Healthy Holiday? Yes!

The holidays are here and that means friends, family and food.

LOTS.  OF.  FOOD. 

Whether you are trying to lose weight or just not gain, this time of year can be daunting with so many delicious treats everywhere!  Even the highest level of willpower is tested by the sheer volume of seasonal delicacies.  Here are a few helpful tips to help stay on track and tasty recipes that won’t leave you feeling deprived. 

Tips for a healthy holiday season:

  1. Don’t skip meals.  It may seem like a good idea to “save calories” by not eating before a party or special dinner but it can lead to overeating.  Choose healthy meals throughout the day that are satisfying but allow for a few indulgences later. 
  2. Lose the guilt.  Eat what you love and enjoy your favorite holiday treats.  Decide what you feel is worth it and enjoy guilt free. When you choose moderation overall it leaves room for those once a year treats.
  3. Savor each bite.  Ask yourself, “Am I still enjoying this?” if the answer is “no” then stop eating.  Slow down and listen to your body’s cues. 
  4. Exercise.  With all the extra activities at this time of year, it is easy to cut out working out.  Physical activity will not only help offset extra calorie intake but helps relieve stress.  Even shorter workouts or a brisk walk help increase energy levels.
  5. Get your rest.  Parties, shopping, wrapping presents, and travel can take its toll.  Sleep is essential to mental and physical health, carefully consider your schedule so you can still get your zzz’s.   

Now that you have a plan, here are a few figure friendly sides to add to your holiday meal that are delicious and satisfying.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Brulee from Skinny Taste

Ingredients

5 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft (6 cups cooked)

¾ cup 1% milk

3 Tbsp. whipped butter, softened

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

½ cup unpacked light brown sugar

Instructions

  1.  When the potatoes are cooked and soft, combine them with milk, butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large in a large bowl and mash or puree until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a 9×9 or 11×7 baking pan.  Bake covered until heated through, about 20 minutes. If making ahead and baking from the refrigerator, add more time as needed until the center is hot.
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Sprinkle ½ cup brown sugar evenly over top.
  5. Broil about 6 inches from the heat element until the sugar melts and becomes caramelized, careful not to burn.  About 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Let stand until the melted sugar hardens (about 5 minutes).

Cranberry Pear Sauce from Skinny Taste

Ingredients

12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries

2 ripe pears, peeled and cored, cubed small

½ cup honey or agave

1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Bring all the ingredients to a boil on high heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. When boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and let it cool before refrigerating.  Serve chilled or room temperature. Personal Note:  If you want to spice things up a bit, add ½ teaspoon each nutmeg and allspice and a cinnamon stick to the other ingredients during the simmer. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.  Makes 3 ¼ cups.

Enjoy! Debbie

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