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Healthy Entertaining

Healthy Entertaining.  Is it possible as a busy woman? I have to confess, as a health conscious busy woman, it can sometimes be a challenge for me.  On one hand, you have guests who want and expect healthy choices and on the other hand, you have guests who are less interested about the nutritional content of their food. I have learned to keep three rules to entertaining for a dinner party.

Rule # 1 -  Keep it simple

To manage our calories and increase the nutritional value in our meals, a healthy plate should consist of ¼ whole grains such as pasta, rice and breads, ¼ of a lean meat or protein and ½ of fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, in our world today, our plate is usually the exact opposite. It consists of high fat proteins and carbs with a little salad on the side. To follow those guidelines, I like to add fruits and vegetables to a salad that may not be very common such as grapes, raw carrots, zucchini or squash to give it volume so that it is more filling. Serving fresh fruit as a part of the main meal is a simple way to add variety and provide an additional course for the table. As a southern girl, I believe a dessert is a must (plus it is my favorite), but who has the time to bake from scratch.  Think about what you can do that is semi-homemade.  Make brownies with homemade icing or a regular cookie mix and add something to it like raisins, another kind of morsel such as chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter. I like serving desserts that provide a small portion and make ice cream available for those who are not watching their weight.

Rule # 2 - Never try anything new and stick with what you do well.

I remember the days of stressing out going through cook book after cook book for new ideas. After a few “flops”, having kids, and friends asking for repeats, I decided it is best to make a few of my good items  great.  Have one main dish that you do well.  Having less is more and a great way for your guest to manage their intake, reduce your stress, and enjoy your guest.

Even busy ladies, like to entertain, but sometimes feel like time will not permit.  As you are putting together your ideas for your parties over the holidays, try to start by incorporating these two rules. 

To read about my third rule that can help in weight management through the holidays and get my recipes for my successful dinner party, check out my next blog.

Raising Confident Children, pt. 3

Parents play three distinct roles as mom or dad, teaching, coaching and cheeringWhen children are young, our every action teaches them what we believe . As they grow, we teach then stand on the sidelines and watch them practice. At some point in life, every child makes a decision or a series of decisions that are the exact opposite of what a  parent would choose for them.

What to do? What to do?  When your teenager, young adult or adult child is off-roading  and you, the parent can see there's an easier way to arrive at the same destination, how do you advise when no one wants your advice? I'd like to submit to you the idea that this is when we put on our cheerleading uniforms and begin to "cheer" them through the game.

Sound,independent decisions are what we want to see our children repeat over and over. One definition for sound is sensible. What is sensible to a man or woman in their 20's might not be to one in their 40's. Because of experience, a parent can usually "see farther" than their child but it doesn't change the fact that most of us are who we are because of the mistakes we've made, and our children will become the men and women they are destined to be through their good and bad decisions.

If your child isn't interested in your words of wisdom,  it's okay to let him/her know you would do things differently, but don't stop there. Do your own self a favor. Look at the attributes your child possesses and verbalize them. "I admire your ability to commit," "Your creativity amazes me," "You're such a risk-taker!" Hearing you speak positively  will let your child know 1) your love is unconditional 2) you believe in him/her 3) you are a safe place to run to if things don't work out. Hearing your own words can assuage your fears because you can visualize the characteristics you name out and when you do, you'll realize your child is many times, better equipped than you think.

Finally, human beings are like a garden. There are all kinds of flowers. Some require direct sun and some flourish in shade. We can be comforted in knowing  there is a Gardener that waters daily and guards it day and night, ensuring the care of each individual flower.