We're talking about cookies!! As the holidays quickly approach, I know my downfall will be cookies!!! I love all kind of cookies and there are some holiday favorites that I may just have to pass on if I’m going to maintain my plan for eating for a healthy heart.
But fear not, my fellow heart-healthy eaters ... I have options!!
Last year we made a simple holiday treat that were the hit of our neighborhood ... in fact, some of the local kids have already asked me if I had any yet! Ah, no ... but soon. Obviously I’m going to have to make more than I did last year!
Now, how about your beloved gingerbread men? Some recipes can provide a whopping “oh-oh” to those of us watching our fat and cholesterol. I found a recipe that cuts the fat, not the flavor. These gingerbread men use half the butter normally used in most gingerbread cookie recipes. Applesauce helps the cookies retain their moisture and gives them a soft texture while making them more heart-healthy.
Cook Time: 10 minutes / Total Time: 10 minutes
Per serving: Calories 94, Calories from Fat 16, Fat 1.8g (sat 1g), Cholesterol 11mg, Sodium 48mg, Carbohydrate 18g, Fiber 0.4g, Protein 1.5g
Want an even better one, nutritionally speaking? Try this site.
Need more options?
Want vegan sugar cookies?
How about Cranberry Almond Biscotti?
Whole wheat Spice Guys aka Gingerbread Men?
Now let’s really step outside our holiday box ... up to trying something new? Try Chocolate-Chile Mole Meringues
Most holiday cookies are loaded with butter, sugar, and white flour ... there’s really no escaping the temptation, but you can make smarter choices by going vegetarian to avoid typical holiday fats plus by limiting the number of cookies you eat/make AND making sure you have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy combination of nuts and dried fruit, and get your daily exercise AND PLENTY OF WATER!!
During most holiday get-togethers food is the center of attention. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the just one more attitude or gee, I’ve never tried these before, or I’ll start my healthy eating plan after the holidays dialog with yourself ... so ... take a step back and remember you are important enough to start right now ... holiday or not. If you are hosting a holiday party, try to make the focus of your event something BESIDES food ... like caroling ... ornament decorating party ... bonfires (if you’re lucky enough to live where snow is only a memory of your past) ... games ... or go for a drive and see all the decorations and lights ... bottom line? Make good choices ... you’re worth it.
_ Got the munchies? Wow, do I know how you feel! Or are you thirsty? My research tells me the feeling is the same ... a rather dull ache in your stomach you immediately want to satisfy with food. Of course we all know what happens, don't we? First something sweet/soft, then salty/crunchy until you're so stuffed you don't even feel like moving. Well, my friend, consider this ... have a glass of water first and I’ll bet your hunger pangs will disappear ... for a while.
If you’re like me, it’s easier, well at least more satisfying, to grab a bag of chips than a glass of water - and a lot more fun, too - but the results are wonderful if you manage to make the right choice.
I came across a website blog recently that summed it up well and the bottom line is you might just be thirsty, not hungry. Another site I happened upon offered a tip that the best way to reduce your weight is to recognize the difference between hunger and thirst. Oddly, the feeling is the same so what is a person to do?? DRINK WATER FIRST!
So, here I am ... hungry ... well, thirsty? Some healthy snacks fill my refrigerator - hummus with baked pita chips ... yogurt with some fresh blueberries ... soy-based chocolate brownie ice cream ... homemade lemon meringue pie ... oh, and there are so many more. So easy to reach for something sweet ... then salty ... mushy ... then crunchy ... oh, what to do!! I opted for my purple 24 ounce plastic cup, filled it 3/4 full of big chunks of ice and topped it off with water. Imagine my surprise when I downed it in just a minute or so and wanted more! What is this new feeling? Satisfied without playing the sweet/salty and mushy/crunchy game? Plus, I felt good about ME ... I did it ... I recognized thirst. How refreshing.
So while we’re at it, there will be times you are actually hungry. I’m going to try to drink first before I eat anything and see what happens. I wouldn’t mind losing a couple pounds so aside from the few snack items I mentioned above, if you’re ever looking to improve your snacking, allow me to make a couple of suggestions. Note there are no amounts provided. There are literally hundreds of sites available to offer you some good and healthy snacks. I’m going to limit this list to those that can actually help keep your cholesterol under control or reduce it.
Here goes ...
• Fruits and vegetables are great, but watch (or eliminate) your dips and dressings - I love fresh blueberries, baby carrots, blanched and cold asparagus ... oh, the list goes on and on and on ...
• Nuts and seeds, particularly pistachios, walnuts, and almonds - watch your quantities ... best to measure out a serving and put the bag away!
• Hummus and baked pita chips are wonderful together
• Whole grains - particularly oats - try some low fat cereals and watch your sugar and serving size
• Avocados offer a great unsaturated fat that can increase your levels of HDL. Add a squirt of fresh lime and a dash of sea salt and enjoy.
• 100% cranberry-grape juice - great antioxidants - again watch your serving size
• Yogurt with live active cultures (probiotics) - watch the sugar content - best to buy plain an add your own fruit. Soy yogurts are much improved if you’re lactose intolerant, but be forewarned, some soy yogurts have used a dairy starter so be careful.
You might consider a “clean out the pantry/cabinet” day ... rid your personal space of all the inappropriate junk food and give yourself a chance to succeed!
You won’t regret it, I promise. And, you have a hunger pang and can’t put your hands on that bag of chips you threw out ... grab your favorite glass, add some ice ... and fill it up with water! You weren’t really hungry now were you?
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.