Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Spiced Nuts

Looking for something to help keep you away from the truffles and sugar cookies? Try these holiday spiced nut recipes for a healthful alternative. They also make great gifts!

Five large human epidemiological studies, including the Nurses Health Study, the Iowa Health Study, the Adventist Health Study and the Physicians Health Study, all found that nut consumption is linked to a lower risk for heart disease. Researchers who studied data from the Nurses Health Study estimated that substituting nuts for an equivalent amount of carbohydrate in an average diet resulted in a 30% reduction in heart disease risk. Researchers calculated even more impressive risk reduction--45%--when fat from nuts was substituted for saturated fats (found primarily found in meat and dairy products).


2 tbsp. butter, melted 30 mL

1/4 c. liquid honey 60 mL

1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 2 mL

pinch of ground allspice

pinch of ground cloves

3/4lb. assorted unsalted nuts (almonds,

Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecan halves, peanuts.)

Melt butter and honey, then add spices and mix. Add nuts, stir to coat and spread onto greased cookie sheet.

Stirring every five minutes, roast coated nuts in 325 F (160 C) oven until evenly coated, about 15 minutes. Remove, cool completely.

Honeyed Almonds

spiced nutsThese almonds have the sweetness of honey, with a touch of heat.


- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups whole almonds

Over very low heat, heat oil in a frying pan and add honey, stir until well mixed. Add spices and heat for 5 minutes, allowing the spices to scent the honey. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 325F for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely and break into pieces.

Spiced Pecans

spiced nutsPerfect for someone who likes a bit of heat!

- 1 teaspoon chili
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 t Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 to 1/2 t hot sauce
- 3 cups pecan halves

Mix spices in skillet. Stir in oil and sauces. Cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Mix pecans and spice mixture together in a bowl. Toss to coat. Sprinkle onto a baking pan and bake at 325F for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Healthy Eating Strategies for the Holidays

Check out the StayFitAnywhere December Newsletter for great fitness and nutrition strategies. Below is my article on Healthy Eating for the holidays, and be sure to also check out StayFit's 12 Days of Christmas exercises - its a great challenge!

Healthy Eating Strategies for the Holidays

by: Alicia Woods, Holistic Nutritionist. Alicia operates a holistic nutritional consulting practice, Blossom, in North Vancouver.

'Tis the season for chocolate, cookies, buffet dinners, tasty party food and flagons of wine. To ensure you won't be mistaken for Santa or Mrs. Claus come January, follow these strategies for a healthy holiday season:

  • Keep healthy snacks on hand at the office, and when the chocolates get passed around eat a piece of fruit or some nuts before reaching in; you will be less likely to over-indulge.
  • Always eat a healthy dinner before you head to the holiday party. This ensures that you will have got your fill of nutritious food for the day, no matter what happens later in the evening.
  • Re-gift it! If you are given baskets and tins of baked goods, bring them to the office or share them with a neighbour.
  • Eat well as often as you can, and continue your exercise regime. Just because you have two parties to attend this week doesn't mean the other 5 days are out the window too.
  • Dress up! You are less likely to pig out at the buffet table if you are wearing something that won't hide extra holiday pounds!
  • If you are hosting, impress guests by showcasing some of the wonderful foods which are in season right now : apples, squash, kale, potatoes, celery, carrots, and beets.
  • Set goals for the new year now, and don't put them off. Think about how great you will feel on January 1st if you are already working towards your resolution.

Above all else, enjoy the food you eat and the company that you share it with this holiday season.