Healthy Holiday Hacks

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The holidays are a time for celebrating and what better way to enjoy the festivities than with lots of friends, food and drink? From turkey to tatters and punch to pie delicious and decadent items are all around us. Of course it’s fun to enjoy in the beginning, but after a while, especially when your clothes start to feel snug, the novelty wears off and the hard work begins. What if I told you, you don’t have to deal with those extra holiday pounds and that just a few edits to your menu or your recipes will help you stay fit and focused all season long. Would you believe me? Well, you should! Yes, you can still enjoy all your favorite goodies, and by following my tips or adding in these yummy recipes you’ll gain fiber and nutrients while losing calories, sugar and bad for you fats. Let’s get started!

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Cauliflower Mash, enough said

I would say 2018 was certainly the year of the cauliflower as it subbed it’s way into pizza, rice and even gnocchi. Now, it’s taking over your mashed potatoes and we are convinced it will win over the most dedicated potato lovers with it’s similar taste and texture. What they’ll lose in starch, carbs and butter, they’ll now gain in antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber.

Recipe:

  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

  • 2 tbsp 0 – 2% Greek yogurt

  • 1 tbsp organic butter or olive oil

  • 3 tbsp milk of choice

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp pink salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • Fresh chives for garnish

Directions: Steam cauliflower until tender. Transfer to a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients besides the chives. Blend to the consistency you enjoy. Sprinkle with chives and serve!

Brussels sprouts are today’s Green Bean Casserole

Every table needs at least two veggie side dishes and fall is the perfect season to serve brussel sprouts. They are hearty, taste great roasted, are in season (therefore can be bought locally) and provide tons of health benefits including cancer prevention, natural detoxification, vitamins, minerals and fiber to lower cholesterol and fill you up. I toss mine in olive oil, organic maple syrup and a little red wine vinegar and roast at 375 degrees, until browned. For that seasonal touch, top with chopped pecans — you won’t be disappointed!

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Corn Bread…hold the corn!

Corn is controversial. Some can’t digest it, others fear the GMO factor. It’s higher in starch than other veggies and we prefer it at summer BBQs, not fall feasts. So this year we’ve decided to swap our cornmeal for millet and our eggs with chia to make for a healthier, vegan version everyone at your table will love. Oh yeah, we even snuck some zucchini in here! With these additions we’ve added fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants all while keeping the flavor and texture on point. Go ahead enjoy it at dinner and again the next day. We like ours toasted with coconut oil and tea! My favorite recipe is from Detoxinista.

Cheers to cleaner cocktails

Although I won’t tell you not to drink during the holidays, I will recommend cleaning up your cocktails in order to decrease the sugar, calories and hangover in the AM (you are welcome). So load the bar with coconut water, lime and fresh mint (perfect paired with rum) and any flavor Spindrift with a matching fruit garnish (for those who prefer tequila or vodka). Finally, for the more traditional folks, grab a few bottles of organic wine and local beer. Now, get your party started!

Recovery zone

So you’ve eaten and drank your way through the night but what’s your next day plan? If you don’t take a minute to think about it you might add on another indulgent day to your week, which can cause a slow but steady creep on that scale. Schedule that workout, drink a few glasses of water (ok, now a few more than that), get your sweat on (try a infrared sauna maybe) and then refuel with clean eats. My go-to post-holiday meal is usually two eggs, spinach and tomato on one slice of sprouted toast, such as Ezekiel, with hot sauce. Fills the belly, fuels the body and I personally believe, fixes that hangover.

Most importantly surround yourself with those you love, get some sleep, don’t over stress, breathe and have fun! Believe it or not these are all part of your healthy holiday plan, keep them in check to keep your diet on point. And circle back with me after New Year.

Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Real Nutrition.

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