Tagged as: food

Top Tips for a Successful and Healthy Holiday Season

By: Marit Harney RD, LDN, CPT

Everyone is aware of the fact that eating and exercise habits tend to decline around the holidays, leaving most of us 2-5 pounds heavier by the time we hit January.  Many of us fail to lose all the weight and continue to slowly pack on the pounds year after year.  I’m sure you’re also aware of the many reasons WHY this happens to so many people, but maybe you didn’t connect the dots on all the factors that contribute to this unwanted behavior change. Below I have listed some of the most common factors for overeating or binge eating around the Holidays.

  • Family drama increases emotional stress                                                 download
  • Over committed schedule increases physical and emotional stress
  • Treats are flowing off every table you look at! Willpower is a finite power. The more you call upon it, the weaker you get.
  • Social acceptability or feeling obligated to eat or drink certain things. Maybe it’s time to create a new “norm” for yourself. After all, you deserve to be supported by those around you who care.

I have a proposition for you:

Let’s do things a little (and I mean a little, if that’s what’s do-able) different this year to minimize the damage

I’m phrasing it this way, because it’s realistic and cumulative in terms of beneficial effects. Year after year, if you do things just a little better/ different, you can slow or avoid the steady creeping weight.  What you won’t be doing is thinking that you will “stick to your healthy diet through the holidays and workout every day.” That’s not going to happen. Let’s get real!

Here are some practical tips to help you navigate positive changes during the holiday season. Take a look and consider doing the ones that seem the easiest this year. This does not mean do all the things on the list! You may also consider which of these changes may have the greatest impact on your habits, and start with that one thing. Once you have identified the thing(s) that you plan to work on, write it/them down.  I encourage you to also write your plans in the comments section below this article. This will

Help create a sense of community, support and accountability with others like you! 

  1. Load your plate up with the good stuff like veggies and meat.
    • Leave a little room for indulgences that your wouldn’t normally have. Moderation > deprivation.
  2. Get rid of junky leftovers ASAP
    • Either avoid having them by sending them with someone else, or give them away. Honestly, I don’t feel bad about throwing away food that will sabotage me or others. Don’t pawn off your problem foods onto someone else who might be struggling with willpower.
  3. Consistently eat a solid breakfast
    • This will set your mind and metabolism up for success for the day. I suggest a smoothie with a clean protein powder, almond or coconut milk, spinach, berries and ground flax. Eggs and veggies are always a good option as well.
  4. Sprinkle in exercise and make reasonable goals
    • Plan your exercise time for when you actually might have some time (wknds or days off) and get it done first thing in the AM. On the other days, aim to move your body as much or as often as you can. That might mean walking for 15 mins, doing 20-50 jumping jacks, squats, pushups or planks whenever you have a free moment. Exercise does not need to be done all at once. Fit in a little here and a little there, on your busy days.
  5. Practice yoga for 15 mins per day or do some form of stress management
    • Adding this practice into your daily routine can help you cope with stress, leaving you less reliant on treats and alcohol. This WEBSITE provides free multi level and time frame yoga classes that you can do at home! Also check out the Headspace App on your phone for a free 10 day for 10 minutes, guided meditation program.
  6. Drink lots of water
    • Properly hydrating will help regulate your appetite, give you more energy, and keep your metabolism humming along.
  7. Limit treats on days when you don’t have a party or “eating commitment”
    • Save your treats for when it matters at get-togethers.
  8. Bring a dish
    • Bring a healthy (or healthier) option that you and others can enjoy so you aren’t deprived
  9. Limit your use of willpower when possible
    •  Evaluate temping situations and decide if avoiding it is possible or reasonable. Save your willpower for when there is no avoiding a situation.
  10. Play up the non- alcoholic beverages
    • Ask for seltzer, a splash of juice (optional) and some lemon or lime in a glass with a straw. No one will know you’re not drinking a mixed drink. At a sit down dinner? Just say alcoholic drinks give you heart burn.
  11. Choose your treat if you’re having one
    • Either one alcoholic drink or one dessert. Choose red wine when possible.
  12. Recognize your trigger foods and avoid completely
    • It will make things easier later, if you make this one decision now.
  13. Make your goal to eat mindfully, not complete avoidance or deprivation
  14. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t meet your expectation 100%
    • Learn from your mistakes and move on. Harping on it will not change a thing! Let it go-

So what things will YOU be working on this year? I want to see them written below!

MaritHarney.Com

Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs

So you ditched that package of high-carb noodles from your pantry, now learn to love nature’s healthy noodles: spaghetti squash. If you haven’t yet tried spaghetti squash then you’re in for a real treat. A pile of tender spaghetti squash strands piled high with protein and veggie meatballs makes the perfect fitness meal.

Servings: 12

Here’s what you need…

  • 2 pounds lean, organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 pound lean, sweet turkey sausage
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 omega-3, eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • Optional: handful of olives

Sauce

  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • splash of white wine
  • 2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • dash of salt and pepper

Noodles

    1 spaghetti squash
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash spaghetti squash and poke all over with a knife. Place directly on the middle oven rack and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, slice in half and remove the seeds. Scoop the spaghetti squash strands out with a large spoon, set aside in a bowl.
  2. Throw all of the meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands. Form into large, golf ball sized meatballs.
  3. Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well.
  4. Cook with Crockpot: Place the meatballs in your slow cooker. Cover with the sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours. OR Cook with stovetop: Place meatballs in a large pot. Cover with sauce and cook, covered, over low heat for 2-3 hours.
  5. Place a scoop of spaghetti squash noodles on each plate, top with meatballs and some sauce and then throw on a few olives.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals:  266 calories, 12g fat, 426mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 26g protein

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Fitness Oatmeal

This oatmeal is packing a powerful ingredient – protein. Mix a scoop of your favorite protein powder into your oatmeal to transform it into a quick and healthy breakfast.

Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…
½cup whole grain oats
1 cup water
dash of sea salt
1 scoop high quality protein
1 tablespoon chopped macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon golden raisins
Mix the oats, water and salt together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in protein, top with nuts and raisins.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 325 calories, 7g fat, 41g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, and 26g protein.

Simple Turkey Loaf

Here’s a simple dinner recipe that is filled with muscle-building protein and fantastic flavor. Serve with a side of cauliflower rice, or a nice big green salad, to increase the fiber content. Leftovers taste even better the next day, so feel free to pack it for a healthy lunch!

Servings: 12

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 omega-3 rich eggs
  • 2.5 pounds organic, ground turkey
  • 1 cup ketchup
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a small casserole pan with olive oil.
  2. Place a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, onions and peppers. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add the spices, tomato paste, eggs and turkey. Mix well then transfer to the prepared pan, shaping into a loaf.
  4. Pour the ketchup evenly over the top of your loaf. Bake for 90 minutes, and until no longer pink in the center.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 146 calories, 2g fat, 322mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, .5g fiber, and 25g protein

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