Holiday Survival 2.0 – Part 1

Surviving Holiday Office Parties and other Gatherings

 

It’s that time of year again folks. The time of year when everyone in your workplace, extended family, book club, and so on decides it would be fun to throw a party filled with presents, alcohol, and junk food. If you are dieting or just conscious about how much you eat, it can be frustrating. After all, there are too many baked goods and novelty snacks that are being shoved down our proverbial throats from Halloween to New Years. I guess that’s why winter weight gain is a running stereotype.  What can you do? Is there any way to stick with your diet, and still enjoy the holiday season?

The answer is yes, but it is a balancing act, much like many other aspects of life. Here are a few ways that you can “tip the scales” back in your favor during the holiday season from our favorite nutritionist, Bekah Dewitt.

 

Keep Being Active

 

A tradition that I have followed during this time of year, (especially after Thanksgiving) is to go for a long walk when I am feeling stuffed or claustrophobic.  It puts me in a better mood, offsets any extra calories and gets me in the right mindset for social interactions. If you already have a workout routine, that’s even better. Stick with it and it will make life after the holidays easier.

 

Stick With Real Food

 

When was the last time you heard of a potato chip or a donut having any nutritional value?

Believe me, I know how tempting it can be for guests to snack through the holidays. I also know how tempting it is for party hosts to leave a bag of pre-packaged snacks for the guests. It requires little effort, and it seems great for the host who doesn’t know how to cook. But it does a disservice to your body and diet to eat nothing but empty calories. Aim for a carrot instead of a potato chip. Look into hummus instead of sour cream dip. Look at apple slices instead of a second cupcake. It will give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs and it will decrease the chances of weight gain this holiday season.

We will see you next week for part 2 !

Check out Last Year’s Guide to Portion Control. Also, look into a consultation with the site owner, Nutritionist Bekah Dewitt.

Trending Food News

What’s the Deal With Cauliflower, Anyway?

We are at that awkward stage of the year where it is past Thanksgiving, but not quite December.  This means that I had to come up with a relevant nutrition article that could serve as a stand-alone topic.  So I do my basic Google trends search and to my surprise, the search for cauliflower was trending upward of 40%.

That got me curious. I vaguely remember seeing cauliflower being used as a substitute for potato trending a few months ago.  So, what made it trend in the first place? What nutritional benefits does a cauliflower have that a potato doesn’t? Let’s find out.

Cauliflower Nutritional Information

One cup of Cauliflower has quite a lot of essential nutrients, from 73% of the daily value of vitamin C,  19% daily value of vitamin K, and 14% of the daily value of folate.  Vitamin C is essential for boosting your immune system and Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and bone health. Folate is essential for brain and nervous system health and it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

cauliflower nutrition
This was compiled by a non-profit organization known as “world’s healthiest foods.” Click the photo to read the original article.

 

That only scratches the surface of how many minerals and vitamins are even present in a single serving.

You would think that something that offers so much in the way of nutrition would have a high-calorie volume or would mess with your blood sugar.  I am happy to say that this couldn’t be further from the truth in the case of cauliflower.

In fact, one cup of cauliflower is equal to 25 calories. Just 25. And the sugar index is practically non-existent at less than 2 grams.

What’s more, cauliflower contains several types of chemicals such as sulforaphane and plant sterols. These are anti-estrogen agents that prevent the growth of cancer cells.

Cauliflower

That is one powerful plant!

Try adding incorporating this vegetable into your diet. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

 

Want to learn more about other vegetables? Click Here. Want to schedule an appointment with Bekah? Check out her chat box that pops up on the first page.

Happy Thanksgiving

Healthy Desserts

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but in Alabama, it has been cooling down into autumn territory. The leaves in trees are changing colors, pumpkins are everywhere, and everyone is already hearing Christmas carols. Joy.

However, I am of the camp that firmly believes that you don’t jump from Halloween to Christmas without acknowledging Thanksgiving.  While I am not a fan of its origins, I love the excuse to throw a feast and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.  So, grab your utensils and pass the gravy, because we are diving into healthy Thanksgiving desserts.

