It’s the most wonderful time of year! Traditions with family, time spent with friends. There is so much to be grateful for. From Thanksgiving through Holiday parties, a cookie exchange, then comes Christmas dinner with family. You might be asking yourself, how does one stay on a routine diet?
Have you ever thought “Well, I already broke my diet today, so I might as well just start again tomorrow.”? Or how about “I ate terrible yesterday, so I might as well have a donut for breakfast.” Or “Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, I’ll just start eating healthy again on Monday.”
Don’t give up! This blog will help guide you through the carb-loaded, sugar-glazed, buttered-up season. It’s being prepared ahead of time that will save your back end. There it is, I said the magic word for this blog, prepared! Because there is a way to go to family dinners and have a wonderfully cooked meal with all the great conversations and enjoy the holiday without feeling guilty. So, what do your meals look like surrounding this celebration? Are you too busy running around, caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle, only to find that you forgot to eat and now must find food in a pinch? How about the meals after the holiday dinner? Did you host and now have a kitchen full of leftovers? Or did mom push all the leftovers on you so you have a weeks’ worth of her homemade stuffing in your fridge?
Having prepared meals is such a key component to making healthy choices leading up to, and after, the holidays. When making your grocery list for that infamous cookie exchange be sure to include a few ingredients from your favorite healthful meals. Making sure that you are stocked with fresh veggies, fruits, eggs and meats. Can’t think of a favorite meal? Listed below are a few favorites from the coaches. Even if your schedule is jam packed, setting aside some time to prepare can help keep you from reaching for more sugar cookies. Plan meals and have these ingredients ready for after your holiday get togethers to keep you in line with your goals.
It is all too easy to get distracted by the enormous holiday menu. Homemade cookies, pies, hams, casseroles, and stuffing are all delightful and to indulge does not mean to give up on your health. Before going to your holiday work party, or dinner with family, create a clear mental image of what you want your plate to look like. Allow yourself some room for one or two of your favorite cookies/desserts. Do your best to save sweets for after the meal, this ensures that they remain treats, not snacks. No one is expected to skip out on Mom’s famous ultimate cookie bar or Grandma’s pecan pie. Indulge mindfully.
Though it seems sensible to arrive hungry this can be dangerous. You are more likely to reach for snacks and bars before the meal even begins. Instead, eat a light meal beforehand. Perhaps a green salad or Coach Ryan’s Beefed Up Spanish Rice (see below). Another way to avoid overeating is simply by turning your focus away from the food. Take this time to enjoy the company of those around you. Learn more about that aunt that lives out of state. Or more about your step-dad’s new project out in the garage. When the evening comes to its close, politely decline taking leftovers. Knowing full well that your fridge is already stocked with your own arrangement of healthy items.
Let’s use archery for an example. As an archer sets his aim at a target he may get distracted by a sound or movement. Yet, rather than setting down his bow and arrow he simply realigns himself to hit the target. Your target is your health plan. Don’t let the holidays completely distract you. It’s never too late to realign yourself.
Don’t be afraid to partake in the holidays. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year. Take these tips with you and let them guide you through the season. Meal planning and preparation, along with a mindful focus will keep you on track yet give you leeway to enjoy and be merry.
- Coach Elizabeth
Coach Elizabeth’s Sweet Potato Mash and Ground Turkey
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 1 lb turkey breast
- ½ lb of Brussel sprouts
- 2 tblsp Coconut oil
- 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
- 2 tblsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 445 degrees. Use a fork to pierce the potato. Wrap in tin foil for a softer skin. Bake for 45 min. Once the potatoes have baked for twenty minutes, cut ends off of the brussels and chop into halves. Place the Brussels on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and place in oven for 15 min. In a medium fry pan, brown turkey over medium heat.
Take potatoes out of tin foil and let cool slightly. When they are cool enough to touch cut in half and scoop out the sweet potato goodness into mixing bowl. (Leaving skin on is optional). Add coconut milk and coconut oil, mash to desired consistency. Plate and portion out as desired.
This easily makes a few meals for the week of mashed sweet potato, ground turkey, and baked brussels. It makes a wonderful lunch or dinner but could also be a delicious breakfast with an over easy egg to top it all off!
Coach Ryan’s Beefed up Spanish Rice
- 4 slices pastured bacon
- 2 tblsp bacon grease
- 3 lb 90/10 grass fed ground beef
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups white Basmati or Jasmine Rice
- 2- 8oz cans organic tomato sauce
- 4 cups water
- Sea Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large cast iron Dutch oven fry up the bacon until crisp draining on a paper towel. When cook, chop into small pieces. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. *Sautee the onions and bell peppers in the bacon grease until slightly tender, about 5 min.
Add the ground beef and cook until just browned. Add the rice, tomato sauce, water, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a slight boil. Stir in the chopped bacon and put a lid on it: reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Coach Brad’s Chicken Tinga
- 1 1/2# Chicken Breast
- 1 15oz Can Tomato Sauce (organic non GMO)
- 1 Can Chipotle Peppers (you'll only use 2-3 actual peppers/save the rest for later)
- 1 Yellow onion thinly sliced
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 Tbsp butter (unsalted Kerrygold is best)
In a large saute pan heat the butter. Saute the garlic and onion until translucent (@ 5min). Meanwhile puree your chipotle peppers, (feel free to add as many as you'd like to your spice level I recommend 2-4) with your tomato sauce and cumin in a blender until smooth.
When the onions and garlic are soft and translucent turn off heat and let cool slightly. Place your chicken breast in a 1 gallon ziploc bag or a large container.
Combine your tomato chipotle mixture with the sauted onions
Put all ingredients in the zip lock, or container
Marinate for a minimum of 30 mins but up to 24 hours
Cook in your Crock pot for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low
When the chicken is done you can pull it apart with a fork, easily. Do this into a separate container, once you're done pour the reserve juices from the crock over the pulled chicken.
Serve over rice, Riced cauliflower, with corn tortillas, or over eggs, or anything you like!