Staying hydrated in winter

Besides hypothermia, dehydration can become a serious concern in the winter. It is often said in health articles that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. In cold weather, you may not realize that you are not getting enough fluids. Here are some tips to help you stay easily hydrated in the winter.

  • Drink hot chocolate! Use a combination of water and milk (dairy or non-dairy) along with cocoa powder and some natural sweetener.
  • Have soup on a regular basis. Not only does it constitute a meal but it can also provide extra water (ie broth) that you may not get normally in other types of meals.
  • Drink hot tea. If you’re concerned that the caffeine content will have a diuretic effect thus contributing to dehydration, then drink an herbal infusion or a lemon, ginger and honey concoction.

Scotch Oats January 25

It was Robbie Burns day on January 25th but what’s it to me? Besides a Scottish surname and perhaps some Scottish blood amongst the other known and prominent blood in my DNA, my connection to Scotland is through plaid and porridge oats.

An ode to oatmeal, it’s not just for breakfast anymore. Use it in the following ways:

  • to toughen up a veggie burger
  • sprinkle on top of or mix into breads
  • as a base for homemade granola
  • mix with some nutritional yeast and crumble on top of mac n’ cheese
  • bind a vegetable and pasta bake
  • make a vegetarian haggis! cook mushrooms, lentils, oatmeal, spices and  gluten flour and wrap in rice paper

Tip: The larger the oat flakes, the better. They are usually less processed and therefore, retain more of their inherent nutrients.

Buffet Food Tips

A buffet is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. In spite of what our vision would have us believe, the usual healthy eating rules apply: eat slowly, chew your food well and have a balanced meal. Here are some other tips for healthy buffet dining.

  • Keep your portions minimal. You can always go back for seconds if something was really good.
  • Avoid overfilling your plate. If there is too much choice and you must have it all, then eat the perishables first (eg salads, rice dishes) and save the portables (eg bread, muffins, banana, etc.) for later.
  • ‘Glass half full’ If having juice, mix a 50:50 ratio with water. Juice may be natural but it is still full of sugar.
  • Fresh fruit for breakfast is good but too much is still a lot of sugar. Pair with oatmeal for a regulating effect on blood sugar.
  • Don’t see something you like/can eat? Ask the staff about customizing your meal. With a dearth of plant protein in the selection I asked the chef if he could do peas (beans) and rice. Into the kitchen he went and out he came with this local dish. I also ask for pizza without cheese and a boiled egg is usually easy to whip up if you don’t want an omelette. No need to be limited to all the greasy saucy foods.
  • Foods to eat sparingly, if at all, are the high GI (glycemic index) foods: white bread/rice, muffins, cakes, danish and other breakfast pastries and desserts. Temper the effect these foods have on your blood sugar by eating high fibre foods in the same sitting (eg salad, beans, etc.)