Happy Kwanzaa Time!

This week long ceremony of bountiful feasts, storytelling, music, dance and rich symbolism serves as a window to the African heritage – and provides us with an opportunity to samples some tasty African fare in the process. The Kwanzza concept is actually relatively new. It was created in 1966 by Maulana Ron Karenga, a prominent activist in the Black Power Movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s who wanted to give Black Americans and opportunity to celebrate their common heritage in a non-religious tradition. Kwanzaa (the Swahili word for “first fruits of the harvest”) doesn’t represent any specific African holiday but instead incorporates elements of harvest festival celebrated throughout Africa

Holiday treats can fit into a healthy eating plan

Sweet treats, including cookies and cakes, are on many people’s minds and tables during the holidays. With increased focus on trans fats, the process of hydrogenation that makes liquid oils into solid fats, you may be wondering how you can enjoy these holiday goodies. You can substitute traditional baking ingredients with healthier options to help lower trans fat intake. Go easy on foods with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated oils” Switch to oils or trans fat-free margarines Add healthy ingredients to cake or cookie batters, like raisins or toasted nuts instead of chocolate chips Choose products that are trans fat-free. In addition to limiting trans fat intake, think about cutting ba

Holidays = Joy, Celebration and Food

Holiday gatherings mean special people, special foods and lots of temptation to indulge. While celebrations often lead to overeating, it is easy to keep things under control if you’ve got a plan. Start your day with a small meal that includes whole grains, fruit, dairy foods and protein like eggs, ham or peanut butter. Grab smaller snacks throughout the day, saving most of your calories for the main meal. Don’t starve yourself before the meal. The longer you go without eating, the more you eat when you sit down for a meal. Select foods carefully. Think about what foods you want to eat, which ones you will just sample and which ones you will skip. Lastly, enjoy the celebration. Pace your eati

Dealing with Stress during the Holidays

As the holiday season gets more chaotic, people often find themselves eating even when they aren’t hungry. Eating as a result of stress is common for many people. It’s often a learned behavior and one that many people don’t realize is the cause of their eating. If you find yourself eating every time things get a little stressful, take a minute to figure out why you’re feeling that way. Write down what you are eating, how it tastes and most importantly, how hungry you are. If the answer is, not hungry at all, you may be eating in response to stress. Curb these habits by continuing to journal how you feel along with what and why you are eating. With time, you will begin to recognize behaviors