Tag Archive for: holidays

Gingerbread – Delicious AND Healthy?

There’s no denying that gingerbread is a classic holiday dessert. Flavored with ginger, cloves, allspice and some additional sweetening ingredients, this tasty treat offers some nutritional benefits that might just surprise you!

Benefits of Ginger

Originating in Southeast Asia, ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet. The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger comes from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in the spice, responsible for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. According to National Library of Medicine, gingerol could also explain ginger’s role in keeping blood sugar levels steady, which helps to control on of the long-term effects of type 2 diabetes. The health benefits of ginger are endless, such as reducing symptoms of nausea, helping with osteoarthritis, and treating uncomfortable indigestion.

Additional Spice Benefits

Depending on the recipe, the spices used with ginger are equally as healthy. With significant levels of copper and iron, allspice is ideal for increased circulation and blood flow. Eugenol, quercetin, and tannins are all chemical compounds that aid in the antioxidant properties within allspice, perfect for removing toxins from the body.

Known for their sweet and fragrant spice, cloves have also been used for their medicinal properties. In fact, one teaspoon of ground cloves contains 55% of the daily value of manganese, an essential mineral for healthy brain function and building strong bones. Studies have also shown that due to their antimicrobial properties that help to eliminate harmful bacteria, cloves may promote oral health in combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene.

It is important to note that despite their many health benefits, gingerbread cookies and cakes are often loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, so too much of a good thing can be bad.

Check out some of our favorite recipes that feature ginger for more inspiration!

Ginger Roasted Salmon

This fish is loaded with nutrients, tasty, versatile, and widely available no matter where you live. A great source of protein, salmon is also rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Pumpkin and Lentil Salad

This salad is bursting with healthful goodness, packed with antioxidants, tons of fiber, and plenty of protein to keep you full longer.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

Did someone say pumpkin and gingerbread in the same sentence? That’s right folks, you’ve been asking for fall and this recipe gets you there faster than ever before.

Diabetic Friendly Food Tips

Navigating the Holidays as a Diabetic

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN | Nutrition Supervisor

Food choices can feel difficult to make during the holiday season if you are diabetic. It’s especially hard to make good choices among a spread of options at every holiday party and get together. Taking time to make a plan before the event is a good way to avoid temptation; you’ll feel good about your choices and your body will too.

Tips to Stay on Track

Be a picky eater when choosing your foods. Scan the options first before choosing and find a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables.

Choose a smaller dinner plate. Use a plate that is 9” in diameter or smaller to combat overeating for better portion control. Avoid going back for extra helpings of carbohydrate foods like potatoes, stuffing, casseroles, and dessert.

Serve yourself non-starchy, low carbohydrate foods first as these foods won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar. Vegetables like asparagus, green beans, carrots, leafy greens, mushrooms, and broccoli are all great low carbohydrate options.

Watch the drinks which can contain hidden calories and sugar. Opt for water, zero-calorie sparkling water, or only one glass of something special!

Stay active by taking time to walk around mingling, playing with family members, or helping to cook and prepare food.

Find substitutions for ingredients when you are preparing any food. Offer to bring a dessert that you can enjoy and know how it will fit into your other choices (ex. sugar-free pudding with cool whip, baked apples, oatmeal bars). Check out NOAH’s collection of healthy recipes for inspiration!

Don’t skip meals in anticipation of a feast! Although we want to save up our calories for a great dinner, make sure meals or snacks are still included during the day to avoid spikes in blood sugar.

Although the holiday season might seem challenging, use the tips above to make it more manageable. The holidays are more than food – they’re about seeing family and friends, playing games, and enjoying good company. Don’t get down on yourself. Making small changes is a great first step, and we’re here to help!

Learn how to manage your diabetes with the help of a NOAH dietitian. Call 480-882-4545 to schedule an appointment or request one online.

Coping Skills for this Holiday Season

Holidays and emotional health go hand in hand. These past few years have asked a lot of all of us, emotionally and mentally. That’s why mental health this holiday season (and always, really) should be something we think about. And, we all benefit from using healthy coping skills. NOAH’s experts weigh in on coping skills and the holiday season below.

First, we hope you have readjusted your expectations for 2021 vs. prior to COVID. Some things may be “back to normal” and some things and people may not be quite the same as pre-COVID (that includes you!). If you expect a holiday season that is picture perfect, when real life doesn’t meet your expectation, the reaction can be very real and very difficult.  

Now that we’ve all adjusted our expectations, our NOAH behavioral health experts share good coping skills. Learn healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety and depression, your day and however you are celebrating the holidays this year. Coping skills can be different from person to person, and in different situations.

Try these coping skills and use what works best for you

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. There is a lot more about this important step in a previous post, so read about that here.
  2. Talk to someone. This can be a counselor or therapist, or it can be a friend or family member who helps you feel heard and calms the situation without getting involved.
  3. Slow down. If you are doing too many things, being everything for everyone, it’s time to slow down and take a break.
  4. Make a list. If you have a lot to do (see #3 above), and it is causing stress, make a list. Crossing things off your list also gives you a sense of accomplishment which is a positive feeling.
  5. Do deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises can have a lot of benefits to your overall health. Take deep breaths in, hold it for several seconds and slowly exhale. Repeat this for a minute or two.
  6. Get distracted. Step away from what is causing you anxiety or depression. Try to lose yourself in something else, like a puzzle, an easy project, adult coloring books, yard work or whatever can keep you distracted for a while.
  7. Take a walk. Walking outdoors is great for your health. Not only is the exercise good, fresh air and sunshine are helpful for your overall health. Plus, taking a walk can distract you (#6) and help you slow down (#3) as well.
  8. Use your five senses. Do something that engages different senses. Notice what is around you using sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. This will give your mind a break from things that may be causing stress.

This holiday season can hold a lot of different feelings and emotions, and that is okay. Be kind to yourself and others. And, most importantly, enjoy the holiday season however you celebrate it.