Stealth Health for the Holidays
When was the last time you exercised, ate well, and lost weight over the holidays? It's a tall order, and one that many simply write off as the holiday season is designed for indulging, entertaining, and relaxing. The downside: Once the month-long celebration passes, you can end up feeling sluggish and heavier than ever.
I believe that it is possible to have fun, entertain, and relax while maintaining a healthy holiday season.
With simple meal makeovers and movement management, you can enjoy the holidays while keeping your health in check. Keep reading for drink, dessert & meal makovers, and easy & delicious recipes.
Before we get to the food, let's not forget all-important movement. We all know by now that movement can decrease our stress levels, which are usually higher over the holidays. In this video, this NYU researcher speaks about 3 other things that happen to our brains when we exercise: Mood improves because of neurohormones, we get more focused attention, & most exciting- brand new brain cells are triggered, which leads to a stronger memory. As if we needed more convincing...
You will be surprised how little things add to your daily sugar and calorie intake. Consider the typical holiday drink, a cocktail. Everyone has his or her own signature cocktail recipe and you never know what you'll be handed at the holiday party, but an average cocktail easily packs 200 calories. After a few, your blood sugar can skyrocket, not to mention your hangover the next day! Instead, bring along a healthier option, such as freshly squeezed pomegranate juice with seltzer water. This rich combo tastes great and clocks in at about 100 calories. Give your own holiday party a festive pop of color by making a quick round of freshly squeezed seasonal juices and mixing them with the fizzy water of your choice. (Recipe below.)
Tip: If you do want to imbibe, drink one glass of water for every cocktail consumed. The following morning, flush your system with an alkalizing green smoothie made with kale, cucumber, lemon, apple, and filtered water.
If you have a sweet tooth, and are trying to stay on track health-wise, the holidays can be torture-there is simply too much temptation lying around in form of cakes and pies! Forgo "low-fat" offerings and opt for desserts that feature fresh fruit and good organic fat.Use bran and oatmeal in lieu of white flour in your baked goods. Use walnuts and freshly cut fruit and berries to top pies, and make pudding with avocado instead of milk by blending the avocado in a blender first. Coconut cream is an excellent alternative to heavy cream when you need a delicious whipped topping. (Recipe below.)
Tip: Everything in moderation! If you're mindful of what you're eating, savoring every bite, and really honing in on the flavors, you're less likely to want to take that second or third piece of pie.
The holidays and decadent meals go hand in hand. But here's a simple tip so you don't feel sluggish and bloated after dinner: Fill your plate with more vegetables and keep meat to a minimum; load up on salad and ignore the rolls. Try cooking your meals in organic oils-add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil to the finely grilled steak or roast for added flavor and a dose of healthy fat. If you crave starch, opt for mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower, or a mix of the two, which are high in antioxidants, and cut your portion size in half.
Tip: Eat a healthy meal of quinoa with steamed kale, broccoli, beets, and tofu topped with a simple tahini dressing before you head out to your evening festivities. Your full belly will prevent you from wanting to overindulge.
Remember, the holidays are all about spending time with loved ones and friends, attending parties, and eating out. Don't make yourself crazy trying to remain super healthy; instead, do your best and if you overindulge, know that you can always start fresh tomorrow!
Drink Makeover - Turmeric Latte
1 cup plant milk
1inch turmeric knob or about ½ tsp ground spice
1 -2 shakes of cinnamon
1 shake nutmeg, cloves optional
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
Blend well. Either drink warm or cool. I make a triple batch and store in the fridge, warming it up when I'm cold.
2 Holiday Meal Makeover Recipes, click here Dessert Makeover - Nutella-Joy Balls
2 cups dates soaked in warm water for 20 minutes 1 cup hazelnuts or almonds 1 cup walnuts 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds.
Blend all ingredients (except the coconut shreds) together.
Roll into balls using wet hands.
Roll the balls in coconut shreds.