Tis’ the season! It seems as though we wait half the year, counting down the days until Halloween is over and we can finally start planning the delicious Thanksgiving day menu, update the Christmas playlists and put up the winter greenery, and of course all of the lights! We are just two days away from the beginning of family, friends, delicious food and many good memories. And the fun won’t stop on Thursday.
Today I am sharing some tips and simple way to help keep things lighter (on the belly) and some simple swaps to “healthify” our favorite meals.
Usually every holiday meal I’m raising my hand to bring the deviled eggs (I’ll confess to eating these all year round), but I hate knowing how much mayo is usually found in them. So my solution? A lesser quantity of either plain greek yogurt or whipped avocado (or both), and sometimes, if I’m feeling edgy I sub regular mayo for “olive oil” mayo 😂
Bubbly, Wine, and other libations:
Popping bottles this holiday season? We all know the negative effects of alcohol, and although a drink or several every now and then isn’t as harmful as daily drinking or binge drinking, the number you throw back can rack up pretty quickly with all the holiday festivities. My favorite sub? La Croix with some muddled fruit, or sparkling Bai- it is so delicious! There’s always sparkling cider- but beware, as it is sugar heavy.
Sweet Potato Heaven:
I’m usually always in charge of sweet potato casserole, but last year I took the healthier route (and have continued to when it comes to sweet potatoes, which are one of my favorite foods and we eat them all the time!) I used to load up my sweet potatoes with tons of sugar, at least a half stick of butter, whole milk, and a topping of crumbly pecans, flour and gooey marshmallows. And yes, it’s delicious- but it’s not the only way to make sweet potatoes delicious! Thanks to a suggestion from a friend, I’ve added ghee to my sweet potato arsenal this season.
- 4 Sweet Potatoes
- 1/4 Cup Coconut/Almond Milk (warmed slightly
- 2 TBSP Ghee (coconut butter is a good option as well)
- 2 TBSP Maple Syrup
- 1/2-1 Cup Pecan Pieces
- 1/2 TSP of Vanilla Extract
- 1-2 TBSP of Brown Sugar of Coconut Sugar (to taste- I don't like mine very sweet)
- Salt/Pepper to taste (I usually omit both)
- Preheat oven to 375
- Peel and dice about 4 Sweet Potatoes
- Place in a pot and bring to a boil until tender
- Drain, and then place into an oven safe dish that has been lightly sprayed with coconut oil
- Slightly mash the soft potato chunks
- Add half the amount of sugar and maple syrup, add vanilla, and ghee and mix/mash until blended (there should be lumps)
- Mix the remaining sugar and maple syrup with the pecans and spread over the potatoes
- If you feel so inclined you may want add a bit more ghee top the top to help "candie" the pecans.
- Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes (until the top is crispy and it's heated through)
Did Someone Say Apple Pie?
Although I have yet to taste THIS pie (I plan to) from Tone It Up, it’s just a suggestion if you don’t want to go full blown dessert. I’ll be honest, I’m likely going to have some of the homemade, organic Marion berry pie (which is currently frozen) that we picked up from the pumpkin patch… But portion control right? With all of the indulging, portion control for both appetizers, the main meal, dessert and drinks, is key to maintaining a happy, healthy balance.
The crust in this pie is made out of oat flour and the entire recipe has a much lesser sugar quantity compared to others.
Also, I’m not done with pumpkins so I made up a batch of THESE Protein Pumpkin Muffins but added some mini chocolate chips that I will be bringing with us as I know our host is health conscious as well as Kris’s mom.
Clean and Green:
Stalk up on those veggies before meal time (sans the dressing), opt for homemade Hummus or an organic brand that you love rather than ranch or other dressings. When filling your dinner plate make sure there are plenty of greens and protein before adding in other sides!
It doesn’t hurt to ensure that you aren’t starving when it comes time to pack the plate. Drink plenty of water before and during your get togethers! (this will also help in the event that you’ve had too much bubbly).
Take on “Streaking”:
No, not that kind… A running streak! 😁 I think for most people, myself included it can be hard during the holidays to maintain fitness goals. Holiday running streaks can help keep you on your toes (literally). Runnersworld.com does a well known streak, so you’ll have lots of support via the #RWRUNSTEAK hashtag. I’ll be participating this year, and starting out with 3-6 miles on Thanksgiving. The streak goes from Thanksgiving day until New Years! As their website mentions, it’s best to already be participating in an exercise program and aren’t new to your fitness journey- when in doubt talk to your Doc.
Remember to breath:
The holidays can be stressful, especially for those who battle anxiety and depression. As an introvert, it’s sometimes a struggle to want to attend all of the gatherings and parties. Make sure you give yourself some space… self love and time to “just be” is super important to having a fun holiday season. Whether it’s ensuring you get your workout or run in, getting a pedicure, or squeezing in a moment of zen with a yoga class/meditation. Make sure the shopping and parties don’t get the best of you!
On that note, have a fantastic start to the Holidays. Happy Thanksgiving Fit Fam, see you back here soon!