Spiralized Apple Crumble

One of the downsides to making an apple crumble is the constant chopping up and peeling of apples. It is time-consuming, messy, and requires the handling of a large knife. Enter this version of the recipe, which makes use of the spiralizer, a device that exists for the sole purpose of making curly fries.  This recipe appeals to my lazy side already.  It also takes little prep time and makes use of healthy ingredients such as oats, apples, cinnamon, and almonds. Click on the photo below to check it out.

healthy thanksgiving desserts

 

 

Maple Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting

If you don’t know what to do with your extra pumpkin or maple syrup, then there is no need to fear, because this recipe makes good use of both those things.  This recipe has sugar free options and other substitutions to achieve the same results as you would with baking regular cupcakes and makes use of seasonal ingredients with the added zest of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  Click on the photo below to give this recipe a try.

healthy thanksgiving desserts

 

 

Sources:

Shoutout to thehealthymaven.com for the crumble and amyshealthybaking.com for the cupcakes. They both have interesting blogs that are awesome to read.

Like this Article? Check out the Thanksgiving article from Last Year!

Happy Thanksgiving

Healthy Side Dishes

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but in Alabama, it has been cooling down into autumn territory. The leaves in trees are changing colors, pumpkins are everywhere, and everyone is already hearing Christmas carols. Joy.

However, I am of the camp that firmly believes that you don’t jump from Halloween to Christmas without acknowledging Thanksgiving.  While I am not a fan of its origins, I love the excuse to throw a feast and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.  So, grab your utensils and pass the gravy, because we are diving into healthy Thanksgiving side dishes.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

If you think that the traditional marshmallow covered sweet potatoes are a little too sweet, or if you want to combine the sweetness with something savory, then look no further than towards this twice baked sweet potato recipe. This recipe combines the sweetness of the potato and 2 tsp of maple syrup then contrasts it with the savory flavor of nutmeg, parmesan cheese, and kale garnish. Click on the related photo below for the specific recipe.

twice baked potatoes, healthy side dishes

Roasted Butternut Squash

One of the more classic if not outright traditional autumn side dishes that I do not see too often on dinner tables is roasted butternut squash. The recipe is simple, and this type of squash is packed with vitamin A. Check out the recipe in the photo below.

butternut squash, healthy side dishes

Glazed Haricots Verts with Pickled Shallot-Walnut Relish

Don’t feel intimidated by the terrifyingly fancy name. It’s just green beans topped with walnuts and a type of onion. I put this on the list because green beans are a healthy side dish that is available year round, and it has a more tangy taste that is great for contrasting against something milder. Click on the photo below for the recipe.

green beans, healthy side dishes

 

Sources:

All recipes and sources came from Eatingwell.com. Check them out sometime, if you want to experiment with your cooking.

Like this Article? Check out the article from Last Year!

Happy Thanksgiving

Healthy Appetizers

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but in Alabama, it has been cooling down into autumn territory. The leaves in trees are changing colors, pumpkins are everywhere, and everyone is already hearing Christmas carols. Joy.

However, I am of the camp that firmly believes that you don’t jump from Halloween to Christmas without acknowledging Thanksgiving.  While I am not a fan of its origins, I love the excuse to throw a feast and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.  So, grab your utensils and pass the gravy, because I am looking into some interesting healthy and happy Thanksgiving appetizers.

Sausage Skewers

It takes forever to cook a turkey, and if you are in my household, the waiting process is not fun. Because everyone is running around getting everything ready, portability is key when it comes to appetizers to munch on.  Enter the sausage skewer.

This Italian style appetizer is great for gnoshing on since they are easy to prep, easy on the calories, and offers the satiety of meat and vegetables.  Click on the photo below to get the recipe.

 

Sweet Potato Chips with Black Olive Tapenade

Not only is this dish colorful and pretty to look at but it provides a contrasting sweet/savory flavor. The chips are baked, the ingredients are seasonal, and they are easy to prepare. They also encompass that portability factor that I just mentioned. Click on the photo below if you want something to pass along the family members while they are waiting for the main event.

