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Nutritionist to offer tips heading into holidays

November 22, 2010

Susan_Krumm

Susan Krumm, nutrition and wellness educator with K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County, will be available Monday to answer questions as we enter the calorie-laden holiday season.
Krumm also is spearheading a workplace wellness program.
She can answer questions about cooking, healthy eating, exercise, workplace wellness, holiday stress, and more.

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Moderator

I want to thank Susan for coming in today to help prepare us for the upcoming holidays. I am health reporter Karrey Britt and I will be moderating this chat. Susan, can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

Susan_Krumm

I am a County Extension Agent with K-State Research & Extension in Douglas County. Our office is located on the fairgrounds. I am an educator in the areas of foods and nutrition, wellness, and food safety. What is wonderful about Extension is that we are part of the land-grant university system so if I don't have the answer, I can request information from our specialists at KSU or other universities across the nation.

ChristineMetz

What is the one item on the traditional Thanksgiving table that has the most calories? And, is there anything we can do to make it healthier but still keep it tasty?

Susan_Krumm

From the traditional Thanksgiving foods, pecan pie has the highest amount of calories - 526 per slice. However, any of our favorite Thanksgiving foods can be boosted to this number of calories - or more - based on the portion that lands on the plate. For example, a 1/2 cup serving of mashed potatoes with 3 Tablespoons of gravy is 173 calories- but if we put three servings on our plate, obviously, we have to times that by 3.

Yes, we can make it healthier by substituting skim milk for 2% or whole, choose a crust-free pumpkin pie, lower the amount of sugar and honey in those candied sweet potatoes. Better yet, just roast your sweet potatoes and forget the sugar!!! These are just a few ideas.

monicataylor

Hi, Susan! I have a couple of questions. Are there any special foods that can help boost your mood to beat the winter "blahs"? And what are your recommendations for limits on "sweet treats" (cookies, chocolates) for kids?

Susan_Krumm

Particular foods have shown to boost the production of neurotransmitters but usually not by enough to make a perceptible difference in the brain. Even though we may believe that eating certain things will boost mental focus or energy, unfortunately, the evidence does not support it. The best advice is to choose a variety of foods - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high calcium-rich foods, and low-fat proteins - in moderation.

In regard to the "sweet treats", just remember that they should be considered an "occasional" food (what we like to call a WHOA food) - not a part of a daily food plan. When choosing healthy snacks, think 2 Food Group Snacks - that will increase the nutritional value of the snack. Ideas such as peanut butter on celery, nuts and raisin mixture, or cheese and crackers.

aelzea

Thanksgiving only comes once a year and usually involves a lot of food. What's the best way to keep from over-eating?

Susan_Krumm

Good question - one that many people sitting at the Thanksgiving table think about. Here's a few ideas -
* Ask yourself if you really like this food. If you don't, why are you eating it?
* After you taste the food, if it's not as good as you thought it would be, don't feel obligated to follow the "clean your plate" rule - just don't eat it.
* Practice moderation - not deprivation. Choose smaller portions of a variety of foods.
* Alter your traditional Thanksgiving meal a bit by putting a beautiful green salad on the plates first. It will fill your stomach so you won't be tempted to eat so much of the other food items.
* Eat slowly and enjoy each bite - enjoy the fellowship of family and friends more than the food itself.
* Last, try to maintain your weight during the holidays instead of necessarily losing weight.

FieldTested

In the summer, there seem to be several organized exercise events every week (e.g. Red Dog Days). Are there any over the holiday season?

Susan_Krumm

This is one area that WellCommons can really help with. We can start bringing all of the physical activity events into one location on the WellCommons website and it would be the "go-to" place to find out the organized events coming up. I know that Lawrence Parks and Rec have many activities happening during the holidays - and their facilities are fabulous!!! The Douglas County Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) has just updated their "Physical Fitness Opportunities in Douglas County". I've just received a copy of the guide. To get a copy, contact Janelle Martin at 785-856-7312 or email chip@ldchealth.org .

shenning

As a Thanksgiving guest, what's the appropriate way to ask about how a dish was prepared without sounding impolite?

Susan_Krumm

Oh, in today's world with so many people on modified diets for so many reasons - gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetes, allergies, etc. - it's perfectly acceptable to feel comfortable asking the host/hostess "can you tell me about how this was prepared so I can enjoy it?" If you are on a special diet, it would also be fine to say, "I can't have gluten products, can you tell me more about the recipe you used?"

Moderator

I was wondering how long food can be safely left out after serving and eating the meal. Also, does all of the food need to be refrigerated? What about rolls and pies?

Susan_Krumm

A popular question! Potentially hazardous foods should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Most foods should be kept either hot or cold - not in the temperature danger zone between 41 to 135 degrees F. Foods that do not need to be refrigerated include baked items like cakes, cookies, breads, or rolls - except for cakes with a cream cheese frosting like carrot cake or cakes frosted with a ganache. All fruit and pecan pies can be left out at room temperature but the pumpkin and soft filling pies must follow the 2-hour rule - in the refrigerator.

ChristineMetz

For me, the problem always seems to be figuring out what to do with the leftovers after Thanksgiving.
One meal of turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing and pie is fine. Eating that stuff for the three days that follow can really put on the weight. Any ideas on how to manage the leftovers?

Susan_Krumm

Share...share...share with your company (if you're having company). Otherwise, all of it can be frozen successfully except for the gravy and pie. Even the pie could be frozen but you'll end up with a soggy crust. Another idea - don't overbake or overmake. For some reason during the holidays we always seem to make more for some reason - buy and prepare only what is needed for the meal.

Moderator

Thanks for coming in today! A lot of great questions and answers.

Susan_Krumm

Thanks! I really enjoyed answering the questions. For more information, please don't hesitate to contact me at 785-843-7058 or skrumm@ksu.edu.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

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