I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… sangria… one that contains few calories …. Lalala….
Are you drinking of relaxing over this holiday with a delicious cocktail that won’t pack in the calories and sugar? Me too! That’s why I decided to combine my two favorite adult beverages (wine & rum) into a healthy slimmed down sangria that pairs perfectly with this week’s festivities. On top of it being Christmas Eve, it’s also Joey’s 2nd birthday, so I figured I deserved some celebration time myself- you know to mark my 2 year anniversary of never sleeping thanks to one very fun, but very hyper toddler 😉 So yes, I need a drink!
You do have to prep a little to make this drink (it doesn’t take long, I swear) because you want to allow time for the fruit to defuse into the alcohol for a sweet taste. You can still make the drink with the fruit without allowing it time to defuse, but it won’t taste quite as sweet. So if you can, make this overnight tonight and it will be ready for you to enjoy all day tomorrow – of course if you start enjoying it too early it may lead to a very early bedtime for you. Hey, maybe that’s the solution to Joey’s sleep problems- just kidding!
I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, a happy holiday, and of course a happy & healthy New Year! Enjoy!
Slimmed Down White Christmas Sangria
- 1 bottle Pinot Grigio (750 mL bottle)
- 1/2 cup fruit infused white rum (I used Bacardi Razz)
- 1 cup 100% white grape juice
- 2 cups seltzer water
- 1 cup sliced red apple
- 1 cup sliced green apple
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
In a large bowl, place sliced fruit, rum, and wine and chill for 2 hours. In a large pitcher, mix together the fruit & alcohol mixture along with the grape juice and seltzer. Add 1 cup of ice to chill. Serve by scooping some fruit into a wine glass and pouring liquid mixture on top. Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
95 calories, 8gm carbs
*Remember if you have #diabetes, alcohol can increase the chances of hypoglycemia- drink responsibly, test blood sugar often, and never drink on an empty stomach
On average, Americans consume about 20 teaspoons of added caloric sweeteners daily.1 This is two to three times the recommendation from the American Heart Association, which suggests that most women consume no more than 100 calories of added sugar (about 6 teaspoons) per day, and most men consume no more than 150 calories of added sugar (about 9 teaspoons) per day.2 Increased intake of added sugars can have a negative impact on health, including decreasing HDL-cholesterol levels and elevating triglyceride levels.3
Helping patients reduce their intake of added sugars can be a struggle, especially during the holidays if they experience frequent food cravings. However, food cravings themselves may be brought on by the meal choices your patient makes. One study compared brain activity following consumption of a high glycemic index meal, such as a meal rich in added sugars and refined grains, to consumption of a low glycemic index meal. Eating a high glycemic index meal resulted in lower blood glucose and increased hunger, and stimulated the regions of the brain associated with reward and cravings in the late postprandial period, which could impact food choices at the next meal.4This finding points to the possible value of helping our patients reduce the glycemic load of meals in an effort to help increase satiety and reduce overall cravings. The good news is, working to lower the glycemic index through simple substitutions, such as swapping brown rice for white rice, may be a tool to help manage the spikes and dips in blood sugar that may occur from more refined, starchy carbs.
Researchers are also exploring the role of added sugars in leptin resistance.5Leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, helps signal the brain to decrease food consumption and increase energy expenditure. Leptin resistance has been referred to as the hallmark of obesity.6 A recent study found a significant correlation between plasma leptin levels and carbohydrate cravings.7 This may be especially valuable information for those with diabetes or prediabetes, as insulin resistance has been associated with leptin resistance.8
To help curb cravings this holiday season, one strategy may be to work with your patients to help them reduce the overall glycemic load of their meal choices, while simultaneously working with them to reduce intake of added sugars. This combination may help fight cravings, as well as manage hunger. As mentioned earlier, certain meal swaps may help reduce the glycemic load and limit added sugars without sacrificing flavor. For instance, work with your clients to find whole grain alternatives to common refined grain choices such as whole grain pasta over white pasta or steal cut oats over instant oatmeal. Added sugars can also be reduced by making simple swaps, such as seltzer for soda, 100% juice for fruit juice, and unsweetened teas for sweetened varieties.
Making a few easy swaps to meals and snacks may help boost satiety, rather than stimulate cravings. When our patients’ cravings are diminished, the goals of improved blood glucose management and reduced body weight may become easier to work towards, and our overall health may be enhanced.
1. American Heart Association. 19 May 2014. Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sugar_UCM_306725_Article.jsp#.Vk4AKBNViko
2. Johnson R, et al. Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. 2009. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf. Accessed November 10, 2015.