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This is a family favorite at my house, and it never lasts for more than an afternoon. While it lacks portability, it is still a very healthy snack, since it offers the vitamins that are found in leafy greens, and has a creamy taste. Click on the photo below for the link to the recipe.

Sources:

All recipes and sources came from FoodNetwork.com. Check them out sometime, if you want to experiment with your cooking.

Like this Article? Check out the article from Last Year!

Healthy Halloween – Healthier Candy Choices

Healthy Halloween – Healthier Candy Choices

The holidays are a time filled with fun, family, and sugary-filled indulgence. However, when left unchecked, that indulgence will lead to seriously unhealthy habits.  So, what can you do, when you want to enjoy your holidays? What about your kids, who just went door to door gathering a bag full of candy? You don’t want them to learn unhealthy habits, but you don’t want to deny them the fun of trick or treating.

Now is the perfect time to educate your children on the principle of moderation and nutritional content. Here are a few tips that you could share with your kids when they are going through that sweet loot.

Embrace the Dark

The darker the chocolate, the more likely antioxidants are involved. Also, the darker the chocolate, the more likely any craving for chocolate is satisfied earlier on. If you want to introduce dark chocolate to your child, I wouldn’t jump from 80 to 90% dark cocoa right away.  Children’s taste buds are sensitive, and dark chocolate is bitter. I would at least swap out the regular milk chocolate Hersheys for the dark chocolate version. Let them work up to something darker over time.

Go Nuts

Unless your child is allergic to nuts, this would be a great way to introduce a little extra protein in your child’s diet.  The nuts in something like a  fun-sized Snickers or an Almond Joy also contain a certain amount of healthy fats, which may displace the sugar.

Get Fruity

healthy candy choices

Encourage candy choices with fruit juice or dried fruit in them. In moderation, dried fruit can help keep the pounds off, and it can double the antioxidant boost if the dried fruit is dark chocolate covered.  Jelly Bellys are also made with pureed fruit, making it a healthier candy choice as well.

Be a Sucker

While Tootsie Pops and Carmel Apple Suckers contain 10 grams of sugar, it still needs to be taken into account that lollipops and suckers take a long time to consume.  After just having one, people are usually satisfied with the sugar craving, which is better than eating multiple bars of chocolate.

Chew on It

Candies that are chewy take time to consume, much like the lollipops that I mentioned earlier. What’s more, Twizzlers and Jelly Bellies have a low-fat content.

healthy candy choicesHave Fun

Limited consumption of two or three fun sized bags or bars, depending on what the serving calls for, can help you or your child slow down and take stock of how much you are eating and how many you are unwrapping.

Sources:

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/nutrition/candy-facts/?page=2

http://www.eatthis.com/halloween-candies-ranked/

https://greatist.com/health/20-better-halloween-candy-choices

 

Healthy Treats for the Spookiest of Holidays

Healthy Treats for the Spookiest of Holidays

There is nothing scarier than a sudden 5 lb weight gain on November 1st.  That’s why today we are going to tackle healthy Halloween treats for adults. Next week will be all about the kids. But for now, let’s focus on the Haloween parties and social gatherings that you will be attending.

Finding a treat is a risky business because you don’t want to feel deprived. But neither do you want to find yourself screaming at the scale, or crying why to your suddenly tight pants. The answer to all things is, of course, moderation.  It is important that you strike a balance with your priorities. Chowing down on everything in sight is most likely going to wreak havoc on your health, and what is the point of living if you can’t enjoy yourself at all? Below is a list of treats that are rewarding, but at the same time not too damaging.

