Merry Christmas

Christmas tree vegetable platter

Christmas wreath vegetable platter

This year for Christmas eve dinner, my mom put me in charge of… (you guessed it) the vegetable tray! I used this post for inspiration. Happy holidays!

– Kelly

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5 Healthy Holiday Snacks

Did you enjoy my 12 days of Christmas fruit and veggie platters? For days when you don’t need an entire tray of holiday food, here are 5 healthy snack ideas. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them!

Candy-Cane-Fruit

image via The Diva Dish

xmasbens

image via Little Nummies

watermelontree

image via Shop Lasoo

snowman dinner (2)

image via Nifty, Thrifty, & Thriving

20b2bc68-910e-46d1-857f-0301d757d2ad

image via Live Better America

For more Christmas food inspiration, check out my Christmas food board on Pinterest. Happy holidays!

– Kelly

12 Days of Christmas Fruit & Veggie Platters

Only 12 days left until the big day! Here is a roundup of the best fruit & veggie platters from around the web to take you all the way to Christmas. Sweet treats are handed out left and right this time of year, so nutrient dense produce is exactly what the season calls for to give your blood sugar and waistband a little break. These would also be great to bring to class parties for children, or any holiday party. My family always serves appetizers on Christmas Eve, so I hope to see an inspired platter such as one of these at our celebration.

https://i1.wp.com/comfyinthekitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/IMG_7128.jpg

1. image via Roo mag

2. Image via Julia Usher

littlewonders

3. Image via Little Wonders’ Days

4. Image via Ginger and Garlic

5. Image via good + happy days

Snowman

6. Image via What about Watermelon

7. Image via My Spice Sage

Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter

8. Image via Betty Crocker

Crudite Christmas Tree

9. Image via Wendy Copley

wannagreenbean

10. Image via Wanna Green Bean
https://i0.wp.com/veggiewala.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/wreath_0002.jpg

11. Image via Veggie Wala

12. Image via Keitha’s Chaos

Craving veggies yet? I hope that these images inspire you as much as they inspire me! For plenty of other Christmas food ideas, see my Christmas Food page on Pinterest. Looking for a cute holiday veggie plating, rather than a veggie platter? Check out my Christmas tree plating of brown rice, green beans, and cranberries. Stay tuned for healthy holiday snack ideas!

– Kelly

Healthy Gift Guide Part 2: The Nutrition Nut

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas shopping season is in full swing. Do you have any health conscious friends or loved ones still left to shop for? This gift guide is full of great gift ideas to inspire healthy lifestyle choices.

Part 2: The Nutrition Nut: As promised, here is part 2 of my holiday gift guide. These gifts are my picks for anyone with an interest in nutrition and healthy eating, including those in the nutrition field. I am sure that my fellow RDs would be more than happy to see any of these picks under the tree!

nutrition gifts

  1. “You are what you eat” T shirt, $22: I love the illustration on this fun and funky tee, which I first spotted A Piece of Toast fashion blog. Wear it with pride, and remind others that what you put into your body is a conscious decision, as well as a fun one.
  2. “An Apple a Day” 18×14 print, $29: This cute print is a cheery reminder to nourish the body, and would be a perfect inspirational piece for the kitchen. This would also look great in the office of any health professional.
  3. Caloric Cuvee Wine Glass, $20: While I don’t recommend pulling this out for important guests, this wine glass does make a great educational tool. Although this is not meant to encourage unhealthy calorie-counting fixations, it is a great reminder that alcoholic calories add up quickly, and should be accounted for when monitoring health.
  4. Vegetable iPhone Case, $35: This cute and colorful case is a great way to give veggies the attention they deserve. For something a little more cheeky, see this case. Available for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5.
  5. Rubbermaid Salad Kit, $13:  There are several different on-the-go salad containers on the market, but I love how this particular model has a tray for toppings in addition to a dressing container. I don’t have a portable salad kit yet, but with over 100 5-star reviews, this would be my pick.
  6. The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life (2008), $28: This James Beard and IACP award winner should be a staple in every healthy kitchen. My copy is bookmarked out the wazoo! Ellie Krieger is a Registered Dietitian, and provides ample nutrition information for each of her creative and flavorful recipes. She also has two newer cookbooks: So Easy (2009), and Comfort Food Favorites (2010).

Did you miss part 1 of my healthy gift guide? Then check out gifts for Farmers Market Foodies here. Happy shopping!

-Kelly

Healthy Gift Guide Part 1: The Farmers Market Foodie

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas shopping season is in full swing. Do you have any health conscious friends or loved ones still left to shop for? This gift guide is full of great gift ideas to inspire healthy lifestyle choices.

Part 1: The Farmers Market Foodie. These gifts are perfect for anyone that frequents farmers markets, appreciates fresh produce, or is passionate about local, sustainable food.

