Merry Christmas from Your Extension Staff
With Christmas being only days away, many families are scurrying around trying to make last minute preparations. This year, I decided I would NOT attempt to have a spotless house, perfectly wrapped packages, and my meal planned out to the last condiment. Instead, I want to enjoy my family, even if the kitchen might have a little clutter, or my floors might have a little tracked-in dirt.
Another hurdle that many of you might be facing is the difficulty and expense to try to eat healthy, especially those with diabetes. I want to share some foods that won’t sabotage your budget and your blood sugar:
1) Eggs – great low carb source of protein and an array of other nutrients. Yes, the yolk contains some saturated fat, but the good outweighs the bad, and they are one of the most inexpensive and versatile protein sources. Try them scrambled, fried, in a veggie and cheese omelet, or hard-cooked.
2) Canned or dried beans – you can usually purchase a can of beans, such as black, kidney, pinto, or navy beans for around one dollar per can. One-half cups of beans provides around 15 grams of carbs and lots of fiber.
3) Canned tuna – another inexpensive lean protein source, packed full of omega-3 fatty acids. Buy tuna pack in water and add it to a green salad for lunch or mix with a little plain yogurt, light mayonnaise and celery for a quick and healthy tuna salad.
4) Sweet potatoes – yes, they contain carbohydrates, but they are packed full of good nutrition, including vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Just make sure to watch your portion size and count your carbs. A small sweet potato contains about 18 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. You can throw a sweet potato in the microwave and have a great side dish in a flash!
5) Frozen veggies – green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and spinach are low in carbohydrates and are considered to be “free foods.” They provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are lower in sodium than canned vegetables.
6) Seasonal vegetables – focus on creating meals around vegetables that are in season and experiment with new ways to cook or grill your veggies.
7) Seasonal fruits – take advantage of the upcoming months and the fresh fruits that are available. Most fruits contain about 15 grams of carbs per 1 cup cubed or one small fruit.
8) Peanut butter – this is a staple around our house! It is high in calories and fat, but it is the unsaturated fat that is good for heart health. Peanut butter is relatively inexpensive, low in carbs, and can help fill you up. If you are wanting to lose weight, go easy on portion size as the calories add up quickly. Try spreading peanut butter on a slice of whole-wheat bread or English muffin for breakfast or on whole-wheat crackers, apples, or celery for a snack.
9) Plain Yogurt – this makes a great snack with toasted almonds and sugar-free jelly mixed in, or try it added to tuna, chicken, or pasta salads to add creaminess. It can be part of a fruit smoothie, too!
10) Oatmeal – yes, it is a healthy breakfast choice, but oatmeal can be used in a variety of ways. Add it to dishes such as meatloaf or burgers or in most other recipes that call for bread crumbs. You can also substitute one-half cup oatmeal for the same amount of white flour in most baking recipes. Oatmeal has about 15 grams of carbs for a one-half cup serving.
Favorite Children’s Christmas Books
When our children were growing up, we started a tradition of reading one Christmas book each day in December. I thought I would share them with you:
– “The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado – Joshua was a lamb with a cripples leg who felt left out because he couldn’t run and play like other lambs, but God had a very special plan for Joshua’s life as the little lamb’s prayers are answered in an amazing way.
– “Cup of Christmas Tea” by Tom Hegg – A nephew’s visit to an elderly great-aunt at Christmastime brings him memories of past holidays and the realization of how the human spirit can triumph over adversity.
– “Humphrey’s First Christmas”, by Carol Heyer – Who would ever think that a camel would be featured? This book has a unique take on the holiday spirit from big camel faces to the completely different setting – desert and no snow!
– “The Legend of the Candy Cane”, by Lori Walburg – One dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. The townspeople wonder who he is, wishing he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. Then a young girl befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams.
From our staff to you, have a merry Christmas!
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts – Eleanor Roosevelt
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax