July 13, 2024

Healthy Holiday Treat Tricks by Betsy Markle

Holidays always seem to be filled with mixed emotion. Obviously it a joyous time filled with family, friends, and lots of yummy treats, but then there are also the 500 calorie eggnog drinks, the endless amount of chocolate and candy, the inactivity, the insane levels of stress, and most of all, the guilt that everyone feels by the end of the season.

Luckily, little healthy changes and habits can make a huge impact.  Here are three nutrition tips how to be healthy during the holidays without feeling deprived.

Do not skip more than 4 hours between meals. Try to eat a balanced meal or snack every 2-4 hours. With a level blood sugar, your cravings will be minimized and you will stay energized.

Stick with water, water, water and if you want to indulge in an alcoholic drink, choose wisely.  Spiced eggnog with rum has approximately 450 calories, 10 grams saturated fat, 60 grams carbohydrates and 50 grams sugar!

Bring a healthy dish to parties. Start a light healthy dish as a holiday tradition. Here are a few recipes to get started:

Bocconcini Tomato Skewers: Festive red, white and green appetizer

20 cherry bocconcini or ovolini cheese, or 5 regular bocconcini sliced into quarters
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
20 small cherry tomatoes
40 small fresh basil leaves

Put the bocconcini in a bowl with the oil, parsley, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Cut each cherry tomato in half and thread one half on a skewer or toothpick, followed by a basil leaf, then bocconcini, another leaf and then another tomato half.  Repeat with more skewers and the remaining ingredients and serve.

Butternut Harvest Apple Soup:

¼ cup ghee (clarified butter) or butter
2 large leeks (white & light green parts), chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups diced carrots
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & chopped
8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped chives

Melt ghee (or butter) in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in leeks and onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add potato, squash, carrots, apples, and stock. Bring to boil then reduce to medium-low, cover, then simmer for 20 minutes (till vegetables are soft). Puree soup (in batches in blender or with stick blender in pot). Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper; simmer gently for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives.  Makes a large pot of soup.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup:

2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 (15 oz.) cans solid packed pumpkin or use your own puree
1 quart water
1 cup coconut milk (I use So Delicious brand – unsweetened)
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and cook, stirring often until very soft, about 8 minutes. Add pumpkin, water, coconut milk, syrup, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking often. (Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool and then cover and chill. Bring to a simmer before serving.)

Dairy Free Pumpkin Nut Smoothie: Low sugar smoothie balanced with protein

1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
¼ cup creamy salted organic peanut butter
¼ cup creamy salted organic almond butter
¾ cup canned organic pumpkin (unsweetened)
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp pumpkin spice
¾ cup light coconut milk
Sweetened with agave as needed
Directions: Blend together.  Makes approximately 4 x 8oz cups

Betsy Markle, Registered Dietitian & Certified Personal Trainer
Phone: 609.849.2222
Fax: 888.849.0169
Please contact us to learn more about our 7 Step Nutrition Workbook & Resource Guide, 9 Day Natural Detox Program and Nutrition Consulting.

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