A Healthier Holiday Season: Part 4 with AVH Dietitians

December 29, 2017
With the holidays upon us, we turned to our very own Aspen Valley Hospital Dietitians—Kristy, Sandy and Laurie—to answer some common questions about eating healthier during the holidays. Plus, we have included some tasty recipes to try! This is Part 4 of 5, so stay tuned for more helpful information and delicious dishes.

Our Wonderful Dietitians:

   Sandra Holmes                                      Kristy Bates                                             Laureen Osier

The holidays can be stressful, and I tend to stress eat...what are some ways to avoid this?

Emotional eating is common, and it often increases in holiday time when people feel overextended and overwhelmed by the demands of the season. First, consider addressing the core issues by decreasing the amount you are trying to accomplish and letting go of "picture perfect" expectations of yourself at holiday time. Meditation, prayer, yoga and exercise or relaxing activities like taking a warm bath or reading a book can reduce stress without turning to food.

If you still find yourself heading to the Christmas candy, try a mindful eating approach. Recognize you are eating for reasons other than hunger and minimize the damage. Take 3 deep breaths, slow down and savor your holiday treat. Fully enjoying the taste, smell and feel of what you are eating can help you feel satisfied with less. Know that the occational overeating is part of the normal eating experience.

Get back on track by snacking on seasonal fruits and vegatables, low sugar yogurt, nuts and savory proteins like smoked salmon when hungry, and make time to enjoy activities that leave you energized and joyful this holiday season. 

Happy holidays!

Recipe Ideas!

Pumpkin Pie - "Before" and "After":
This recipe cuts the calories in half while not skimping on the flavor!

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 16-oz can pumpkin
2/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 pre-made pie crust

4 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 16-oz can pumpkin
2/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 12-oz can evaporated skim milk
Phyllo Pie Crust
   4 tsp sugar
   1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
   4 sheets phyllo dough

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray 9" pie pan with nonstick cooking spray
2. To make filling, combine egg whites with canned pumpkin in large bowl. Add sugar and spices. Blend in evaporated skim milk and set aside.
3. To make crust, combine sugar with pumpkin pie spice in a cup and set aside. Stack phyllo sheets, then cut in half to make 8 sheets. Cover with a tea towel until ready to use.
4. Place one sheet of phyllo on the pie pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar mixture.
5. Repeat steps with remining phyllo sheets, fanning them eveninly until the entire pie pan rim is covered.
6. Pour pumpkin filling into phyllo shell and trim excess dough. To prevent crust edges from bruning, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
7. Bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center of pie comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Easy Snacking Mini Chicken Empanadas:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced green onions
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
10 1/2 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 diced hard-boiled egg
1 tablespoon diced black olives
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package refrigerated pie crust dough

1. Heat oven to 375F and coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray
2. In a 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and saute green onions and bell peppers about 2 minutes, until tender and lightly browned
3. Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently
4. Turn of heat and add egg, olives, paprika, salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow bowl to cool
5. On a clean surface, unroll dough and make 24 discs with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter
6.  Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the middle of each dough disc, being careful to about the discs' edges. Lightly wet the edge of the dough with water. Fold each disc in half and press to seal edges, so the shape resembles a half-moon.
7. Crimp around edges with a fork
8. Place emanadas on a prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes

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