Dark Chocolate Candy Apples

This one is my favorite, so I am going to list it first. Fun fact, apples themselves are filled with antioxidants on their own, and while there have been rumors about dark chocolate being healthy since 2013, there has been some evidence to the contrary. At best, dark chocolate heavy in 70%-80% cacao is heart healthy on top of the antioxidants, or it’s just added fluff on top of a healthy product. Either way, it is certainly the lesser of two evils when it comes to name brand candy bars or cupcakes, so on the list, it goes.   You could also add some chopped nuts for an added protein boost. Click on the Link to the recipe in the photo below.

healthy halloween treats

Candy Corn Popsicles

So, I checked the ratings for the most popular candy in each state, and wouldn’t you know that candy corn made the top of the list in Alabama? It was surprising to me, but it was also relevant to this next treat, the candy corn popsicle.  A combination of frozen yogurt, orange juice, and pineapple juice, you know it is going to be a sweet treat. There is no need to add extra sugar, and they take about 10 minutes to make, so you could have it ready for your guests in a pinch. There are natural vitamins and minerals in the juices, making it sweet for both those on a diet and those who want a quick sugar rush. Click on the photo below for the recipe.

healthy Halloween treats

Spinach Monster Ice Cream

I know it sounds like a scary proposition for a healthy Halloween treat that can satisfy your taste buds, but give me a moment to explain before you scream.  The ice cream in question is milk, vanilla extract, banana, and some spinach leaves. When blended together and frozen the ice cream tastes like banana, but carries the same vitamin and mineral content of the spinach.  Its a win for everyone, and looks adorable to boot. Click on the link below for the recipe.

healthy Halloween treats

Happy Haloween from Bek’s Bites, and if you want to learn more about other ways to survive the holidays, click here.

Bek’s News Bite – Colsa Corp Cooking Demo

Company Wide Cooking Demo

Starring: Bekah Dewitt from Bek’s Bites

 

When:

 October 24 at 11:30 – 1 pm.

Where:

  • 6728 Odyssey Drive
  • Huntsville, Al 35806

 

Who: Colsa Employees Only!

 

Want to learn more? Contact me through my chat. Want to read interesting stuff? Check this out!

All the Colors of the Rainbow 2- Purple Asparagus and Black Goji Berries

All the Colors of the Rainbow 2 – Purple

 

Purple fruits and vegetables are a bit more common than their blue cousins, but it was still quite a challenge finding a recipe for this week’s color. But I am not afraid of a challenge, and neither are you, dear readers, when it comes to learning about nutrition, and when it comes to improving your health. I hope that you all will enjoy this next post, about purple asparagus and goji berries.

 

Purple Asparagus

This is a variety of asparagus that hails from Italy, specifically the

purple asparagus and black goji berriesAlbenga region.  This “cultivar “is called Violetto d’Albenga. They are made through a process of open pollination the older and more common version of green asparagus were cultivated (after its initial discovery in the wild), far earlier in human history, with ancient Egyptian and Roman records of its cultivation for medicinal purposes.Today, Purple Asparagus, when grown, produces less number of spears but makes up for it with thicker and longer stalks.

Nutritional Facts about Purple Asparagus

  • The purple variety of asparagus has been reported as sweeter than its green cousin. Despite this, the food has no sugars according to the nutrition index.
  • There are only 20 calories per serving of this delicacy, but it has

    purple asparagus and black goji berries

    enough nutrition to provide 20% of your daily value of vitamin C, 10% of your daily value in vitamin A, and 4 grams of protein.

  • There is also good news for the anemic and the iron deficient because just 5 spears of asparagus have 4% of your daily value in iron.

 

Factoid: Be wary about cooking this type of asparagus for too long. The longer it cooks, the more likely it fades to a green color.

Black Goji Berries (Aka. Wolf Berries)

 

purple asparagus and black goji berriesEarlier, I posted about the Chinese philosophy of food and medicinal healing. This berry is often used as an example of how herbs and plants can heal the body and soul in classic Chinese medicinal literature. There are pages, poems, and colloquialisms throughout various Chinese dynasties that directly reference the healing power of the berry.

The berry is cited in, Chinese literature, to be a contributor to long life when it is part of a regular diet and has been boasted to combat facial wrinkles for the women, as well as virility in men.