Healthy Gift Guide part 1: Gifts for for Farmers Market Foodies

  1. Squash Identification Dishtowel, $16. This adorable dish towel perfectly captures the spirit of fresh produce. Is anyone else reminded of page 77 of Julia Rothman’s Farm Anatomy?
  2. American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, $30. The White House organic garden has quickly become a national symbol for the local food revolution. This book is the perfect gift to give your favorite locavore. And as a bonus, it also recently received praise from Marion Nestle. A win in my book!
  3. CSA Box, price varies, usually $325-$600 per growing season. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. By purchasing a CSA subscription, you are essentially purchasing a share of the farm. In return, you receive boxes with a variety of local produce on a weekly, bimonthly, monthly basis, depending on the farm. Shares often come in various sizes, and half shares are sometimes available for smaller households. I would google your city + CSA (example: Boston CSA) to find CSA options in your area. Click here for CSA options in the Boston area.
  4. edible: A Celebration of Local Foods, $30. From the makers of edible communities magazines, this is more than just a cookbook. This book highlights recipes from different culinary regions across America, as well as recognizes local food heroes. Additionally, a copy of your local edible would be the perfect addition to any local food gift basket. Edibles are produced for 70 cities across the US and Canada. To see if your community has an edible magazine, click here.
  5. Home Grown Garden Card Set (set of 8), $18. These cards perfectly capture the spirit of home gardening. They come blank, and would be the perfect vehicle to share your thanks with your local food producer.
  6. State by State Food Tote Bag, $25. This adorable tote bag is perfect for carrying home all of your locally grown goodies. The geographic touches make this pick one of my favorites!
  7. Artichoke iPhone Case, $35. This unique case will keep the spirit of your favorite market alive, even after the last harvest. Available for iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5.
  8. Farmers Market 8×10 Print, $18. This cheery print is perfect for any farmers market aficionado.
  9. Farmer’s Market Cards (set of 6), $14. These beautiful watercolor cards are printed on textured linen coverstock, and the inside is blank for your own thoughts. What a lovely way to share the beauty of farmers markets!

Check back soon for part 2 of my Healthy Gift Guide. The next one is going to have a nutrition focus. Still looking for more gift ideas? Check out this awesome gift guide for Boston Foodies! These picks would be perfect for any of my classmates in the BU Gastronomy program. Happy shopping!

-Kelly

Holiday Vegetable Plating: Christmas Tree

Healthy Christmas Tree

Now that it’s December, I’m ready to fully embrace the Christmas season, and my meals are no exception! This holiday vegetable plating is a delicious and healthy way to get into the Christmas spirit, and it is also a great way to create a meal based on the MyPlate guidelines.

Healthy Christmas Tree

Instructions: I arranged ½ cup brown rice (cooked in low sodium chicken broth), 1 cup of green beans (boiled), and 2 tablespoons of cranberries (also boiled) on the plate in a tree shape. I then drizzled the tree with 1 teaspoon of good balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled on a tiny bit of rosemary and thyme.

Nutrition (using ingredients as listed above): 161 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 43mg sodium, 6mg potassium, 33g carbohydrates (6.5g fiber, 4g sugars), 5g protein, 5% Vitamin A, 16% Vitamin C, 6% Calcium, 5% Iron

To make a meal, pair this with your favorite protein food! I paired mine with leftover turkey, but this vegetable plating would also look excellent with a roasted chicken. This holiday vegetable plating is also the perfect formula for following the latest nutrition guidelines. By making half of your plate fruits and vegetables (green beans and cranberries), a quarter of your plate whole grains (brown rice), and a quarter of your plate lean protein (your choice- I used Turkey), you are following the nutrition guidelines as suggested by MyPlate (see below).

MyPlate

Are you a fan of cute holiday foods made HEALTHY? Inspired by my post on the Best Thanksgiving Fruit and Veggie Platters from Around the Web, I will be posting a collection of the best Christmas themed fruit and veggie platters. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks!

-Kelly

3 Candy Free Advent Calendar Ideas

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to start brainstorming for the next holiday season- Advent season! The holidays are fun, but it is easy to get swept up in a cycle of continuously giving and receiving desserts. Don’t get me wrong, holiday treats are sweet. But it is also a good idea to build holiday traditions that aren’t centered on food. To help solve that problem, here is my round up of 3 fun Advent Calendar ideas that don’t involve candy.

1. Book Advent Calendar (Image via Apartment Therapy)

I absolutely adore this Advent Book Calendar idea! Not only is it a great way to get kids in the holiday spirit without resorting to cookies and candy, but it is also a great way to spend quality time with your family and make sure that all of your December favorites get read. Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy 24 new books! My family has accumulated enough holiday books over the years that we could easily wrap up (and non holiday books could work as well). Just make sure that Twas the Night Before Christmas is book number 24! Plus, reading is also a great way to build a healthy mind!

2. Advent Tea Calendar (image via Red Red Completely Red)

I was immediately drawn to this Advent Tea Calendar when I saw it online. Conventional Advent Calendars usually contain pieces of bite-sized candy that are forgotten as quickly as they are eaten. What I love about the Advent Tea Calendar is that not only is it a healthier alternative to candy, but it allows you slow down and enjoy the holiday season. Tea is brimming with cancer fighting antioxidants, and has just enough caffeine to give you clarity. So take time to enjoy a cup of tea each day this season! You’ll be glad you did.

3. Random Acts of Kindness Calendar (Image via TSJ Photography)

When you do good, you feel good. Random acts of kindness are a great way to spread holiday cheer, and are also a great example for young children. Can’t think of 24 ideas? Look here and here for inspiration.

I hope that you enjoy these ideas! Does your family do anything special for Advent?

-Kelly