It’s about that time of the year again: holiday season. For some of us, the holiday season in general comes with a bit of anxiety. Being that the majority of the culture of the holidays revolves around food, it’s typically the time of year that we fall off track and find ourselves packing on a few extra pounds. However, even if you are someone that strives to eat healthy every day, we all have to allow ourselves a few extra calories over the holidays. It’s a time where everyone comes together to enjoy each other’s company-and let’s not forget each other’s recipes. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is balance. It isn’t the time to look for the low-carb option or count your macros. With that being said, we at GetRealGetRaw are here to tell you there are still plenty of ways that you can enjoy yourself and your favorite dishes while staying on track.
Tip #1: Enjoy your favorite once-a-year dishes, but don’t go overboard. Allow yourself one serving of your favorite broccoli casserole while loading up on the fresh vegetables and fruit. It’s easy to find yourself saying “It’s the holidays, I can go up for seconds and thirds!” However, with that mentality, you’ll wake up the next morning feeling over stuffed and may struggle to get back on track. By allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite dishes without overfilling your plate, you’ll be satisfied and guilt free after dinner. You can also learn to treat yourself with some of your favorite dishes, but in a healthy way. I’ve given a recipe below that is dairy free and gluten free. So, you can savor the delicious flavors of the holiday season with half the guilt.
Tip #2: Keep up your exercise routine. Once the cold weather starts to roll in, it’s sometimes hard to get ourselves out of bed in the early hours of the morning to hit the gym or go for a run before work. Instead of skipping your workouts all together and finding yourself in a rut after the holidays with the inevitable “I’m going to work out every day, twice a day” New Year’s Resolution, change up your usually routine for a new workout class. Maybe instead of dragging yourself to the gym every morning, invest in a membership to a kick boxing studio for three months, or a power yoga studio. By treating yourself to a new workout routine, you’ll be excited to hop out of bed in the morning and work your muscles; and, burn off those extra holiday calories.
Tip #3: Treat yourself! The holidays are no fun if you’re constantly worrying about falling off of your daily meal routine. If you want to have leftovers for lunch instead of a big salad, go for it! Just stick to your portion sizes and make sure to have a nutrient dense breakfast and dinner and maybe a workout out in the afternoon.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (www.emilieeats.com )
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 4-5 medium potatoes
- ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1½ cups dry brown lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground oregano
- ¾ cup green peas
- ¾ cup corn
- Fresh thyme, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into 1-inch chunks
- Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil and add potatoes. Boil for 15-20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain. In a large bowl, add potatoes; mash until smooth. Add non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a large oven-safe skillet* (like cast iron) over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion; cook for 5-7, until they begin to brown. Add garlic; cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add carrots and mushrooms; cook for 5-7 more minutes, until they are slightly tender.
- Add lentils, broth or water, thyme and oregano; stir. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Add green peas, corn, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
- Use a wooden spoon to fill pan evenly with lentil mixture and flatten on top. Scoop sweet potatoes onto the lentil mixture and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until slightly crispy on top. Garnish with fresh thyme