The plant itself is also a resilient perennial that can self-pollinate, meaning that it makes berries year round, and it is hardy enough to handle frosts.

The most common variety of Goji berry is red, but there is a ‘black’ version that is hardy, full of nutritional value and dyes the water purple /blue when it is brewed in a tea.

purple asparagus and black goji berry tea

Nutritional facts about the Goji Berry

 

  • It is high in vitamins A, C, and E, anthocyanins, and fatty acids.
  • The vitamins A and C in goji berries do fight against the aging process through the protection of free radicals.
  • A handful of these berries also provides 15% of your daily iron value.
  • These berries also contain dietary fiber, something that helps control satiety and keeps the digestive system regular.

 

Factoid: While there are no reports of poisonous effect, the goji tree is technically related to the Nightshade plant. Make sure you are cautious about eating them too often or when they are too ripe.

Asparagus Salad with Blue Cheese and Goji Berries

Do you want something sweet and savory that takes little prep time and is filled with antioxidants and vitamins? Get ready to try this amazing salad combination from mayihavetherecipe.com. Click on the photo for the recipe below.

recipe

 

If you want to read more about nutritious fruits and vegetables, click here. If you want to check out the latest in beks bites, click here!

All the Colors of the Rainbow 2- Blue Corn and Blueberries

All the Colors of the Rainbow 2 – Blue

 

When it comes to vegetation in general, you don’t see the color blue all that often. This makes this next post a bit of a challenge. Luckily, I was not only able to come up with a blue vegetable, but I was also able to find a recipe that merges a blue fruit and a blue vegetable. Put down that cup of coffee so you won’t spit-take about the blue vegetable in the series, blue corn.

 

Blue Corn

blue corn

Funny thing about corn, most of us today assume that only yellow corn exists. The truth of the matter is that, just like other fruits and vegetables, corn has a variety of colors, kernel sizes and uses all over the world. The yellow corn is the only kind we see most often in grocery stores except for tortilla chips, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it was artificially colored.

This variety of corn naturally grows in Mexico and the South Western United States.  Its earliest mention on European record was in 1540, by Spanish explorers, but there is evidence that suggests that the corn itself is much older than the Columbian era. Blue corn also played a huge part in traditional Hopi religious rituals and was associated with the cardinal direction of South West in rituals.

 

Blue Corn Nutrition

 

  • The most noteworthy thing about Blue corn that makes it stand out from its hybrid cousins, is that it has a higher protein value. Specifically, it has 30% more protein.
  • What makes the corn blue is a high level of anthocyanins, a plant-based antioxidant.
  • The antioxidants I just stated helps even out your blood sugar, which is great for diabetics.
  • It can also assist with metabolizing carcinogens and toxins.

 

Blueberries

blueberry

This variety of berry is also native to North American soil and often grew wild in states like Maine, North Carolina, Oregon and New Jersey. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that US scientist and farmers started to focus on modern blueberry cultivation. Since then it is the second most consumed fruit in the United States, next to strawberries. There are three varieties of blueberry bushes and they can produce fruit for 20 years per bush. That is a lot of berries.

 

Blueberry Benefits

 

  • It’s common knowledge to most people that Blueberries have antioxidants, but did you also know that it carries the same type of antioxidant that is found in blue corn, anthocyanin.
  • Blueberries have also been known to have cardiovascular benefits and can help regulate blood sugar.
  • What is most interesting is the recorded cognitive benefits that blueberries have. Upon examination, evidence does point to blueberries repairing and aiding in the production of nerve cells in the brain.
  • They also protect your retinas from oxygen damage, by repairing and producing cells in your eyes.

 

Blue Muffins

 

If you are feeling a little adventurous and want to spice up your breakfast repertoire, then get ready to experiment with muffins made with blue cornmeal and blueberries. It’s simple to bake, interesting to try, and something playful that you can do with the kids. Click on the photo below for the link to the recipe.

 

blue corn blueberry muffin

 

 

If you want to read more about nutritious fruits and vegetables, click here. If you want to check out the latest in beks bites, click here!