When it comes to eating over the holiday season, the average American gains 7 lbs from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Are there ways to still enjoy the festivities without gaining weight? There totally is! Today we wanted to share with you a few of our favorite recipes allowing for an amazing healthy holiday. (And we know this post is showing up on your feed after Christmas, however, don’t wait until January 1st. Start now.)
Keep reading for the recipe roundup and tips after the jump!
Perfect for Holiday Parties
When it comes to an amazing holiday course, there’s nothing better than lamb. This is roasted and served with acorn squash, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. It’s hearty, filling, and absolutely delicious.
2. Braised Lamb Shank with Cauliflower Mash
Inspired by an amazing dish in my hometown (we’re looking at you, The Silver Dollar), we lightened it up with a roasted garlic, creamy cauliflower mash.
While we’re all about fresh and grilled seafood in the summer months. It’s light and perfect fare. However, lobster is equally as decadent for the holidays. As someone who doesn’t eat beef, this is a great alternative to a prime rib at a holiday spread. With the perfect amount of smoke and flavor over wood chips. Seasoned with an herbed olive oil, it’s a great treat this time of year.
Italian food is another favorite around the holiday season, particularly when feeding a crowd. This is a lightened up version of a classic. With garlic pan seared chicken cutlets and stir fried zoodles, it is a great dish and can be made in about 30 minutes. Paired with a kale caesar salad and a cheese platter, your holiday meal is complete.
If dessert is one of your favorites, I can’t recommend these chai soaked pears enough. Finished with a cinnamon vanilla coconut cream and pepitas, it’s delicious and simply guilt-free.
This is a holiday staple in our house. With a pan-seared delicata squash, it is a delicious salad that can easily serve as a vegetarian main dish. Without the goat cheese crumbles, it serves as a vegan dish as well. I love how colorful, tangy, and savory this dish is with it’s layers of flavor. For an added touch, add sage to the pan as you are searing the squash. (I love this as a weekly rotation as well as it’s loaded with superfoods.)
This dessert is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate and wants to fill a craving. With a few pantry staples, make this dessert in a blender and freeze for around 30 minutes prior to serving, allowing the mousse to set up.
All the comfort food.
This is one of my favorite detox meals in the winter months. With chicken sausage, baby kale, carrot, and tomato, it boasts robust flavors without feeling overly heavy. It’s packed with nutrition and is one of my favorite substitutes to a chicken noodle soup.
Replace a standard mac n cheese, with this beauty. By using butternut squash, the creaminess stays in tact and the cheese is reduced.
Another delicious and hearty option, there’s nothing like a gnocchi soup. Made with potato dumpling, we love making a pot of this soup when using up leftover chicken. Paired with winter veggies and spinach, it’s lighter than most gnocchi soups yet is filling.
Go for a walk, do something active, or go to the gym daily.
With longer nights, it’s far too easy to Netflix binge and find yourself sitting for hours at a time. Instead choose to be active instead. Stay consistent by going to the gym or doing one active thing a day (even if it is walking in place while watching a favorite episode or work from a standing desk.) By choosing to stay active, you’re more likely to offset the extra calories you might consume throughout the season of holiday parties.
Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Here’s a fact. When you consume 8 glasses of water a day, you are naturally more full, hydrated, and alert. Your brain operates faster and you have a true register on hunger. When it gets cold outside, it’s tempting to not drink water just to stay warm. Here are a few of my favorite tips to curb this habit. If you need to, drink water that is room temperature, warm in a mug, or even sans ice. Track your water intake either with water droplets added to a planner line (if you rock a paper planner) or in an app.
Limit alcohol and additional sugar for the treats (and moments) you truly desire.
We know the continual rotation of sweets is all too tempting. Instead pick and choose the times you will feast on the drinks and sugar and the moments that just aren’t worth it. The donuts and store bought treats that show up to the office? We’re definitely passing on that. Cocoa mix? No thank you. However, the homemade hot chocolate with dark chocolate ganache or Kentucky mules? These are worth the sugar, hands down.
Portions are everything.
Your favorite potato casserole one time a year. The lobster bisque. There are many favorite dishes that only come around once a year. Enjoy and savor every bite, while keeping your portions in control.
Eat regular smaller meals rather than feasting one time of day.
It’s tempting to wait until a main meal or party to bulk up on calories. Instead choose to disperse your calories in smaller, regular meals throughout the day. Once you arrive to a party, you’ll be able to curb hunger without being on the verge of hangry and wanting to eat everything in sight.