Nutrition Column – Help Newlyweds Begin a Life of Health and Happiness Together

Spring and summer are popular times of the year for weddings. In fact, according to several wedding-related Web sites, the most popular months to get married are June, August and September, followed closely by October and May. If you know someone who is getting married this year and you are either hosting a wedding shower or shopping for a gift, use the following suggestions to help the happy couple begin a life of health and happiness together.

Planning a wedding shower? From appetizers and salads to entrees and desserts, consider serving your guests healthful, calorie-conscious foods such as the following.

– A fruit tray with seasonal berries and melons dusted with powdered sugar.

– A vegetable platter with yogurt or cottage cheese dip. Include fresh sweet peppers, jicama and broccoli along with the usual carrots and celery.

– A salad of mixed greens, sliced pears, strawberries and almonds.

– Finger sandwiches made with whole-grain bread and low-fat cheeses.

– Chilled, cooked salmon topped with mango chutney.

– Meringue shells filled with a mixture of seasonal berries.

– Angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries.

– Mint iced tea or sparkling water with a lime twist.

Shopping for a wedding gift? Small kitchen appliances, utensils and gadgets are among the most common wedding gifts. Give the gift of health by buying the newlyweds kitchen items designed for healthful cooking. Some suggestions are included below.

– A rice steamer with samples of different types of rices.

– A wok starter kit, complete with wok, wok cover, bamboo brush, spatula, skimmer and cookbook.

– A vegetable steamer.

– A roasting pan with a meat rack for low-fat cooking.

– A set of nonstick baking dishes to help minimize added fat when cooking coupled with a set of utensils designed for those baking dishes.

– A set of microwave-safe dishes with lids that can be used for cooking and/or storing.

– A variety of fresh herbs and spices in unique storage containers.

– A sampling of kitchen necessities. Create a gift basket by combining a variety of kitchen utensils and gadgets such as potholders, a food scale, a gravy separator, skewers for grilling fruits and vegetables, an egg separator, a coffee grinder to grind whole spices into powder and kitchen shears.

– A large salad bowl filled with the utensils needed to make a salad. Include a matching set of smaller serving-size salad bowls, a paring knife, a vegetable peeler, salad tongs and a variety of low-fat, low-calorie salad dressings.

– A cookbook. One suggestion is "Simply Colorado Too" ($19.95). Developed by the Colorado Dietetic Association, this cookbook, along with its predecessor, "Simply Colorado" ($12.95), is a must for newlyweds. The recipes are quick, easy, foolproof and nutritious.

– Gift certificate for couples’ cooking classes. For newlyweds who may not know how to cook or would like to improve their cooking skills, give a gift certificate for introductory-level cooking classes.

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by Pat Kendall, Ph.D., R.D., Food Science and Human Nutrition Specialist, Colorado State University, Cooperative Extension