Holiday Survival Guide: How to Get Through the Holidays With No Regrets
How to Get Through the Holidays With No Regrets
Let’s face it: it is hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays. Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites. When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as our scales are concerned.
The good news is that you really can get through the holidays without gaining weight. It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around and you have no regrets!
Your Goal: Maintenance
In order to greet the New Year without tipping the scale, it is wise to try to maintain your weight during the next few weeks instead of trying to lose. Remember: you want to enjoy the holidays, not be miserable from deprivation. This means that you will allow yourself occasional treats and splurges and keep the scale where it is rather than trying to actually decrease your weight.
There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Don’t skip your workouts. Even moderate intensity workouts can burn 300-400 calories per hour. You need this calorie-burn to keep up with the richer food that you will be eating. You will also be less likely to overeat if you have just sweated through a hard workout!
- Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.
- Keep a food diary. Write down every single thing you eat—even if it is only one bite of shrimp cocktail. It is a proven fact that keeping a food journal results in better weight control than not keeping one.
- Monitor your hunger. Never show up at a party or buffet ravenous—you will most certainly overeat. Drink water and have a protein-filled snack (such as nuts or cheese) before arriving. This will help you to have more self-control around the temptations.
- Weigh yourself twice each week. Normally it is not a good idea to step on the scale too often, but during the holidays it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals. If you see the scale start to creep, you can immediately take steps to correct it, such as backing off your calories for a day or two, drinking more water and adding in a little more exercise.
- Watch your portion size. If you have an idea of how much food you are putting on your plate, you will be less likely to overdo it. Take a look at the chart to familiarize yourself with portion sizes as they compare to your hand.
- Deal quickly with leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge. Don’t leave them sitting around. Freeze them, give them away or toss them. It’s not worth the temptation!
- Check in with your future self. Every day, speak to yourself from the future—say, from January 1. Thank yourself for doing the tough work of self-discipline during these holiday weeks. You might say something like this:
“Thank you! I feel great! I’m no heavier than I was in November, I’ve stayed on track with my exercise, my energy is incredible and I’ve got the momentum to spend the rest of the winter getting in even better shape before spring gets here!”
- Go public. Sound scary? It’s supposed to! Let others know what your current weight is and check in with them each time you weigh yourself. That kind of intense accountability will give you will power when the cheesecake and fudge starts showing up at the office!
You can survive the holidays with no added weight gain. Remember these tips and keep a vision of what you want to feel like on January 1 in mind. It’s going to be a great holiday season!
HAVE FAITH & TAKE ACTION!
Healthy Holiday Recipes
Delicious Substitutes for Traditional Favorites
Bacon and Chive Sweet Potato Biscuits
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 large sweet potato or yam (equivalent to 2 cups mashed)
3 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
3 eggs, whisked
6-8 strips of bacon, diced
leftover rendered fat from bacon
3-4 Tbsp. chives, thinly diced
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
Himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 415 degrees F.
- Poke holes in your sweet potato with a fork.
- Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft.
- Once the sweet potato is done baking, turn over down to 375 degrees F.
- When your sweet potato is almost done cooking, place your diced bacon into a skillet and brown until crispy. Then place your cooked, crispy bacon on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up the excess fat. The fat that is left behind in the pan, you will use in your biscuits.
- When your sweet potato is done, peel and place in a bowl and mash with a fork.
- Then add in your eggs and mix well. Add bacon fat and mix.
- Add in your dry ingredients: coconut flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
- Finally add your diced cooked bacon and chives. Mix thoroughly.
- Now line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use a large spoon to drop your biscuits on the sheet, shaping them as needed. Try to make them all equal in size so they cook the same.
- Place in oven and bake for 22-27 minutes.
- Let rest.
- Top with some melted grass fed butter or ghee.
