You are here: Home Columns Prairie Fare Prairie Fare: Limit Your Holiday Stress
 
Document Actions

Prairie Fare: Limit Your Holiday Stress

Images
Apple Spice Hummus Apple Spice Hummus
Simplifying expectations, eating a healthful diet, getting plenty of exercise and scheduling time for relaxation can help you cope.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

When I flipped the calendar page to December, I felt a little stressed by the short number of days between that moment and the action-packed holiday season ahead. Often, the weeks preceding holidays are filled with baking, shopping, parties, concerts and, of course, regular work.

What happened to November, anyway?

I had a cup of tea and turned on the TV to relax and ponder how to simplify things in the next few weeks. I had my trusty yellow legal pad and a pen to sketch out my simplified plan.

Seeing me writing a list makes my family a little nervous. I had plans for them.

We certainly do not need 14 kinds of cookies, even if we enjoy making them. The other day, I found a container of Snickerdoodle cookies from last year in the bottom of the freezer. I guess I’m the only one who likes them, and after a few of them, I had enough.

I think six of our favorite kinds of treats will be enough to get done. I can make a small batch of Snickerdoodles for me. On second thought, perhaps four treats will suffice.

Maybe I can just buy some cookies.

I think complaints would be registered from my children if we had a “homemade treatless” holiday season. I will ask each of my three kids to pick two favorites, and we will go with that. I was back to six treats on my list.

Stress is inevitable in life. Some stress is OK because it braces us to cope with threats. We may breathe faster, our pulse may quicken and our muscles may tense, just as the bodies of our distant ancestors reacted to dangers generations ago.

Sometimes stress is fleeting and passes when we figure out how to cope with the situation. Other times, serious stress, such as the loss of a loved one or loss of a job, can lead to physical and/or mental health issues. For example, prolonged stress can promote the development of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Simplifying expectations, eating a healthful diet, getting plenty of exercise and scheduling time for relaxation can help you cope with the situation. Be sure to see a qualified health-care professional for other options.

Here’s a list of holiday food ideas to keep your recipes fun, healthful, safe and fairly simple.

  • Keep the celebration simple. How about a soup, bread and salad potluck? If some of your guests do not have time to cook, could they help organize or assist with cleanup?
  • Have fun with your menu ideas. Be sure to feature fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthful foods such as red and green apple wedges with lemon yogurt dip, parfaits made by layering nonfat vanilla yogurt with frozen red berries, pomegranate seeds sprinkled over kiwi slices or spinach dip served with red and green pepper strips and whole-grain pita chips.
  • Slim your recipes. Choose lower-fat versions of your ingredients, such as “light” cream cheese. If you are making a dip, substitute plain, nonfat yogurt for the mayonnaise or sour cream. Choose baked chips instead of fried.
  • Remember food safety for holiday gatherings. Perishable food, such as cut fruit and vegetables, salads, meats and casseroles, should spend no more than two hours at room temperature. Use a slow cooker to hold hot foods hot. Keep food warm in the oven until you serve it. Keep cold foods cold by making an “ice nest” by setting bowls or plates of food inside or on top of bowls of ice to help keep the food cold. Replace the ice if it melts.
  • Make activity part of the celebration. Organize a sledding party. If it’s too cold outdoors, make room for dancing indoors.
  • Explore some new recipes. Visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on “recipes” for hundreds of foods in categories such as appetizers, soups, breads and main dishes. Check out all the nutrition resources and videos, too.

Here’s a guilt-free dip with fiber and plenty of flavor. Serve it with red and green apple slices for a festive treat. Visit our new pulse foods collection at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/pulse-crops to learn more about chickpeas, lentils and split peas and ways to incorporate them into a healthful diet.

Apple Spice Hummus

2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled and chopped

1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

2 to 3 Tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional

Apple slices, carrot slices and/or whole-wheat crackers

In a food processor bowl or blender container, place the following ingredients: chickpeas, apples, lemon juice, peanut butter, water, salt and spices. Cover and process or blend until smooth; transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to three days. Serve dip with apple slices, carrot slices and/or whole-wheat crackers.

Makes 28 servings (2 Tbsp. each). Each serving has 80 calories, 3 grams (g) of fat, 3 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrate, 1 g of fiber, 140 milligrams (mg) of sodium, 15 micrograms of folate and 0.5 mg of iron.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)


NDSU Agriculture Communication – Dec. 4, 2014

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
Attachments
Apple Spice Hummus
(apple spice hummus.jpg - 670.67 Kb)
Columns
BeefTalk: BeefTalk: Reproductive Performance in Commercial Beef Herds is Remarkable  (2017-11-22)  As a whole, today’s cattle reproduce very well.  FULL STORY
Prairie Fare: Prairie Fare: How Much Do You Know About Frozen Food Storage?  (2017-11-22)  Freezing is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to preserve food if you have the proper equipment.   FULL STORY
 
Use of Releases
The news media and others may use these news releases in their entirety. If the articles are edited, the sources and NDSU must be given credit.
 

Powered by Plone, the Open Source Content Management System