Sunday, November 26, 2017

Healthy Homemade Gift Giving

     Sugar does not mean love people.  PLEASE do not bring me cookies, cakes, pies, rolls or candy as a gift and especially at Christmas time.  We all like to give food as a sign of our affection, which is wonderful and perfectly acceptable, but there are a few things to consider.  Overindulgence is already at an all time high, and further inventory only compounds the problem.  The Holidays seem to open the flood gates on Sugar Season.  Since excessive gatherings offer even more high Sugar opportunities, this year consider giving something toward the healthy end of the spectrum.  In fact, I have a few Sugar Free options that you may really enjoy and the receivers will appreciate the reprieve.  And don't forget to invest in a fun decorative jar to hold your goodies, let that be part of the gift.  So, before you label me a ''Debby Downer'', take a peek at my creative Healthy Homemade Gift Giving will soon realize that I'm really a ''Perfect Present Presenting Paige''!

Nuts~ One of the beauties of giving Nuts, is that not only are they a healthy option as well as many varieties,but also, they don't have to be consumed immediately or all at one time.  As a double bonus, if you want to add spice we have further options as well.  Check out my Keto Praline Square, Salted Candied Pecans, Salted Nut Clusters as well as Chocolate Dipped Almonds.  Nut Butters are another great choice and super easy to make, you will love my Honey Roasted Peanut Butter recipe.

Olive Oil~ Flavor infused Olive Oils are a super idea and oh so easy.  The options are only limited by your imagination.  Use the Oil for dipping your bread, drizzle on pasta, or in your cooking dishes.  Enjoy my Garlic Olive Oil recipe, then scour Pinterest for a ton of other varieties.

Jam~ Fruit spreads are always popular, and can still hold a healthy element.  Check out how I make my Blueberry Chia Jam, feel free to sub with other berries of your choice.

Vanilla~ Homemade Vanilla is one of my favorite things and such a fun craft project.  I make this in bulk so I will have plenty to last a long time.  Plus, this opens up opportunities for even more gift giving.  Look for the perfect container to bottle your extract, which adds to the feeling of celebration.  This is super easy and super delish.  You can also pick up other fun premade extracts such as Orange, Maple, Rum, Almond, Butter, etc.

Salsa~  Have you ever thought of Salsa as a gift!?  I have.  Can you think of anything you would rather receive than an awesome jar of Homemade Salsa!?  I can't.  Check out how I do Salsa!

Pretzels~ There are a few low carb Pretzel options out there, and why not take it a step further and dip them in a low carb Chocolate for a touch of Christmas, all the while still sugar free.  Win win!

Fudge~Speaking of Chocolate...(did you really think I would forget Christmas Fudge).  I found a way to have your fix and eat it too... all sugar free...and it's GOOD!!!

Prepared Ground Beef~ I have prepped Ground Beef into one pound freezer zip lock baggies for loved ones, this is a priceless gift.  I saute diced Onion in Olive Oil, Garlic and Cayenne til golden brown, then add several pounds of ground beef, drain and weigh out a pound at a time, add to freezer zip lock baggies and store in freezer til ready to use or give as a gift.  This is invaluable to the working mother, and will be received as a treasured possession.

Caramel Sauce~Last but certainly not least, my famous Keto Caramel Sauce.  Perfect for just about anything you wish to make sweeter...but without the hazards of real sugar.  The best part is, no will ever know the difference!

There are many other healthy sugar free gifts that you can give at Christmas time.  Here are some of the things I've received and accepted with gratitude:
Unsweetened Cocoa in a decorative jar
Ground Cinnamon in a decorative jar
Grilling Spices or Dry Rubs (try your hand at making your own)
Truffle Salt
Citrus fruit in an attractive basket, especially Grapefruit.
Designer Apples, such as Fuji, Honeycrisp and Braeburn.
Fresh Pineapple with a pretty red bow
Low Carb or Edamame Pasta with a Gourmet Sauce
Flavored Balsamic Vinegar
Gourmet Pink Himalayan Salt and Black Peppercorn, give a nice set of Grinders too
Freezer Dinners, find out your friends favorite casserole and prep one for their freezer, give this prepared in a lovely new casserole dish
Favorite box of Protein Bars, Protein Powder, Protein Chips

I also have a few non-food related gift ideas that might help for that person who is impossible to buy for:
Session with a Trainer for the New Year
Homemade Dog treats for their favorite pooch
Gym membership
Magazine subscription
Specialty Candle
Scented Lotion
Body Scrubs (try making your own)
Sentimental or Homemade Christmas Ornament
Personalized Mug, Towel, Bath Robe, Note Cards
Car Wash Gift Certificate
Massage Gift Certificate
Phone Charger (can we have enough of these around the house!?)
Copper Skillet or Kitchen Gadget
Movie Tickets
Grocery Store Gift Certificate
Quik Trip Gift Certificate
Starbucks Gift Certificate
Fun Socks
Automatic Remote Starter installed in Car (about 100 dollars)
The gift of Time is the greatest gift of all, commit to taking a walk or just visiting with a loved one, they will cherish the sentiment!

Here are a few tips to help with controlling your weight during the Holidays:

1.      Fill up on fiber and protein rich foods: When you go to a party look for the veggies, beans, and lentils, and lean protein foods like eggs, chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, and pork. Vegetables have fiber that will fill you up and nutrients you need to thrive. Eat less fried foods, processed meats, foods with sugar, and cheeses.

2.      Keep moving: Eating well and exercising go hand in hand to maintain weight. Find time to work out at least four times a week. This includes cardio, strength and flexibility exercises. Any activity you like to do that will get your heart pumping and build lean muscle. Don’t know where to start? Take a long walk after dinner, check out Youtube videos, or join a class with a buddy to keep that motivation going.

3.      Bring Your Own Food: Going to a place that might not have any healthy options? Bring your own dish. Veggie platters, or a vegetable based entree will fill you up with fiber and protein.

4.       Drink Liquor In Moderation: I am not going to tell you not to drink, but I would recommend to stick to 1 drink a day if you’re a woman and 2 drinks if you are a man. Too many drinks will increase your waistline along with your risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. So if you are conscious of carbohydrates and calories you can try to stick with vodka, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey, scotch, and brandy. Use lime and seltzer instead of sugary mixers like juices or tonic. Want to avoid those holiday hangovers? Stay hydrated with water and stick to clear liquor.

5.      Watch Your Sugar: Sugar is abundant this holiday season in everything from cookies and cakes to candy canes, pies, and even entree and side dishes. Too much can increase your waistline and also put you at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and dementia. One teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams of sugar. This can add up pretty quickly, so be sure to check food labels and try to stay below 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day.

6.      Plan Ahead: If you know you’re going to a party tonight plan your meals for earlier in the day so you are eating whole nutrient dense foods that will satisfy your hunger. Foods like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, avocados, or plain yogurt are great snacks to eat before your event later in the day.

7.      Give In To Your Indulgence: The last thing you want to do is deny yourself a treat during this season. Make it something special that you may not be able to have any other time of the year.

8.      Watch Your Portions: Portion distortion is alive and well in our society. Fill up on nutrient rich foods like vegetables. Eat much smaller portions of sweets, treats, and other indulgent foods. One trick is to use a small plate and wait 20 minutes until your brain knows your stomach is full.

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