Edition 12 Volume 14
4 Ways to Eat Healthy During the Holiday Season
Seniors Tip: Mindful Eating Changes Everything
Joke or Quote of the Month:Always be True to Who You Are
Heart Healthy Recipe:Cranberry Chutney
Did You Know? Humor for Health

4 Ways to Eat Healthy During the Holiday Season

NewsletterThe holidays are a time for us to gather with family and friends to celebrate. For better or worse, with celebration comes food. If you have been working very hard at eating healthy, losing weight, or maintaining your weight, this may be a difficult time for you. The last thing we want to do is over-indulge in all the delicious food that surrounds us during the holiday season. What are some things you can do to avoid over-eating and sabotaging all your hard work?

Prepare Yourself Before the Party

One of the biggest mistakes you can make before heading to a party is to skip a meal or arrive hungry. By eating a light, healthy snack before leaving your own house, you can set yourself up to make better choices. Try a low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, or a small bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk. 

Bring a Healthy Holiday Food 

If you are hosting the party, you have control of the ingredients that are added to the favorite holiday recipes – but as a guest, it is not as easy.     

However, just because you are a guest does not mean you cannot offer to bring a healthy, low-fat dish to add to the selection. Most hosts will welcome an additional dish, and the other guests may enjoy having a healthier option to choose. Consider a simple dish like roasted string beans, or if you offer to bring dessert, consider a pumpkin pie without the crust or baked apples. 

Be Mindful During the Party

The first thing you should do is remember what the celebration is about. Your mind should be focused on enjoying the time with your family and friends. During mealtime, fill your plate up mostly with vegetables. Try not to over-indulge, but you should not feel like you have to avoid any item. Choose items that are your favorite in smaller portions, and eat slowly to savor every bite. 

Avoid drinking beverages that are high in sugar and calories, or at least limit your intake to a single drink. Alcohol adds extra unwanted calories and, if too much is consumed, it lowers inhibitions, which can lead to overeating. Try consuming water with a lemon or lime, skim milk, or diet / sugar-free beverages.

One great way to avoid snacking throughout the party is to plan fun activities to participate in with other guests, such as games or making crafts.

If it is available, set up a tournament with a gaming system that is interactive.

That is a great way to burn some calories and avoid the buffet of snacks sitting out on the counter or table.

Keep Moving

This time of the year should be enjoyable. However, you need to keep physically active, maybe now more than ever. Physical activity reduces stress and gives us more energy. Try fitting in a workout before the party because, more likely than not, you will be tired from all the celebrating afterwards. During the party, go on a brisk walk with some of the other guests or, if there are children around, toss a ball outside. This can give you a burst of energy and a chance to catch up. 

If you like participating in races, sign yourself up for a seasonal 5K run/walk or some other fitness event that will keep you focused and motivated to stay active. 

Remember: The holidays are for celebrating with family and friends. If you must splurge one, two, or even three days during the holiday season, then that really is not going to ruin all of your hard work. It takes an extra 500 calories each day, or 3,500 calories a week, to gain a pound. All the extra snacking can really add up, but you can easily pass up all the treats in the office and keep goodies out of your own home. If you do this, you can feel good allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you look forward to every year. 

Article by Amy Reidenbach, Reprinted with Permission from Senior Living Magazine,


Heart Healthy Recipe: Cranberry Chutney

Newsletter 3This recipe can be made one week in advance. Bring it to room temperature before serving. Serve with the turkey instead of gravy.  Makes 12 servings.


3 cups (750 mL) fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries

1 cup (250 mL) apple, diced (1 apple)

1 cup (250 mL) pear, diced (1 pear)

1 cup (250 mL) pomegranate seeds (1 pomegranate), optional

1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated orange zest, 1 orange

1 tbsp (15 mL) shallot, finely diced

1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh orange juice, from 1 orange

1/3 cup (75 mL) cooking sherry

1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

½ tsp (2 mL) black pepper

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) nutmeg

2 dashes Tabasco sauce


Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan.

Cook over medium-high, stirring frequently for 20 minutes.

Cool to room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

(1/3 cup / 75 mL)-Calories: 37, Protein: 0 g, Fat: 0 g, Saturated fat: 0 g, Dietary cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 9 g, Dietary fibre: 2 g, Sodium: 40 mg, Potassium: 69 mg

Recipe Developed by Nadine Day, Reprinted with Permission from The Heart and Stroke Foundation.


Seniors Tip: Mindful Eating Changes Everything

Newsletter 4Research shows that we often eat more when we are presented with larger amounts of food. Over the past few decades, portion sizes have dramatically increased. Remember seven-ounce soda bottles? Those had 85 calories. Compare that to the 250 calories in the twenty-ounce bottles that are now available. Today’s muffins are so large they make muffins of years past look like mini-muffins.

Because eating can be an automatic behaviour, awareness of portion sizes and calories is the first step to making healthier food choices. Here are some tips to guide you: 

Know your numbers. Start by calculating how many calories are right for you. The Mayo Clinic has an online tool to determine your daily calorie needs.

Focus on nutrition. Go for larger amounts of vegetables and fruits that provide a hefty dose of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, without a lot of calories.

Eat smaller portions of higher calorie foods, such as sweets or foods that have high amounts of added sugar and fat.

Understand serving size vs. portion size. A portion is the amount you choose to eat. A serving is a precise amount of food defined by cups, ounces, grams, or other measurements.

Eat mindfully and enjoy your food. Many of us eat for reasons besides hunger. Happiness, sadness, and stress can all lead you to eat too much without realizing. 

Source: Mayo Clinic, Reprinted with Permission from Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca 

Did you know? Humor for Health

There is a medicine that is proven to strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, reduce your pain, and help diminish stress. Even better, it’s free and comes naturally; it’s laughter. 

Humor is a wonderful thing. We are born knowing how to laugh; infants often smile only weeks after birth and begin laughing after several months. When you laugh, your body relaxes, which eases physical tension and stress. Laughter also increases the amount of “feel-good” endorphins in your body, as well as the number of immune cells and antibodies. Believe it or not, it can even reduce pain.

All too often, we forget to laugh when going through tough times. When a family member receives a painful diagnosis or you struggle with daily tasks, it can be difficult to find humor in anything. Some-times, having someone to laugh with who can help you with your challenges is just what you need to start feeling healthy and happy again. 

If laughter is already part of your life, share it with a loved one in need. Giving care is more than helping with a person’s daily activities; his/her health and happiness are also important. By incorporating humor into your caregiving, you can lift the spirits of your elderly or chronically ill relative. 

Source: Synergy Home Care Blog,, Reprinted with Permission from Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca

Joke or Quote of the Month: Always be True to Who You Are

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time. When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy. It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”

Mark Nepo