Yes it’s that time of the year. Us Canadians will get together, stuff our faces with turkey, walk around and check out some foliage, pop a few extra strength TUMS and go to bed. I couldn’t think of anything better 🙂 As a Dietitian, many people expect that I will tell them “oh no, you can’t eat this, you should eat that, avoid this!” Nope, not my plan. Holidays are not the time to think about weight management or to deny yourself the foods that you love. To me, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. It’s about giving thanks to all the parts of your life that make you happy and truly grateful (can you tell I’ve become a total zen Yogi? Namaste!). For example:
- I am thankful that I live in a country where I have access to healthy, delicious food and clean drinking water
- I am thankful that I have a job I enjoy. My job also generates the money I use for my passions and hobbies (cooking, traveling, snowboarding, yoga etc)
- I am thankful that I have my health, and that those I love have their health too
- I am thankful for my support systems (friends, family, boyfriend) that love me unconditionally
Alright, it wouldn’t be very Dietitian-y of me to finish this post without some nutrition tips. Sorry y’all! I thought I could highlight one of my favourite holiday foods: Cranberries!
To me there is nothing better than dousing my plate (and I mean on top of EVERYTHING) with cranberry sauce. And why not? Cranberries are nutrition superstars. They have loads of vitamin C and are high in potent phytochemicals called proanthcyanidins (say that sentence three times fast!), which help reduce the risk of developing urinary tract infections. Cranberries are also locally produced in Ontario and are in season from September-December.
Now cranberries are naturally quite tart. Meaning to make a traditional cranberry sauce, you usually add a boatload of sugar to off-set the tartness. I don’t mind a bit of tart, but have you ever eaten a fresh cranberry? Wooo! You could use an artificial sugar like Sucralose in your sauce, but I personally don’t like artificial sweeteners so I would rather go au naturel. After a bit of searching I found a recipe for a healthy cranberry sauce that I am going to make this weekend. I’ve adapted it to include a few of my favourite fall spices, so feel free to experiment! Original recipe c/o The Naked Label
Cranberry Sauce: 3 cups fresh cranberries. 1 cup water. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (NOT table syrup, try medium grade for a more robust flavour). 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice. 1/2 tsp grated orange zest (optional). 2-3 whole cloves (optional). 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1. Add water and cranberries to a pot and bring to a boil. Then turn down the temperature and simmer for approximately 10 minutes (the cranberries will start to pop).
2. Add in the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, cloves and cinnamon stick (if using). Stir to combine, smashing the cranberries up with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes to thicken slightly.
3. Let cool. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves (if using). Serve and enjoy!
I will be taking the long weekend off to visit family and friends, but I will be back again posting next week. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! xo