Driving home today in sleet and icy conditions, with Christmas-y music on almost every station and twinkling lights going up everywhere, all I could think of was something warm and comforting to drink…and perhaps nibble on!
It seems ‘The Holidays’ are a difficult time for most to navigate the barrage of warm cinnamon and sugar laced treats that bombard the senses during your shopping excursion, the delightful calorie bombs at every holiday party and bowls of sugary treats wherever you go. Everything about the season screams ‘eat!, partly due to the cold weather fueling our need to nibble, but largely due to tradition and all that we associate with the season.
Almost every client that I have seen in the past few weeks have their nutrition plan in a ‘holding pattern’, ready to get serious again in the New Year, and are on a survival guide to get them through the holidays with minimum damage. The good news is I will soon be launching my ‘Holiday Sugar Detox’ program which will launch on 15th January, but in the meanwhile I would like to share my strategies to get through the holidays without breaking your zippers!
The Holiday Survival Guide:
- Pay attention to the proportions on your plate, protein should be the main player, fill up with low carb vegetables and keep the starchy carbs to the smallest serving.
- EAT PROTEIN FIRST this is KEY, eat protein at each meal and eat from the protein first, this will prevent blood sugar spikes and help you be satiated more easily.
- Eat breakfast, especially on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning with the focus on family and preparing the big meal of the day, it can be easy to skip breakfast and overeat later. See below a great recipe for grain free pumpkin muffins, these are a great high protein snack.
- Don’t arrive at an event hungry; if you are going to a party with tempting treats eat some protein before you leave, snack on hard boiled eggs, a quick chicken lettuce wrap, dinner left overs, you are much less likely to overeat on the canapés if you’re not hungry.
- Drink your water, at least half your body weight each day, not something we crave in cold weather. Warm lemon water and herbal teas can be more appealing.
- Beware of calories in a glass; sugary apple cider, eggnog and hot chocolate can be the calorie equivalent of a meal (or two!). Choose a beverage with fewer calories, sip it slowly and drink your water.
- Get out and move! If you can’t make it to the gym, a brisk walk around the park, or a few laps of the mall (without being waylaid by the sugar bombs!) can do wonders to help keep burning the calories.
- For many the holiday season is a stressful time, reviving memories of past experiences or missed loved ones, and it can be easy to fill the void with an extra helping of dessert. It can be extremely therapeutic to journal your thoughts, emotions and memories, ‘put it on the page not the plate’. Part of winning with making changes to our eating habits is identifying the triggers that make us overeat.
- Be kind to yourself, the holidays are not a time to feel deprived, allow for a little more ‘wiggle room’ Have a small treat, love every bite, eat it mindfully and cut the guilt, chances are you will be fine with just one piece
- Focus on the reason for the season, not the feast.
- Be Thankful: The USA is my adopted home, and many of the holidays and traditions and the way they celebrated new to me. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday, as it simply about friends and family and being Thankful for our blessings.
- Sign up for my ‘Holiday Sugar Detox’! (details to follow soon!)
Grain and Dairy Free! Coconut Flour Muffins
A great option for a holiday morning, these delicious muffins are low carb and grain free, and can be made with coconut oil and milk for a dairy free option. This basic muffin recipe can be adapted to many flavors and sure to delight!
Makes approximately 20 mini muffins or 10 regular size muffins
6 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, or coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons coconut milk or whole milk
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
2 tablespoons raw honey or grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Banana Muffins:
Mash one very ripe banana with the wet ingredients. Grate 3oz dark chocolate with the dry ingredients. Top muffins with seeds or nuts, and a little extra grated chocolate.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins:
Mix 1 cup pumpkin puree with the wet ingredients. Add 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice and 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the dry ingredients. Top muffins with extra chopped pecans.
Blend 1 cup blueberries, fresh or thaw if frozen into muffin mix. Top with nuts or seeds.
- Blend together the eggs, butter or coconut oil, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
- Sift together the dry ingredients, blend together with the wet ingredients until just smooth, and allow to rest for five minutes to thicken up.
- Depending on the wet ingredient flavor option used, add a little more coconut flour, one teaspoonful at a time until cake batter consistency reached.
- Spoon into well-greased mini or regular size muffin cups.
- Bake at 400 degrees F, 12 to 13 minutes for mini muffins, 17 to 18 minutes for regular size, until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean, do not over bake!
And lastly, I leave you with a quote which seems fitting for the Thanksgiving holiday:
‘Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving’ – W.T. Purkiser
In Health and Wellness,