Feeling anxious about the upcoming holiday meal prep? Try these tips from Leanne Ely, who runs SavingDinner.com, to get dinner on the table without a hitch.

1. Stock up on staples now. Staples like stuffing, cans of pumpkin and fresh cranberries often go on sale well before the holidays. Stock up on the essentials now, and you can avoid the stress of last-minute shopping.

2. Assign helpers. Make a list of which family members can help you with tasks like mashing potatoes or candying the yams.

3. Get a head start. If you don’t have enough stovetop, Ely suggests making sides like your mashed potatoes earlier in the day and keeping them in a crockpot on low until it’s time to serve.

4. ID your dishes. Label the serving dishes you’re going to use with the food that will go on it; then stack them out of the way until you need them.


High-fiber foods your kids will actually eat

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids should eat an amount of fiber equivalent to their age, plus 5 extra grams per day. Give your child these snacks, and you’ll give them the fiber they need and the tastes they love.

Pears: A medium-sized pear with the skin has 5.5 grams of fiber. Serve it sliced with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Apples: This staple fruit has 3.6 grams of fiber by itself; serve with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and your child will get another 1.6 grams of fiber.

Green peas: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cooked peas into your child’s favorite mac and cheese and they’ll get an additional 4.4 grams of fiber.

Raspberries: With more fiber than other berries, raspberries pack 4 grams per half-cup serving.

Serve with low-fat plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey.


3 ways to spice up your next pasta dish

Pasta makes for an easy, delicious dinner, but if you’re frequently reaching for the same can of store-bought sauce, it can also quickly become boring. Try these simple options from the Seattle Times to spice up this mealtime staple:

— Fresh tomato: Mix 6 to 7 seeded and diced ripe tomatoes with 1 clove crushed garlic, 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.

— Lemon artichoke pesto: Place 1/4 cup cilantro, 8 medium garlic cloves, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 cup walnuts, 1/3 cup each canola oil and extra-virgin olive oil, and salt into a food processor. Pulse until smooth, then pour into a large bowl. Gently stir in chopped 8-ounce box of thawed frozen artichokes and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

— Smoked salmon and capers: Add 8 ounces softened cream cheese to drained hot pasta and stir. Add 1/2 pound smoked salmon, cut in pieces, 1 tablespoon capers and the juice and zest of one lemon.

— Brandpoint


Gaining holiday weight

With the bounty of delicious food around during the holidays, an average person gaining 5 to 10 pounds from Thanksgiving to the New Year seems reasonable to most. In fact, according to studies, the average person will only gain about a pound during the season. Also, exercising before a holiday meal will help balance out the holiday food intake. Moderate exercise before a meal can boost your metabolism and will help suppress your appetite.

— Brandpoint