ON THE JOB
Q: Winter holidays are a time for family get-togethers – and a lot of big meals. How can we eat right while enjoying our holiday favorites? A: Just eat in moderation. It’s always a fun time to be around family, and family always cooks together. Don’t go crazy. Balance your meals with fresh items, not high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-sodium items. Instead, try to use fresh ingredients. Q: Many people travel for the holidays. How can we eat right while out on the road? A: Don’t expect to eat fast food all the time. If you have a lengthy trip, bring some fruits, like bananas or nuts, even some peanut butter and crackers, along. When you go through the drive-thrus, you’re looking at a meal of 1,000 calories. Q: Shopping makes us tired and weary, and we give in to pumpkin lattes and peppermint milkshakes. Are treats OK in moderation? A: It really depends on your metabolism. You need to be aware of what kind of treat you’re treating yourself to. People with a higher metabolism can burn off the calories they take in on these treats quicker, and your calorie intake is geared toward how many calories you can burn in a day. When you’re burning fewer calories than you’re taking in, those excess calories are going to go to your waistline. Q: What’s your favorite holiday dish to serve at the Village at Gleannloch Farms? A: I have a lot of things I like to serve here. I think one of our residents’ favorites is our sugar-free strawberries Romanoff. I start with fresh berries, make a Romanoff sauce that consists of sour cream, Splenda, which makes it sugar-free, cinnamon and a little bit of rum, and it’s drizzled over the berries. I might add a touch of vanilla to it. Q: What can families do to make holiday meals coincide with any dietary restrictions that their loved ones may have? A: Just be careful about their sugar intake; some of the elderly have diabetic issues. A lot of people are on a gluten-free diet now. Scientists developed a very plentiful strain of wheat so that crops are larger, but when they genetically altered the wheat, people started having problems with gluten in their diet. Try to base your menus around heart-healthy choices: low-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol and fresh vegetables. You can make a sauce with skim milk, or use corn starch as a thickening agent as opposed to flour and butter.
Learn More:NAME: Eric Vandigriff BUSINESS: Executive chef at the Village at Gleannloch Farms, 9505 Northpoint Blvd., Spring EXPERIENCE: More than 25 years in the culinary field EDUCATION: Completed the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship program in coordination with the Texas Chefs Association, which is a four-year internship along with 36 credit hours
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