Notes: if you don’t use bacon/bacon fat, add ¼ cup coconut oil, melted. Original recipe from PaleoOMG.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
1 head of cauliflower
1-2 Russet potatoes
2 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. chives
1 container plain Greek yogurt (about 1 cup)
- Wash and peel potatoes. Cover potatoes with water in a large saucepan. Bring water to boil and then turn down to medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes. Cook long enough that you can put a fork through them.
- Put 2-3 inches of water in the bottom of your steamer pan. Bring water to a boil and then turn down to medium to high heat. Wash and then cut cauliflower in 2-3 inch pieces. Steam for 10-12 minutes.
- Combine potatoes and cauliflower and mash. If you have a food processors you can get a smoother consistency.
- Add butter, salt, white pepper, chives, and Greek yogurt. Mix thoroughly.
Christmas Cranberry Granola
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: (24) ¼ c. Servings
1 cup each, Coconut Flakes, Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Pepitas
¼ cup Chia Seeds
¼ cup Coconut Oil
½ cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 tsp. Cinnamon
¾ tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
¼ tsp. Stevia Extract Powder
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 Recipe Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries (see next page for recipe & directions)
- In a large bowl, mix together nuts & seeds.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon, Himalayan sea salt, stevia, and vanilla extract.
- Add the sauce to the nuts & seeds and thoroughly mix.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper and evenly spread out granola.
- Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring in 15 minute intervals.
- Rough chop cranberries and mix with granola once cooled.
- Store in a sealed Mason jar or container.
Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
12 ounces Cranberries
½ cup Water
Sweetening Options (choose 1)
½ tsp. Stevia Extract Powder
¼ tsp. Stevia Extract Powder + 4 Tbsp. NOW Xylitol, Non-GMO
¼ tsp. Stevia Extract Powder + 6 Tbsp. NOW Erythritol Granular
- In a saucepan add ½ cup water + sugar-free sweetening option.
- To the sweetened water add 12 ounces of cranberries.
- Stir cranberries around to coat and turn heat to medium-high.
- Cook cranberries for about 10 minutes until they have all popped. Use the back of a spoon to pop the cranberries that are stubborn.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Line a sheet pan with doubled up paper towels and then lay a sheet of parchment paper over top.
- Spread cranberries out and dry in oven at 170 degrees for 7-8 hours.
- After 4 hours take cranberries out of the oven and using spatula transfer them to a new sheet of parchment paper, spreading them out some.
- Return to oven for another 3-4 hours.
- The cranberries are done when they are no longer wet; you choose how chewy you want them. The longer you go the chewier they are.
- Let cool, separate and store in a sealed container.
Original Recipe by Healthy Living How To
Ginger Spice Cookies
Makes about 25 (2 ½ inch) cookies
2 cups coconut flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
½ tsp. Stevia Extract Powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup melted coconut oil
½ cup sugar-free vanilla syrup
(DaVinci and Torani make good ones)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. pure almond extract
Unsweetened almond milk (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, grease a baking sheet or line sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir together the coconut flour, walnuts, shredded coconut, sweetener, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Whish together the sour cream or coconut milk, oil, vanilla syrup, eggs, lemon zest, and almond extract in a 4 cup measuring cup.
- Add the egg mixture to the coconut flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. (If the mixture is too thick to stir easily, add the unsweetened almond milk, 1 Tbsp. at a time until the consistency of cake batter.)
- Drop 1-inch mounds onto the baking sheet and flatten. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on racks.
Original Recipe from “Wheat Belly”
Green Beans with Almonds
1 lb. green beans
1/4 cup silvered almonds
1 Tbsp. ghee
- Wash the greens beans and trim ends.
- Boil 2 cups of water in steamer pan.
- Steam green beans for 12-15 minutes or until tender.
- Mix cooked green beans, almonds, and ghee.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe
½ cup unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 scoop Prograde Vanilla Protein
Pumpkin Pie Spice – to taste
Combine all ingredients and blend. Enjoy!
