GMO's Fit Friday: Holiday Fun in the Kitchen

It often seems that adults and children are continuously putting something to eat in their mouths from October 31 until New Year's resolutions start in January. Unfortunately these extra foods that we are eating are not coming from the fruit and vegetable category.

Holiday weight gain statistics vary, but some of the recent research puts average holiday weight gain around 1-2 pounds per season which doesn't sound like much but over 10 years that is an extra 10-20 pounds you probably did not want. The data also shows that for overweight or obese individuals the holiday weight gain is higher; maybe more like 5 pounds.

The foods we consume during these holiday filled winter months are often higher in sugar, fat and saturated fat. These calorie sources not only impact a healthy weight but can also affect other health parameters such as cholesterol and blood sugar.

Unfortunately, much of our celebrations center around food. Many of us have such special memories of baking and cooking as part of our traditions. Here are a few recipes for families that can allow them to keep the memories, joy and tradition of being in the kitchen during these special times but eliminates the caloriesJ.

Dough Ornament Recipe


Original recipe makes 15 ornaments

Makes servings US Metric Adjust Recipe (Help)

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup salt

1 1/2 cups warm water


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. Mix flour and salt well. Gradually add water, stirring with a large spoon. Finish mixing with hands. Knead until soft and pliable.

3. Roll out on floured surface about 1/8 inch thick. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets. With a toothpick make a hole in the top of the ornament for threading string. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) until hard, about 1 hour. Decorate with paint and varnish to preserve.

Non-Edible Cinnamon Ornaments Recipe


3/4 cup applesauce

4 ounces ground cinnamon


1. In a medium bowl, mix the cinnamon and applesauce. Work the mixture with your hands 2 to 3 minutes to form a ball. If mixture is too wet, add more cinnamon. If mixture is too dry, add more applesauce.

2. Lightly dust a clean surface with cinnamon. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and use a toothpick to make a hole at the top for hanging with a ribbon.

3. Dry in a slow oven 200 degrees F (100 degrees C) for several hours, or air dry in a sunny spot for 4 or 5 days. When dry, decorate with gingham and/ or ribbon.

Pomander ball

One whiff of the wonderful scent of a pomander ball is all it takes to get me humming Christmas songs and dreaming of going "home for the holidays." Pomander balls are a Colonial American Christmas tradition, and my mother had us make them for all of our relatives every year. They make very unique gifts, and are great conversation starters as well. So this year I am passing on this tradition by making pomander balls for my in-laws.

So what is a pomander ball? It is simply a piece of fruit, traditionally an orange, that has been pierced by cloves and dried so that it lets off a wonderful aroma. Pomander balls can be used in drawers and closets like a sachet, or used as decorations at Christmastime by hanging them from a mantel or tree, or even just set in an attractive bowl on a table. They will continue to give off their scent for years to come!