t want the extra work, canned pumpkin is an easy and assessable grocery store staple.
Start NOW to get ahead of the game by carving out a holiday health plan. Strategize NOW for how you will keep up your healthy lifestyle during the hectic holiday season and you will surely stay ahead of the game!
Wishing you best of health,
Pumpkin Oatmeal with Yogurt and Raisins
A warm bowl of oatmeal filled with spices and pumpkin is a cold-weather crowd pleaser. This is so easy to make in the microwave.
In an 8-cup microwave-safe dish stir together the water, cinnamon, and oats. Place in the microwave and cook on high-power for 4 to 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the microwave and stir in the pumpkin puree, raisins, and molasses. Spoon into 4 bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons yogurt and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: An excerpt from the book Blood Pressure Down by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN; Three Rivers Press; May 2013; Copyright © 2012 Janet Brill, Ph.D. To learn more about this book please visit DrJanet.com.