3. Welsh JA, et al. Caloric sweetener consumption and dyslipidemia among US adults. JAMA. 2010 Apr 21;303(15):1490-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.449. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3045262/
4. Lennerz BS, et al. Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep;98(3):641-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.064113. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743729/
5. Shapiro A, et al. Prevention and reversal of diet-induced leptin resistance with a sugar-free diet despite high fat content. Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug;106(3):390-7. doi: 10.1017/S000711451100033X. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21418711. Full text accessible at http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN106_03%2FS000711451100033Xa.pdf&code=b39b75fcef66d9e30244640216120c97
6. Lustig RH, et al. Obesity, leptin resistance, and the effects of insulin reduction. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Oct;28(10):1344-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15314628
7. Licinio J, Negrao AB, Wong ML. Plasma leptin concentrations are highly correlated to emotional states throughout the day. Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 28;4:e475. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.115. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350520/
8. Fischer S, et al. Insulin-resistant patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have higher serum leptin levels independently of body fat mass. Acta Diabetol. 2002 Sep;39(3):105-10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12357293
Guest Post By Elana Natker, MS, RD
Eating well during pregnancy is important for a healthy birth and healthy baby – makes perfect sense, right? But emerging research suggests that mom’s diet may have lifelong effects on the baby – such as increasing risk of heart disease and other later-in-life chronic conditions. Known as the “Barker Hypothesis” and named after researcher David Barker in the United Kingdom, the theory is that environment – namely the environment of the uterus – plays a critical role in the development of the fetus. If the mother does not eat enough, that could activate genes to create cells in the growing baby’s body which are programmed to hold onto as much nutrients as possible. So while the baby might be born small and underweight after living in essentially a starved environment (in his mom’s belly), he might quickly catch up and then become overweight, since his body may have adapted to storing nutrients (such as fat) to draw upon later in the event of future starvation. This so-called fetal programming may also increase the baby’s risk for developing heart and coronary diseases in adulthood.
While this is still very much a hypothesis and much more research needs to be done, there is one thing we can’t argue: a healthy pregnancy resulting in a normal-weight baby is critical.
So what should a mama eat when she’s pregnant? For starters, don’t eat for two! A baby isn’t a second adult and doesn’t need the same number of calories as his mom. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a pregnant mom should:
- Not increase daily calories at all in the first trimester;
- Have about 340 additional calories per day in the second trimester; and
- Take in about 450 additional calories per day in her third trimester.
The additional calories should all be high-quality calories that promote growth and development. Foods like beans which provide folate to prevent neural tube defects, fatty fish like salmon or mackerel which provide EPA and DHA fatty acids to support brain and eye development, lowfat dairy foods like milk and yogurt for bone-building calcium and vitamin D, and lean red meat for iron which keeps blood healthy.
Of course, eating healthy foods can be challenging when pregnant and dealing with food aversions and overpowering smells (since the sense of smell is heightened during pregnancy – great for popcorn, bad for kimchi). Your best bet is to meet with a registered dietitian who can help create a plan based on your personal preferences and meal patterns. An online research I like is this meal plan developed by RDs and featured in Parents magazine: http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/nutrition/prenatal-meal-plan/.
Elana Natker, MS, RD, is a nutrition communications consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. Find her online at www.enlightennutrition.com and @elanaRD on Twitter.
If you are like most parents I know, you probably strive to be perfect. Your trying to be the perfect mother, the perfect friend, perfect spouse, etc. And on top of it, you are trying to eat perfectly and be in perfect shape. STOP TRYING TO BE SO FREAKIN’ PERFECT! 🙂 It’s doing more harm than good. This is the #1 mistake I see my clients make when trying to lose weight. If you just relax, except the fact that you can’t do it all and you will never be perfect no matter how much you try, you will feel so much better! Trust me- I am farrrrrrr from perfect and I have embraced it with open arms 🙂
Think about it, how many times have you started a diet where you followed it to the letter? I mean, you wouldn’t even take a small lick of your daughter’s ice cream cone. How long did you stay on this plan? How long before you had one slip up and figured you blew it, and went right back to your old behaviors?
Don’t feel bad if this sounds like something that has happened to you over and over again. It happens to us all (myself included). It’s hard to not think of weight loss and dieting as an all or nothing approach. But do you want to know a secret? My clients that do everything perfectly all of the time are the ones I worry about the most. Why? Because no one can be perfect all of the time- especially when it comes to food! You are going to slip up at some point, and you should! I want to share a funny story with you about when my husband was diagnosed with high blood pressure. As we left the doctor’s office, he told me he wanted to go to the grocery store. So we went and as we were there, he asked me to help him find only the foods with the absolute lowest possible sodium content- we even found zero sodium bread (yummy right?).
For about a week, he lived on salads, zero sodium bread, and a few other flavorless foods. I also prepared everything from scratch for him, right down to homemade dressings and condiments, to keep his sodium as low as possible. Now, let me just interject that as I was doing this for him, I was also preaching the benefits of moderation and how some sodium is OK with high blood pressure. But he wouldn’t listen. Why? Well partly because I’m his wife, but mostly because he was in an all-or-nothing mindset. He was sure the answer to reversing his blood pressure issues was in eliminating sodium, and because of that, he couldn’t just slowly lower his intake. He had to be perfect. He had to have as close to no sodium as possible. Does this sound familiar? Can you guess the outcome? Yup- after about a week and a half he splurged on take-out pizza and some beer and gave up. Sound familiar?
Depriving yourself or trying to be perfect is, in my opinion, the #1 reason why most people are unable to lose weight and keep it off. Eating to lose weight and get healthy isn’t about deprivation and perfection – it’s about improvement! That’s it! It’s a learning process, just like anything in life. If your son came home from school and said he received a C on his algebra quiz today, would you tell him to just give up because he clearly will be unsuccessful at the class the rest of the semester? I sure hope not! Then why would you “give up” on your weight loss efforts because you had a slice of pizza last night? Are you really never, ever going to have a slice of pizza again in your life? I sure hope nope (I know for a fact my husband wouldn’t find life worth living without this staple!).
Losing weight and improving health is about improvement, not perfection! Today, just think of one simple thing you can do to improve your eating habits from yesterday. Could you eat one extra serving of vegetables, drink an extra glass of water (hello metabolism boost!), or walk for 5 minutes? Every little change really does at up to big results! What will you do to improve today?