It’s a hard time of year to stick with your lifestyle, let alone change it. Want to make this holiday season a winner? Here are tips on how to have a healthy holiday season.
> Be realistic. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays, or start a new diet. Instead try to maintain your current weight.
> Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables, or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
> Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
> Take the focus off food. Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations, or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games, or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
> Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. See below for two recipe ideas to share.
> Love one another, be grateful, and laugh!
Two Healthy Holiday Recipes
Roasted Chicken with Onions, Potatoes, and Gravy
1 (4-pound) roasting chicken
1 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 oregano sprigs
1 lemon, quartered
1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons butter ghee, or coconut oil, melted
2 pounds medium yellow onions, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges
2 pounds small red potatoes or Yukon gold or cubed squash, cut 1-inch pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour (gluten free, arrowroot, or tapioca work) (about 1 ounce)
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
Lemon wedges (optional)
Fresh oregano sprigs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and met. Combine ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper; rub under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Place oregano sprigs, quartered lemon, and celery pieces into body cavity. Lift wing tips and over back; tuck under chicken. Tie legs together with string. Place chicken, breast side up, on the rack of the broiler pan coated with butter/ghee/coconut oil.
- Combine ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, melted butter (ghee or coconut oil), onions, and potatoes in a large bowl, and toss well to coat. Arrange onion mixture around chicken on rack. Place rack in pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees (do not remove pan from oven); bake an additional 1 hour and 10 minutes or until onions and potatoes are tender and a thermometer inserted into meaty part of chicken thigh registers 165 degrees. Set chicken, onions, and potatoes aside; cover and keep warm.
- Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Combine remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, flour, and ½ cup chicken broth in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and remaining chicken broth to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until gravy thickens, stirring frequently with a whisk.
- Carve chicken; serve with gravy and onion mixture. Garnish with lemon wedges and oregano sprigs, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings (about 4 ounces chicken, 1 1/3 cups onion mixture, and 1/3 cup gravy)
Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Jicama Hash
½ medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
½ medium jicama, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
475g Brussels sprouts, cut into 2 or 4 pieces, depending on size (about 3 cups)
1 large red onion, chopped
75g pecans, chopped (3/4 cup)
150g cup dried figs, chopped (3/4 cup)
2 sprigs fresh sage, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
THE SAUCE (AKA THE FLAVOR PACK)
¾ tsp Himalayan or fine sea salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp Horseradish Mustard (Annie’s if possible)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp smoked paprika
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a shallow baking dish or sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the vegetables, pecans, dried figs and fresh herbs. Set aside.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, or in a small food processor, combine all the ingredients for the sauce and whisk (or process) until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour the sauce over the reserved vegetables and mix until well combined. Transfer the veggies to the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- When the veggies are cooked to your liking, set the oven to broil and leave that on for 2 or 3 minutes, just to slightly brown and crisp up the top a little bit.
- Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings