Cook Together #28 // Nutrition: Healthy Holidays

Menu: Chicken, potatoes, apples, delicata squash, kale, onion

Happy Holidays everyone! Welcome to the season of giving and eating! Many of us are hosting dinners, parties and making gifts of food for family and friends, so this is an opportune time to slow down and take a deeper dive into what is actually in the ingredients and food we are offering.

Food manufacturers love to sneak in additives, chemicals, preservatives and plenty of excess sugar in foods that are labeled or considered relatively healthy like breakfast cereal, yogurt, snack and protein bars, as well as ketchup, sauces and dressings, to name a few. This all started with the low-fat craze in the 1950’s and hasn’t really slowed down since. Not so coincidently, this was also the genesis of the obesity and diabetes epidemic in the US.

In terms of hidden sugars there are a couple of things consumers should consider in order to make sensible choices – and to be able to enjoy granny’s apple pie and cookies without the consequences. Truth is our pancreas can only process roughly 30 grams of sugar a day – so choose wisely. If you start the day with a sweetened yogurt and a banana you have already met your quota. However, if you start the day with some protein, healthy fat and a small amount of carbohydrate, you can perhaps make room for a small slice of granny’s pie. Sugar is sugar – it comes in many different names – 61 at current count. So this is a gentle reminder to read food labels and specifically note the serving size and grams of sugar to avoid hidden sugars so you can quite literally, “have your cake, and eat it too.”

* Keri Romerdahl RDN CD

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