‘Tis the season to be grazing’…. Or, was that gaining… as in weight? Yes, sisters, we are entering the time of the year that is not only the season of family/thankfulness and love/goodwill, but the season of the ever expanding waistband.
It begins with Halloween and all of that wonderful left over Halloween candy that the cute little cherub trick-or-treaters failed to come pick up and ends with the New Year’s Resolution to never eat that much/gain that much again.
During this three month stretch, we are literally surrounded by food. With every extra holiday pound that we add to our bodies, we are putting one more pound of stress, one more pound of fat, one more dose of cholesterol, on our heart. So, as we approach the season of unending grazing, how do you protect your heart? What can you eat and still enjoy that won’t hurt your heart health? As it turns out, there are lots of healthy alternatives to the seasonal fare. Here are just a few ideas to help you make it through the upcoming grazing season.
Fruit is always a good option for a snack. Since the FDA recommends that you consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, you’ll be satisfying your sweet tooth and getting your daily recommended servings of fruits and veggies all at the same time.
Not all fruits are created equal. For example, fresh fruit is going to be much better for you than a canned fruit that has been packed in a heavy syrup that is loaded with sugar. Whenever possible, consume fresh fruit or dried fruit.
Need to take a platter to a holiday party? You can liven up your fruit with a healthy dipping sauce. Look for alternatives to regular fruit dips, such as a lowfat yogurt, to spice up your fruit tray. Another great alternative is to prepare a fruit dip of melted dark chocolate. Since dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids, it’s beneficial to your heart health and makes a great fruit dip.
You can also use fruit as an alternative ingredient in salads. For example, consider leaving out the bacon bits and adding dried (or fresh) cranberries or raisins instead. You’ll like the results.