Hi and happy Feel-Good Monday!
This is where we share our favorite tips, tricks, secrets, and ways to "think like a healthy person" so that you can find your own delicious path to healthy living.
"Feel-Good Mondays" are meant to help us get back into that place of feeling energized, nourished, and ready to take inspired action for the week ahead.
Us Mosses celebrate it all: Christmas, Chanukah, Festivus.
That basically means there's no shortage of holiday meals to partake in – annual gingerbread party at a friends’ home, a tree-trimming party at our place, my family's Chanukah shindi, the Christmas Eve dinner we're hosting, and a couple of birthday parties thrown in for good measure. All of this to say, I don't hide out in a "health bubble" during the holidays: I am right out there with you, navigating the trays of cookies and latkes and cups of nog like a champ.
But truthfully, “healthy holiday meal” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Sure, you may be surrounded by those cookies, cakes and cocktails (and sure, you may partake in one….or three…) but that doesn’t mean you can’t take control and create a delicious, nutritious, and seasonal meal for that will win over skeptical family and friends. (That's my plan for our healthy-but-delicious Christmas Eve dinner.)
Here are some of my top tips for creating a healthy holiday table this year:
1) Don’t fight your instincts. It’s natural for our bodies to crave warm, rich foods during the winter months. Go with your cravings and try making hearty, healthy, and warming soups and strews. Lamb stew is one of my personal favorites. Curried red lentil soup is another. For Christmas Eve dinner, we'll be making a grass-fed prime rib roast. Meats are naturally warming and hearty – great for winter! – and by opting for organic, pastured meat, you not only satisfy your protein cravings in a healthier way but you'll also get a dose of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Whole grains like quinoa are another great, protein-rich, hearty choice. Quinoa is one of my favorites since it’s packed with easy-to-digest protein, cooks up quickly, and is super versatile. It’s great both savory and sweet. Try it sprinkled with chopped, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries or topped with sautéed wild mushrooms. Speaking of mushrooms, they're nutritionally amazing for you (cancer fighters! immune boosters!) so I'll be serving up a side of sauteed wild mushrooms along with our holiday meal this year.
2) Return to your roots. Ever notice that when you eat a really salty meal or snack, you immediately crave something sweet afterward? That’s your body’s natural way of trying to balance things out. Adding “sweet” vegetables to your meal – such as winter squash or root veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips – not only tastes great but helps reduce our post-meal sugar cravings. For our Christmas Eve dinner, I'm serving our rib roast with a side of baked "Japanese" sweet potatoes (if you've never had these guys, run and find them NOW! They have white flesh and a beautiful purple skin, and are – in my opinion – the best sweet potato you'll ever try).
3) Go Green. Dark, leafy greens are nutrition powerhouses. Packed with micronutrients and phyto-chemicals, greens can improve circulation (great if you suffer from cold hands and toes during the winter, like me!), purify our blood and strengthen our immune system – good news if you’re prone to winter colds. Kale and collards are relatively cheap and easy to make for a large crowd, and they’re delicious long into the winter months. For our dinner, I'll be serving the rib roast and sweet potatoes with one of my favorite winter salads that contains escarole, oak leaf lettuce, and fennel with an incredible apple cider dressing. (I make that dressing all year long. It's that good.)
4) Indulge a little! The winter holidays come but once a year. Feeling deprived can make you feel cranky, depressed, and set you up for bingeing later on. If you just can’t live without your aunt Minna’s triple chocolate mousse trifle, by all means, treat yourself to a small bowl and savor it slowly, intensely, and with as much pleasure as possible – no guilt allowed! Another great option is to bring your own healthy (but DELICIOUS) holiday treats. As the grand finale, I'll be serving this chocolate pudding pie for dessert. It happens to be dairy-free and gluten-free, but I don't think anyone will notice that it's "healthy" when it tastes this good!!
You can feel good every day, and we're here to support you.
P.S. Do you have some healthy holiday favorites? Share them with us on our Facebook page!