The holiday season is approaching and now is the time to plan for special family gatherings, and feasting galore! This time of year tends to call for heavier, decadent foods that may unfortunately lead to unnecessary weight gain. What to do? Here are some of my easy, healthy and delicious holiday noshes that won’t impact your waistline nor compromise taste.
Sweet Potato Hummus – I love this spin on traditional hummus for the holiday season. With 5 simple ingredients, this dip is loaded with vitamin C and fiber. Peel and chop 2 large sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400⁰F until caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, add ¼ cup tahini paste, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and pulse in food processor until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped raw vegetables.
Dark Chocolate Pistachio – Just a few of these Setton Farms Dark Chocolate Covered Pistachios hits the spot. Not only have studies shown that nuts are good for your heart, but the antioxidants in pistachios and dark chocolate may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. It’s easy, just open the convenient resealable bag and serve to guests.
Kale and Apple Salad – Serving a salad before a large meal is a guaranteed way to help reduce calorie intake while loading up on nutrients that keep your body feeling good. This salad is easy and tasty. Combine baby kale, one large chopped apple ( leave the skin on) and a large handful of walnuts. In a separate bowl prepare the dressing. Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
Parmesan Zucchini “fries” – Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables. With a mild sweet taste and smooth texture, it’s an easy crowd pleasing vegetable. Filled with vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients, zucchini is low in calorie and an excellent vegetable to fill up on. Slice 3 large zucchini’s into “French Fry” style slices keeping the skin on. Combine 3 egg whites, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ cup gluten free bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a bowl. Coat the pieces of zucchini with the mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Sweet and Savory Quinoa Stuffing
I LOVE this stuffing alternative for those looking for a tasty, gluten free option to the traditional heavy stuffing dish. This quinoa stuffing contains all the savory herb flavors that go with Thanksgiving, with a touch of crunchy apples, sweet potatoes and golden raisins.
Although I'm calling it stuffing, it really is a delicious winter side dish or even excellent meal accompanied witha large green salad. It's loaded withsatisfying flavor and nutrients your body needs. Try it out. I'm sure it will be a holiday hit. Find the recipe here: Sweet and Savory Quinoa Stuffing.
How do I survive the holidays without spiraling downhill?
Treat Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner just like any other when it comes to the food. Remember, the key is being with family and friends and creating memories, NOT extra weight!
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Start your morning with warm lemon water, followed by a healthy breakfast such as a vegetable omelet, overnight oats with fresh fruit, greek yogurt with slivered almonds or a green smoothie.
- Move your body and break a sweat. Go for a run, bike ride or even jump rope for 10 minutes. I guarantee you will feel better after.
- Have a healthy snack before heading to your Thanksgiving party. Half an apple with a schmear of almond butter, a small cup of lentil soup, or a handful of pistachios. Your goal is to feel satisfied and not starving when you enter the party to prevent mindless over eating.
- Enjoy what you love and fill your plate ONCE! If you can't resist seconds stick to salad or vegetable options.
- When it comes to desserts, it is all about the choices you make. Choose ONE or maybe bites of a few, but remember those bites add up quickly.
Most importantly, during this holiday season, take the time to relax, laugh and enjoy these magical moments with your friends and family.