Friday, 21 December 2012

'Tis the Season

Thanks to Apple Care, my new hard drive is working beautifully and I can get back on track with my blog posts! ‘

Tis the season to be merry, full of holiday parties, Christmas cheers and most of all….excessive consumption of treats and booze!

I love a good party, especially if it involves an ugly Christmas sweater, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon ship and give up your fitness or healthy eating routine. It is possible to enjoy yourself, indulge a little and still feel great during the holidays. To do so, consider following some of the simple guidelines I have listed below. I’ve also included three of my favorite recipes (appetizer, entrĂ©e and dessert) if you’re looking for a new and nutrient filled dish for your next holiday endeavor.

1.     Eat something ahead of time- this may sound counterintuitive, but if you show up ABSOLUTELY starving, people will start giving you weird looks as you stuff your face with every single piece of food in sight. A salad with lean protein, some veggies and hummus or a piece of fruit ahead of time can keep hunger at bay and prevent you from over eating.
2.     Be picky- You look forward to your Grandma’s chocolate dipped shortbread all year and have to have one. Before filling your plate with everyday items, do a scan of the food table and pick out which items you  enjoy most. Choose foods that you don’t normally get, and say no to those you can make at home anytime. My guilty pleasures? I head straight for the red wine (hello merlot) and anything chocolate at the dessert table
3.     Watch the liquid calories- a HALF-CUP (yes literally a tiny half-cup measure) of eggnog contains a whopping 220 calories on average. Since most people pour at least one cup and top if off with a shot of rum, you’re looking at over 500 calories per drink. Limit yourself to one small rum and eggnog, cut the eggnog with skim milk if watching your fat intake and go easy on the rum for a rich and tasty treat. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to stay hydrated and avoid being “that drunk girl” at your office Christmas gathering.
4.     Make wise choices- Choose a smaller plate if possible, and load it up with raw veggies to start. I always go for the “expensive” stuff, aka shrimp cocktail, the meat and cheese platter, and you’ll find me heading for seconds if there’s a roast of lamb or beef being served. The worst fingers foods tend to be: creamy dips or spreads, puff pastry, breadcrumb coated or deep-fried anything. Save room for dessert, but limit yourself to small portion sizes, think one of two pieces, as most Christmas cookies, pies and bars are full of butter and refined sugar.
5.     If you’re looking for recipes for your next potluck, I’ve had great success with all three listed below

Spinach Salad with Cinnamon Almond, Strawberries and Goat Cheese,
This nutrient filled salad that is very festive looking and a delicious combination of flavors. I usually cut the brown sugar for the almonds in half and they still taste fine.

Wild and Brown Rice Pilaf with Dried fruits and Pecans
I made this dish at my last Christmas party and it was a huge hit. Feel free to mix up the dried fruits and nuts you use depending on what’s in your pantry.

Chocolate avocado pudding
I made this vegan friendly chocolate pudding at another Christmas party and used it as a dip for a fruit platter my friend brought. It has a delicious, rich taste and is full of healthy fats from the avocado and coconut milk. 

Happy Holidays!

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