December Eating: Healthy and Quick

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December is a busy, busy month. Holiday shopping, office parties, and family gatherings absorb time. Those of you with kids are rushing through holiday plays, exams and more parties. We are just trying to keep up with all the extra expectations of the month, and good eating often falls behind.

We focus on cooking a lot in December, but it's the special stuff that gets the attention: gingerbread houses, Hanukkah doughnuts, the roast for Christmas dinner. What about all the time in between?

Don't leave your eating to restaurants and take-out shops this month - there are plenty of easy, quick snacks and nourishing food to keep around to sustain in the shopping, wrapping, and holiday cooking! Ideas below - read and share your own...

Dips and wholegrain chips: Stock up on wholegrain, healthy chips and dips like hummus, baba ghanoush, and white bean dip. These make a quick and nourishing lunch on the go.

Buy convenient fruits: To me, convenient means that it's easier to grab a clementine than open a bag of crackers. Buy fruit like clementines and grapes; wash the grapes immediately when you get home from the store and snip the stems into serving-size portions.

Mix up the vegetables: Getting tired of just carrot sticks for lunch? Buy carrots, peppers, and broccoli and mix them up in individual-serving-size bags so you can grab them as you go.

Use your slow cooker: It may take up a lot of space, but in our tiny galley kitchen we always made room. Put a cheap pork roast in before you go to work, and toss in a little garlic and white wine. Leave on low all day, then come home and shred it. It will be tender, moist, and delicious. I would freeze individual meal portions and defrost to eat with black beans and rice.

Take advantage of winter greens: Winter greens and cabbage are delicious and easy. Stir-fry shredded cabbage and serve with brown rice and soy sauce.

Don't forget the humble egg: It is faster to fry two eggs and eat them with with steamed broccoli and crunchy, hearty wholegrain toast than to order takeout.

What are your tricks and shortcuts to eating well this time of year?

(Image credit: Mani's Bakery)

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Healthy Living, Winter

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.