When it comes to the holidays, I’m like anyone else, loving my annual cookie baking and eggnog making. Think: butter cookies in two flavors (cranberry pistachio and almond apricot), triple chocolate biscotti, and spicy-sweet gingersnaps. (These are just a small sampling of what’s here on my blog, with many more dishes to inspire here.)
Where I am perhaps a little different from others, however, is how I integrate seasonal treats into my diet. My Top Ten Healthy Holiday Eating Tips are here for you to consider, if you’re not familiar. One of my main strategies for managing calories when it comes to baking is “make it mini,” as I do with these biscotti. (The recipe and how-to are here.)
Another pointer, the subject of today’s post, is to enjoy the process but don’t keep the product—dozens and dozens of baked goods—hanging around your house for days on end. This will avoid unnecessary temptation, hence excess calories. (More on this subject here.) Thus, I, no doubt like many of you, love to share cookies with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether it’s bringing over a platter of assorted goodies to holiday gatherings or creating cute gift bags, giving is the way to go. It’s always fun to make presents in your own kitchen, and I especially enjoy introducing people to the wonder of baking with white whole wheat flour, like in this recipe. This game-changing ingredient is much more nutritious than refined flour and works especially well with big flavors like chocolate; you’ll never guess it’s there. (Read more here on “The Whole Grain Truth”.)
With all that in mind, I decided to bake mini biscotti for my teaching staff and co-director for this year’s “Farm to Fork: Why What You Eat Matters” class at Harvard as a token of my gratitude. I made several bags with five small cookies, each tied with crimson ribbon. (Crimson for Christmas, not for Harvard, though it works for both.) Do note the number of cookies: with opportunities for indulgence at every turn, you don’t want to contribute to someone else’s weight gain in lieu of your own. And even if weight is not an issue, most people consume way too much sugar in their diet. As in all things food and life, go with quality, not quantity.
Now if only I could get the gift of biscotti out to each of you who took time out of your busy schedule to view this post… Thank you for reading, today and always, and Happy Holidays!
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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time.
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