Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stay Peppermint-Sweet And Germ-Free Under The Mistletoe This Holiday Season

The timing of this post is pretty ironic, considering I'm talking about tips for staying healthy this holiday season while battling a cold. It's the time of year that mostly everyone gets sick, but there are things we can do now to help us stay healthy for the rest of the holiday season. It is inevitable that when children come home from school with a cold or flu, it'll get passed on to the parents, so it's even more important that we take preventative steps to stay germ-free.

We're in the midst of the holiday season, and my calendar is packing up with parties. I'm so excited—but I definitely don't want to miss out on any of the festivities because of a cold. Let's keep the kisses under the mistletoe peppermint-sweet and germ-free, okay?

There are three easy tips to help protect yourself and your family this fall: eat well, wash your hands frequently, and get the flu shot.

Eat Well

It's important to keep your body fueled with nutrients to help ward off germs and maintain good overall immune health. When you're doing your weekly grocery shopping at your local Loblaws store, stock up on foods that contain nutrients that contribute to good overall health during the holidays and flu season. (And before you prepare any food, make sure to wash your hands. I'm always washing my hands and following up with hand cream to keep my hands soft).

Citrus Fruit: Citrus fruits a great source of vitamin C, and they’re delicious, too. You can also try frozen fruit—just as nutritious in smoothies, on top of yogurt, or cereal, or added to your favourite holiday recipe.

Beans and Legumes: Boost your protein and zinc intake by including a variety of beans and legumes in your diet. Whether you're using these foods in salads or soups, they are a great addition to your diet.

Nuts and Seeds: A variety of nuts and seeds during cold and flu season help you get the vitamin E you need, a dietary antioxidant that helps in the maintenance of good health. My house is always stacked with nuts, because my boys love snacking on walnuts and almonds.

Probiotic foods: Probiotic yogurt contains probiotic bacteria which modulates immune function. Eating foods that contain probiotics is preferred to taking probiotic supplements because then you also get the other nutrients in the food, like protein and calcium.

Protein: Protein is always a good idea. Protein (in meats, eggs, and seafood like salmon and tuna, as well as milk products, legumes, and nuts and seeds) will help build and repair body tissues and antibodies.

B vitamins: Found in leafy greens, whole grains, and winter squashes, the foods that contain B vitamins will also help you maintain good health.

Include these foods every time you're grocery shopping for an immune boost, which will help keep you healthy all winter long.

If you need help choosing the right kind of foods to feed your family, make an appointment with an in-store dietitian at Loblaws. It's a free service, they're a wealth of information, and they'll give you great tips on which nutrient-rich foods to buy. They'll even give you amazing recipe ideas that your family will love—all while boosting your overall health and immune system.

Get The Shot

The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, and it's also available in-store through the pharmacists at Loblaws stores across the country. I love the convenience of stocking up on the foods you need to keep your family healthy and well-fed this holiday season, while getting your flu shot at the same time.

If you're looking for a new healthy recipe to feed your family and yourself this holiday season, here's a great, nutritious soup:

Nutrient-Rich Holiday Recipe
Tunisian Vegetable Bean Soup

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

3 tbsp (45 mL) PC New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions
2 cups (500 mL) diced carrots
2 cups (500 mL) diced zucchini
1-½ tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced garlic
1/2 cup (125 mL) PC Memories of Tunisia Red Pepper Harissa Sauce
1 pkg (900 mL) PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth
1 can (540 mL) PC Blue Menu White Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
4 cups (1 L) loosely packed chopped kale
1/2 cup (125 mL) PC Olive Oil and Sea Salt Labneh Middle-Eastern Style Dip and Spread

Directions:

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden.
2. Stir in carrots, zucchini, 1/2 tsp of the salt and the pepper. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
3. Stir in garlic. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
4. Pour in the Memories sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
5. Stir in broth, beans, bay leaves and remaining 1 tsp salt; bring to a boil. Stir in kale; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes or until kale is tender.
6. Remove and discard bay leaves. Divide soup among eight bowls; top each with a 1 tbsp dollop of
labneh. Serve with warmed pita bread, if desired.

Makes 8 servings



Here's to a healthy holiday season, and thanks for the tips, Loblaws!



Disclaimer: I have partnered with Loblaw for this post, and was compensated. All views and opinions are my won.

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