Original Recipe by Fit Yummy Mummy
2 Carnival squash
4 tsp. Ghee or Organic Butter
Himalayan Sea Salt
- Cut squash in half.
- With a spoon, scoop out seeds.
- Add 1 tsp. of ghee or butter to each squash half.
- Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Roast; cut side up, on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper at 400 degrees F for 50-60 minutes.
- Cool and then eat from the squash bowl or scoop out contents.
1-2 Delicata squash
1-2 tsp. ghee or Organic butter per squash half
Himalayan sea salt
- Wash the squash and cut in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass-baking dish.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until you can easily put a fork through it.
- Once cooled scoop squash out and mix with ghee or butter and sprinkle with salt.
Pumpkin Pie with Nut Crust
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 cup Almond Flour/Meal
½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour
¼ cup Extra Light Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt
- With a fork, mix oil with nut flour and salt until you have a “crumble-like” texture.
- With fingers, pat curst into bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Much be completely cool before filling.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
15 oz. Can Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin
- 5 oz. Can Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk
¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Ground Ginger
¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
½ tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
1/8 tsp. Stevia Extract Powder
2 Large Organic Eggs
1 Nut Crust
- Mix pumpkin, coconut milk, spices and stevia together.
- Add eggs and mix slowly just until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour pie filling into nut crust.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F for an additional 35 minutes.
- Thoroughly cool and chill before serving.
Original Recipe by Healthy Living How To
Raw Cookie Dough Bites
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes: about 15 bites
2 cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil (solid but soft)
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. almond butter
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
mini dark chocolate chips
stevia to taste, if additional sweetener is needed
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Combine the oil, honey, almond butter, and vanilla in a separate, smaller bowl.
- Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine well. Your own two hands do the best job of getting it all combined. If you find the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon of water at a time until you reach cookie dough consistency.
- Taste, and add stevia if you prefer the dough sweeter.
- Mix in the desired amount of chocolate chips and roll into 1 to 1 ½ inch balls.
Store in the refrigerator. They should keep for several days, although they tend to dry out the longer they are stored.
Notes: The more you work the dough; the more the coconut oil will melt, resulting in the balls getting greasy. Return the dough to the freezer to re-harden if this bothers you. This recipe doubles well. You can even make these in a food processor. Just process the dry ingredients and add the wet ones once you’ve mixed them together.
Sausage & Apple Stuffing
¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour
¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
1 tsp. Rumford Baking Powder
2 pinches Himalayan Sea Salt
2 Large Organic Eggs
- In a small bowl scramble eggs with a whisk.
- In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients.
- Add eggs to dry ingredients and mix.
- Pour into a mini-loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Slice bread into 9 slices and then each slice into 12 cubes.
- Return to oven for 15 minutes to dry and crisp.\
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 lb. Fresh Ground Pork Sausage (Mild)
4 Stalks Organic Celery, Chopped
¼ cup Organic Onion, Chopped
½ Medium Organic Fuji Apple, Chopped
1 Recipe of Bread Cubes
2 tsp. Poultry Seasoning
1 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
4 Tbsp. Unsalted Organic Butter, Melted
2 Large Organic Eggs
1/3 cup Organic Chicken Broth
- Brown pork sausage with celery and onion.
- In mixing bowl, add bread cubes, sausage, apple, poultry seasoning and salt.
- Whisk together eggs, butter and broth then pour over stuffing. Gently mix.
- Bake stuffing in covered casserole dish at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Original Recipe from Healthy Living How To
Spinach & Crab Dip
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Makes: 16 servings
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
1-cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Earth Balance Olive Oil mayo
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. Himalayan sea salt
1 can (6 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained
Assorted vegetables and Mary’s Gone Crackers
- In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the first nine ingredients. Cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Stir in crab; heat through.
- Transfer to a serving bowl; serve with vegetables and crackers. Refrigerate leftovers.
Original Recipe by Taste of Home, Healthy Cooking
You may just be sabotaging your health and fitness goals with alcohol and its calorie content