LIFESTYLES by Ronda Gates Weekly Message
Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.

Holiday Treats

Regardless of you religious preference, your holiday season may be dotted with parties. I have long looked at decorations, house lights and gatherings with friends and family as a blessing and opportunity to keep the inevitable depression that can come with too short days. In the Pacific Northwest, where it can be gray for days at a time, it's even more important to keep our spirits up to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome (SADS). SADS is caused by the lack of full spectrum (sun)light during Fall and Winter months. The darker days signal the brain to overproduce the hibernation hormone, melatonin. Also, without sunlight, the brain doesn't produce enough serotonin, which results in the symptoms of depression. I've written about SADS in previous newsletters. If you want a review visit for newsletter archives.

But I digress. Parties often call for something to contribute to a pot luck. Here's seven suggestions that are quick to fix and sure to be a hit:

  • 1. Purchase a bag of fresh greens and add berries (I've used high in antioxidant cranberries, blueberries and raspberries or grape), 1/4 cup of walnuts and 4 oz. of low fat feta or goat cheese. Toss lightly with Paul Newman's Low Fat Rasberry Vinegarette dressing for a 3 cup serving that's less than 200 calories.
  • 2. Purchase two cans of a high in quality clam chowder and a can of minced clams. Mix, heat and serve.
  • 3. Purchase a low fat hummus and a package of pita bread. Cut the bread into triangles and toast to dip in the hummus.
  • 4. I make a lowfat guacamole dip by mixing the fruit from one avocado with some blended low fat cottage cheese, garlic and salsa. Serve with crunchy low fat chips.
  • 5. Cook frozen edamame (in pods) according to package directions; Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and serve.
  • 6. An angel food cake, fresh or frozen berrie and light whipped topping makes a quick and colorful dessert.
  • 7. I make a Trifle-like dessert by cutting a lemon sponge cake into one inch cubes that I press into the bottom of a one quart shallow bowl. I blend 8 oz of fat free cream cheese and a can of cherry pie topping and pour it over the soaked cake. Chill to let the flavors blend and serve.

If you overdo it on calories at a party add another 2500 steps to your workout the next day. Walk up and down stairs instead of using elevators. Use a portable phone and move while you talk. Don't ride when you can walk. Make time for stress reduction that includes actively relaxing muscles which can tighten when there's a lot on your life plate! Put on a happy face. Count your blessings.

Enjoy the season.

Weekly Messages Lifestyles

LIFESTYLES by Ronda Gates
1378 Casada Ct, Leisure World
Mesa, AZ 85206
Phone: 480-242-4812
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