NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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'Tis the Season

December seems to be a month with more than the average number of socials, parties, and other get-togethers.  Food is typically a part of most of these gatherings, and often-times during this month, calorie-laden foods are very popular.  It’s fun to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the foods of the season.  But if you leave the gathering thinking or feeling that you ate too much, it takes some of the fun away.  Be proactive!  Do what you can to be festive without sacrificing good health.  Here are some do-able ideas to get you started!

Keep your celebrations simple.  Try a soup, bread and salad potluck.  For guests who are non-cooks, offer them the option to help organize and/or clean up.

Add color and fun to your menu by including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Try red and green apple wedges with lemon yogurt dip.  Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over kiwi slices.  Serve spinach dip with red and green pepper strips and whole-grain pita chips.  Make parfaits by layering nonfat vanilla yogurt, whole-grain granola, and fresh or frozen berries.

Scale down your recipes.  Choose lower-fat versions of ingredients.  Substitute plain nonfat yogurt for the mayonnaise or sour cream in your recipes.  Choose baked chips rather than fried chips.  Explore new recipes, nutrition resources and videos at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food.   Click on “recipes” for appetizers, soups, breads, and main dishes. 

Be your own food police to help assure food safety.  Keep cold foods cold by putting the bowl or platter in an “ice nest.”  Keep hot foods hot by using a slow cooker.  Remember the two-hour rule, making sure that perishable foods such as sliced fruits and vegetables, salads, meats, and casseroles spend less than two hours at room temperature.  Use appropriate sized serving bowls and platters, and never mix fresh food into food that’s been setting out on the buffet.

Make activity a part of the gathering or celebration.  Do winter well!   Go sledding, skating, skiing or snowshoeing.  Play snow tag or build a snowman.  If you are staying indoors, move furniture to the side to make room for dancing!

Scones anyone?  This month’s issue of the NDSU Extension Service Foodwi$e newsletter has a recipe for blueberry or cranberry scone mix.  I’m eager to try it, and may make some to give as gifts, too!

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