‘Tis the season for lots of cookies, cakes, creamy drinks, hearty meals and overall indulgence! This is the time of year when you are faced with more temptation than ever. Let’s take a few moments to think about how you can maintain your health while still enjoying the season:
1. Remember that balance is everything!
Follow the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the time you will eat as healthily as usual and 20% of the time you will let yourself enjoy a treat without guilt. Here is some math: There are 40 days and 120 meals between Thanksgiving and New Years. If you follow the 80/20 rule you can have a treat at 24 of those meals. Choose wisely and consider tracking on your calendar. You may find that you can’t resist indulging at one event but you have no problem at another. Skip the donuts and leftover pies at work and save your 24 for a dinner or a party!
2. “Indulge” with these healthy but tasty treats:
A) Dip your vegetables in something creamy…. Make a savory dip with plain Greek yogurt! For a thicker consistency, strain the yogurt overnight over a cheesecloth to remove liquid, then mix the thickened yogurt with your favorite savory seasoning and top with fresh chives or scallions. (Tip: you can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for many recipes that call for cream or sour cream).
B) Fill your house with the warm smell of baked apples and cinnamon: Slice apples in half or in to bite sized pieces. Coat with a small amount of coconut oil and cinnamon to taste. Optional: Sprinkle with almond slivers. Bake in the oven at 350F 20-30 minutes.
C) Try making “cookie dough” balls with chickpeas! Blend together chickpeas, nut butter and a small amount of honey. Your goal is a cookie dough consistency. Toss in some chocolate chips and roll the “dough” in to bite sized balls. You can eat this raw or you can bake it to get the melted chocolate effect!
3. Ask yourself, is this making me healthy? Is it making me happy?
If the answer is neither, why are you eating it? When was the last time somebody offered you a cookie and you took one bite and thought “this isn’t very good” but kept eating it anyway? This season challenge yourself to put the not-so-tasty cookie down! Save your 24 for something worthwhile!
4. Choose this not that:
A) Choose an apple crumble instead of an apple pie
B) Choose grilled, braised or roasted instead of stuffed, smothered, or rich
C) Instead of randomly grazing at a party, choose one item you can’t resist and then fill the rest of your plate with protein and produce