The holiday season can be a difficult time for those who want to maintain a healthful lifestyle. Numerous parties, bountiful feasts, so many well-deserved celebrations, each of these can also an opportunity to overindulge. Food plays such a large part in our festivities that it can be easy to lose your intention amidst the chocolate and cakes and schnapps. There are a few simple recommendations, however, that can help keep the holidays healthy without sacrificing the yumminess!
This is perhaps my favorite recommendation. Are you ready?
Eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Yes, you read that correctly! It’s your childhood dream come true. Limit your selection to one to two slices, remembering that portion sizes matter. At the end of the article, you’ll find my personal Paleo pie recipe, showcasing the same decadent flavor you crave with healthier ingredients.
Lunch is the meal most often missed during this time of year. It’s easy to justify midday fasting to overindulge later in the day. Skipping meals often leads to binging later. It can be as simple as starting to eat while cooking, grabbing a few cookies to get you through the afternoon, or loading up that dinner plate with enough food for a small country. All those little actions snowball into a large helping of regret the next morning.
Instead, opt for a light lunch. Consider a cup of soup with a salad or perhaps olives with raw cheese to comfortably tide you over until dinner.
This brings us to the main feast: Christmas dinner. Next to Thanksgiving, this is perhaps the most iconic meal we have in America. From The Grinch to The Christmas Story, countless characters line up to admire the final fixings and drool over the beast they cooked for the final meal of the day.
Fatty organic prime rib, especially marbled with juicy fat layers, actually jam packs the meal with nutrients and makes for an iconic centerpiece at the final meal. If turkey finishes off your day instead, you’ll be loading up on quality protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Make sure to pack your plate full of your low-glycemic vegetables, such as green beans, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, and chard. Rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, not to mention much needed fiber, these colorful additions to your meal help with digestion and give you that full feeling. For a fun healthy twist on salad dressing, check out my recipe below.
Don’t deprive yourself of some of the holiday favorites, including the classic mashed potatoes. Pair moderate portions with slow, thoughtful chewing to savor the mashed potato flavor without overdoing it.
If you’re looking to switch up from regular potatoes, squash soup is a great start to a formal meal, or roasted root vegetables can hit the spot. Whichever starches you decide to include, make sure that they play a minor role in your overall meals.
Even though you started the morning off with dessert, it’s tempting to finish with the same sugar rush. Wait two hours after eating for your stomach to empty. You may also forget that last slice, at least until tomorrow morning!
After enjoying the morning festivities with the family, build in a physical activity to the celebration. From taking a stroll at the beach to tidying up the living room to throwing around the football at the park, turn the TV off and get the blood pumping.
Whatever you do, encourage your family to remain active throughout the day. Not only does it help create those cherished memories, you’ll be burning off some of that extra sugar you’ve enjoyed.
Jump Start Your New Year Goals
From tackling residual health issues to knocking off that excess winter weight, the New Year always brings about a great opportunity to kick your health goals into gear. As we all know, commitment to our January regimen comes and goes as easily as sneaking a few cookies.
If you’re looking to make a commitment that sticks, accountability plays a big role in overall success. To tackle overall wellness, and achieve your goals this year, consider starting off the year with one of my wellness nutrition packages. Together, we will customize a unique nutrition plan and give you the tools you need to make this the most healthful year yet.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
This recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- 1 gluten-free pie shell
- 2 cups cooked pumpkin, or 1 can pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 1/3-1/2 cups honey, or other natural sweetener; to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup coconut milk, full fat, use homemade for GAPS
- Line a 9-inch pie pan with your choice of gluten-free crust. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat well. Add the rest of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into piecrust.
- To avoid the crust getting burned, cover edges of pie pan with strips of aluminum foil until they just cover the edges of the crust.
- For almond piecrust, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 35-45 minutes or until firm. Or for coconut crust, bake at 325 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes or until firm.
- Allow cooling for several hours or overnight in the fridge. It will become firmer as it cools. If you are using the coconut crust, the crust will also firm up overnight in the fridge.
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried (basil, oregano, chives, and thyme are all nice)
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
- Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.
- Serve over your basic green salad with added chopped vegetables.