Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: Healthy Holidays

Many of us try to do the right thing by our bodies all year long by eating right, exercising and taking care of ourselves. But, then the holidays arrive and we crash and burn. Whether it be traveling to someone else's home, just letting ourselves be tempted by all of the sweets and special treats laid out at our workplace, or the fact we stay inside and graze since it is FREEZING out; we tend to let ourselves go during the holidays seasons. Then, we work like crazy the first few months of the year in order to get our beach body ready.

Why ride this roller coaster when you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak? It is all about moderation!!

I have a thyroid condition and have been diagnosed with insulin resistance and PCOS- all of these conditions call for low carb, healthy fat, low sugar and as unprocessed as possible foods.

Our meal plan for Thanksgiving this year {For all items, I bought organic when available at my local store.}

Problem with the area I live in-- there are no organic grocery stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's in my immediate area. I could travel, but this was a last minute change in plans meal that was put together. Another issue- the local grocery store where I shop seems to have an incredibly shrinking Organic produce section every time I go there : (

Plus: We are very soon getting a Farmer's Market in our immediate area! Can you hear my shout for JOY!!

1. Pork Loin marinated with Robert Rothschild Farm brand Hot Pepper Raspberry Chipotle      
   Sauce {Recipe}

  I bought the sauce instead of making it myself to save time. I purchased mine at Costco in the 40
oz jar. The ingredient list is as follows: Raspberries, Sugar, Water, Cornstarch, Lemon juice (from Concentrate), Chipotle Peppers, Natural Flavoring, Chili Peppers. It also has on its label that it is All Natural, Gluten Free and free of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Downside to this sauce if you are more organic: It is not labeled as Organic or Non-GMO, it has lemon juice from concentrate and it has "Natural Flavoring" in its ingredient list which could mean anything.

2. Kale Salad {Recipe} (A Great Alternative to the syrup, marshmallow and calorie laden Sweet Potato Casserole) 
   Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Walnuts, Dijon Mustard, Maple Syrup, Salt (Sea), Pepper, Garlic, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar (I changed Pecans to Walnuts and left out the onions- not a big fan of onions unless really cooked- I know, I know)

Kale is a nutritional Powerhouse. You can read more here {Kale}
Sweet Potatoes provide many vitamins as well as provide a healthier, lower glycemic index for those who are diabetic or insulin resistant and they are considered as anti-inflammatory. Read more here {Sweet Potatoes}

3. Dressing (I have to have it!! This is my cake. And, yes, I call it Dressing. To me Stuffing goes inside the turkey and not a pan)
  {Whole Grain Cornbread}

I love cornbread as much as the next person and it has nostalgic value. I used to eat cornbread with buttermilk as a snack at my grandma's house when I was little. I recently started making my cornbread, in the iron skillet of course, with half corn meal and half whole grain flour. It is just as yummy and not as crumbly. The above recipe is not gluten free, but you can substitute gluten free flour I am sure. I loosely followed this recipe (left out the cheese, sour cream and corn since I was using it for dressing), but I did add celery to my dressing as well as the typical seasonings and I used Pacific Natural Foods Low Sodium Organic Free Range Chicken Stock. One day, I will be making my own Chicken stock from organic chicken since it is pricey to purchase ready made stock.

4. Butternut Squash Soup {Soup} 

5. Green Bean Casserole (My husband's cake!) {Cream Of Mushroom Soup}

This year's recipe using Amy's Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup{Green Bean Casserole}. I didn't use all of the flour and milk since I added the soup, but I did add the onions and mushrooms.

I used canned soup only because I had limited time, but see below for an alternative recipe that uses NO canned items. {Healthier Green Bean Casserole}. I actually made this last year.

Here are some other Healthier recipes I ran across in my search for the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal:



As you can see, I didn't plan a dessert for our meal. We really aren't dessert people and I rarely bake (could be that I am just not really that good at it!). But, I have made the above Pumpkin Custard and it was yummy! I searched and searched for a better Pecan Pie recipe with no luck. Sorry folks - pecan pie just has a lot of calories. Here is a more whole foods approach to Pecan Pie though {Pecan Pie}.

I would love your comments on how you keep the calories down at your holiday meals. Feel free to post any additional recipes.

Disclaimer: This was the menu plan I had planned for Gary and I for our little Thanksgiving meal. Since we decided not to travel home over the break due to sickness all around, we were going to cook or go out to eat. But, I decided eating in was more homey than eating out. We have since been invited to eat with neighbors. I will be making the dressing and kale salad still.

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