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Holiday Eating - How to Stay On Track!

I love holidays...and their food! But I hate the holiday food hangover. I recently was talking with a client that has been trying really hard to eat clean. She was lamenting that she didn’t want to be derailed by this upcoming holiday. She wants to celebrate with family and friends but wants to avoid feeling like a slug for days afterwards; having to start all over again with her weight loss journey. She was worried about offending the host if she didn't' fill her plate with ham, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, and biscuits. And, she didn't want to draw attention to herself by hearing "why aren't you eating?" "Come on its just one day"

So we came up with a plan!

Maybe her plan will help you avoid the holiday hangover too.

  • Even though she wasn't asked to, she is bringing some side dishes and an appetizer that fit into her clean eating. See recipes below.

  • She's going to keep busy instead of just standing around the food table mindlessly eating. She has a three year old so that will help. But if you don't have a little one to chase, there is always something you can help with in the kitchen; or you can always entertain others' kids.

  • She plans to always have a glass of water in her hand. Drinking water before a meal helps you feel full and keeps you from drinking your calories.

  • Deliberately plan to have one small indulgence so you don't feel deprived. If your mom's carrot cake shaped like a bunny is something you look forward to every Easter, enjoy a small piece. But decide ahead of time your portion. Enjoy it mindfully and then step away from the bunny!

Holidays don't have to derail your weight loss efforts. You can enjoy the holiday without feeling like a truck hit you the day after the holiday. My client is excited to have a holiday that doesn't leave her feeling bloated and miserable. I hope you too can have a holiday filled with friends and family and healthy choices!

Here are some healthy alternatives to some traditional holiday dishes:

Not So Deviled Eggs:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise

  • 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt or avacado mayo

  • 2 tsp dijon mustard or yellow mustard

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • paprika to garnish

Healthy Mac and Cheese:

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni - whole wheat, low glycemic, gluten free... any will work!

  • 1 tablespoon butter (grass fed)

  • 1 small yellow onion

  • 1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)

  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • ¾ cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ⅔ cup shredded cheese - I like Gruyère but any kind will work

  • parsley for topping

  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Cut the onion into thin rings and add to the butter in the pan, sauteing over low heat until fragrant and golden, about 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, remove the skin and the seeds from the squash. Cut the flesh into small cubes. Bring the broth to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until fork tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup broth, and transfer squash to the blender. Add the onions, milk, salt, and reserved broth and puree until completely smooth and creamy. This should yield about 4 cups sauce.

  3. Pour the pureed sauce over the cooked noodles and add the shredded cheese. Stir to melt the cheese; add water or milk to adjust consistency as needed. Serve with parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

  • 1 lb Bacon

  • 15 Scallops

  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  2. Rinse scallops under cold water.

  3. Cut bacon strips in half.

  4. Wrap each scallop with 1/2 strip of bacon.

  5. Skewer 2–3 bacon-wrapped scallops per skewer.

  6. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, seasoning both sides.

  7. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes.

  8. Flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Healthier Green Bean Casserole:

  • 2 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper

  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese

  1. Preheat to 425°F.

  2. Toss green beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips.)

  4. When the green beans are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

  5. Transfer half the green beans to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce.

  6. Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

  7. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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