5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season & Recipe Print This
By Toby Amidor, MS RD CDN
If it seems silly to utter the words “healthy” and “holiday” in the same sentence, it shouldn’t. This 6-week period isn’t the time to have a free for all and let go of all your good eating habits. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the foods the holidays have to offer. Use these tips to get through this holiday season unscathed by all the fat and calories that may be calling your name. Plus get my deliciously healthy recipe for Date and Bulgur Stuffing.
#1: Three Meals Every Day
Eating a big meal or attending a holiday party doesn’t give you permission to skip other meals. It’s actually a bad habit you don’t want to start. Before holiday parties and feasts, be sure to eat a sensible breakfast and lunch. This will keep you level headed so you don’t overindulge come dinner time.
#2: The Two Tablespoon Rule
During a holiday feast, many of your favorite dishes are looking you straight in the eye. In order to keep calories in check, take only TWO tablespoons of your favorites instead of a full portion. This way you can taste everything you want without busting your waistline.
#3: Lighten Up Holiday Favorites
This may seem impossible, but it’s anything but. There are quick tricks you can do in order to lighten up favorite dishes. Sometimes it’s as easy as cutting portions, while other recipes may require a little more work (like swapping half the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour or using half the amount of sausage or cheese called for).
Check out my yummy Date and Bulgur Stuffing below.
#4: Mind Your Alcohol
There is more than enough alcohol flowing during the holidays. Be mindful of how much you drink -- the calories can add up very quickly. Twelve fluid ounces of beef and 5 fluid ounces of wine have around 100-120 calories, while fancy cocktails can rack up 400-500 each.
#5: Keep Exercising
Although the hustle and bustle of holiday time may have you forgoing your trips to the gym or favorite yoga class, now is NOT the time to skip them. Make a point of attending each one and if you’re travelling make alternate exercise plans – like a family football game or walk after dinner.
Date and Bulgur Stuffing
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup bulgur (buckwheat)
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
10-ounces turkey sausages (about 2 links), cubed
10-pitted dates, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.
Place bulgur in a large bowl. Add boiling chicken broth, cover and let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray medium baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and turkey sausage and cook an additional 4 minutes, until browned.
Add skillet mixture to bulgur and mix to combine.
Add dates, celery, parsley, thyme, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.
Place stuffing into baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until top is lightly browned.
Total Preparation Time: 35 mins