It’s time to deck the halls and with that means a barrage of rich, decadent and often unhealthy foods. Whatever holiday you celebrate, there are ways to enjoy your favorite traditional foods without tossing away your healthful eating habits. Don’t worry if sugar plums are dancing in your head. You can enjoy them as long as you practice some mindful eating and moderation.
A Balancing Act
- Going into the holidays with a game plan is a great way to avoid excesses while still enjoying the season. Here are our tips for success:
- Eat What You Love: Don’t eat something just because it's there. Be picky and focus on foods you really love, skipping those you can do without.
- Take It Slow: Don’t rush through your meal. Instead, take the time to savor every bite and enjoy the things you don’t often eat.
- Focus on the Veggies: By filling your plate with veggies first, you will be less likely to overindulge on the rest.
- Drink Your Water: Make sure to drink lots of water to curb your hunger and avoid that ‘completely empty feeling’.
- Don’t Forget To Move: Keep up with your workouts during the holidays to balance extra caloric intake. And, opt for a walk after a large meal. It will help digest your food and prevent ‘the food coma’.
Now that you are armed with great holiday strategies let’s talk about how we can take some of our favorite holiday treats and make them healthier! That way you can indulge and still keep your health goals from going off the rails. Check out our spin on some holiday favorites:
Nothing says festive quite like eggnog, but it can sabotage your hard work. Try this lightened up vegan version instead.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Soak cashews in water overnight or in boiling water for 1 hour.
- Drain the cashews.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Chill in fridge for 2 hours.
- Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
For many, it's just not the holidays without baking batches of yummy cookies…and of course eating them! Without sacrificing tradition and pleasure, try lightening up your favorite recipes by staying away from refined sugars and flour as well as any processed oils and fats. Here is a healthier alternative to a family favorite!
- ½ cup softened coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 ½ cups flour blend (gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- Mix ingredients except the flour in large bowl using a mixer.
- Add flour and mix the dough carefully. Knead thoroughly adding flour until no longer sticky.
- Shape the dough into several balls and flatten them.
- Use gingerbread men cookie cutters to cut out your cookies.
- Bake in a preheated oven (350F) on thin baking sheets lined with parchment paper for about 12 minutes.
- Cool cookies for 10 minutes until they harden.
Once cooled, let the kids decorate them!
The holidays only come around once a year, so savor the company, celebration and nostalgic foods of the season. Planning ahead and preparing for meals will go a long way to keeping your mind and body in balance while allowing you to enjoy at the same time. Most importantly, if you do happen to overindulge, lose the guilt! Focus instead on the joy and happiness the holidays bring.