Finally the cold weather has moved in here in Athens (kind of) and it truly is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas! Kelly and I just enjoyed a wonderful long weekend in Utah where it definitely looked like Christmas!
As we continue into this wonderful season, one of the most challenging things in our health journey can be staying on track when we go to holiday parties. We all know these parties that come with friends, family but also endless amounts of food. People gather and all bring dishes that are so tempting and we often go through a cycle of overeating and then feeling guilt and shame after the party. Friends, let's not so this to ourselves- this holiday season!
Here are a few tips on how to have your best and healthiest holiday season yet.
1. You are not there for the food. Yes, there will be a lot of food that only comes once a year but at the end of the day it is exactly that- food. Food was meant to nourish our bodies for service, not tempt us into over-indulgence and lead us to guilt and shame. Friends we have got to break free from the cycle! Go into your party knowing that this party is about fellowship and spending time with the ones you love.
2. Drink a large glass of water and eat a high-protein snack before the party. Now, you will be satisfied from a healthy snack going into the party and much less likely to reach for empty calories and mindless snacks. I know often people will not eat all day to "save their calories" for the big party or meal, however this leads to over-consumption of foods that are not going to satisfy or fuel you in the long run! Prepare before hand so you can enter and exit this party feeling healthy and nourished. Having victory!
3. Bring a healthy snack or treat that everyone can enjoy and so you will know you have a healthy option available. Some ideas are: lean meat and cheese trays, fruit and vegetable trays, homemade trail mix or glazed nuts. Below is an easy recipe that you can take that is sure to be a crowd favorite and leave everyone feeling great and not weighed down and guilty!
Healthy Maple Glazed Pecans
Makes 6 --1/3 cup servings
2 ½ cups of pecans
1/3 cup maple syrup 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Combine syrup, cinnamon and sea salt and stir until well mixed. Preheat a dry skillet to medium-high. Add pecans and syrup mixture and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the syrup is caramelized. You’ll know they’re done when they start sticking to the spoon! Spread them on a greased tray to cool.
These nuts can be enjoyed alone, OR on top of a delicious spinach salad with walnuts, cheese, cranberries, pomegranate seeds and a balsamic maple dressing! See below for this beautiful and delicious recipe!
Holiday Spectacular Salad
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 8 cups mixed greens (I used baby kale, spinach, arugula)
- arils from one pomegranate
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
- 8 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- 2 grilled grilled or baked chicken breasts chopped or fresh turkey
Balsamic Fig Dressing
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fig preserves
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the walnuts with the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes, stirring 2-3 time throughout cooking until the walnuts are toasted and golden.
Add the greens to a large salad bowl. Add the pomegranate arils, chicken and the cranberries. Add the cooled walnuts and gently toss the salad. Add the goat cheese last.
To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig preserves and salt until combined. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Enjoy!
Friends, it is time that we break free from the cycle of holiday over eating. Parties should be filled with laughter, fun and time spent with the ones that you love. Take this opportunity to practice your will power, and then notice how great your body and spirit feel after the party because you have experienced all of the great fellowship without any guilt or shame in overindulging.
Now you may be wondering what to do if you do get off track and have one too many pieces or Christmas candy or dessert. Friends, do not let any sort of guilt enter your mind! Let it go- it is in the past. Clean the slate! Realize that this journey you are on is not a diet. No friends, this is a lifestyle and sometimes you will face challenges! I encourage you in these times to remember why you started this lifestyle. Think for a second on all of the positive changes you made this holiday season in compared to your last. Think of how far you have come and all the progress you have made. Now with a renewed mind and spirit prepare to have your best and healthiest day tomorrow and drink plenty of water and tea to help purify your body so you can feel your best!
You can do this sweet friends! We are praying for you and can't wait to hear all the success that you all have and how God blesses your holiday season!