Ah, to be a kid again at the holidays…with creamy eggnog flowing, sugar cookies baking and candy canes around every corner, there isn’t even a second thought about indulging in the season’s cravings. At some point, however, we all have to grow up and that means “growing up our eating”, too. In other words, we have to make mindful food choices whether at a company party, family gathering or night out with our besties. Here are my…
12 Mindful Ways of Christmas:
1) Do not skip meals in effort to save calories for a holiday festivity. Whether you have a luncheon, an after-work cocktail party or a neighborhood pot luck to attend, if you are starving when you arrive — you’ll wind up overeating. As you know, never allow yourself to get too hungry.
2) Bring healthy, on-the-go snacks with you. If you are armed with nourishing reinforcements like a handful of pistachios and a couple of clementines or a single-serve cheese round and a pear or a squeezable fruit (no kidding, I eat these) and rice cake with peanut butter, you’ll keep your metabolism humming along, your appetite will be sated and you’ll be able to think more clearly when the office treats are in front of you.
3) Only eat when eating. If you made up your mind to try a co-workers cookie or your mother’s poppy seed roll, go for it. However, take one or a piece and enjoy it. Sit down, eat it slowly and savor it. Keep in mind, one (serving) and done!
4) Choose whole foods first. Displace “empty” calories, by packing your day with whole foods, such as whole fruits, veggies, high quality proteins like nuts, seeds, milk (dairy or non-dairy), chicken breast, turkey breast, lean red meat, pork loin, eggs, as well as whole grains. There will be no room left for a lot of extras.
5) Get cooking. Experimenting with new recipes can save your excess calories, as well as sodium, sugar and fat. It’s good for your calories and financial budget. Plus it’s fun to get in the kitchen and tinker around. Not only will you be up and moving in the kitchen, but you’ll discover new flavors and foods.
6) Take it one meal at a time. If you keep your eating in perspective with one meal (or snack) at time, it take the guilt away and allows you to plan better. Do not get hung up on past food follies, balance it out at your next eating opportunity. Eat less at dinner, if you overdid it at lunch; if you ate a cookie after lunch skip the peppermint latte break at 3 pm – and grab a piece of fruit; ate a cinnamon roll at breakfast, be sure to up the lean protein and veggies and lunch.
7) Monitor alcohol. It’s easy to get carried away when there’s wine, beer and spirits around! Pay attention to how much is in your glass – keep in mind a servings of wine is 5 ounces, beer is 12 ounces and liquor is 1.5 ounces (a standard shot). Allow yourself a drink and them move to water or watered-down versions — go for the wine spritzer and vodka and club soda for less alcohol and calories.
8) Move more. Keep up your work out. Whatever activity you love doing – do it. The American College of Sport Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes a week (that’s 30 minutes, 5 times a week). Mix cardio with strength training for maximum benefit. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you are burning at rest!
9) Get your beauty sleep. With the hustle and bustle, you may be too ramped up to sleep well. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 – 9 hours a night of shut eye. Think about it, how much sleep do you get every night?
10) Skip your kids’ holiday treats. The treats your children bring home from school or that grandma bakes, are not yours. Keep the mindset of those are theirs – and the less extras you eat, the better for your waistline.
11) Be a shining example. Encourage family, friends and colleagues to make lasting lifestyle changes. Set a new tone in the house, at work and when you go out with friends. They’ll love you more for it.
12) Carry it forward. Take all of the mindful lifestyle tips into 2017!
Let’s use some citrus today! I’ve got a bounty of clementines in my kitchen. They bring joy to my house with a quick boost of energy with natural sugar, the vitamin C soothes our wintry dry skin and diminishes our sneezes and coughs.
I love to squeeze one into sparkling water for a tasty mocktail, peel one for a quick snack with a handful of nuts or add ’em to mixed greens for a tasty salad. For a quick breakfast, I puree a couple of clementines in my Vitamix, add a bit of cinnamon and touch of agave nectar and drizzle over French toast. It’s simple and delicious!
Citrus Cinnamon and Walnut French Toast
Serves 2 (2 slices of toast each)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts
4 clementines, peeled and separated
1 teaspoon agave nectar
4 slices whole grain sandwich bread
1 whole egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a Vitamix or blender, add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Add clementines, agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until pureed.
To make French toast, whisk egg, milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon. Place bread slices into mixture until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Allow each side to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and plate. Drizzle with citrus sauce. Bon appetit!
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 417, Total Fat: 16 g, Saturated Fat: 3, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 112 g, Sodium: 309 mg, Carbohydrates: 55, Dietary Fiber: 8, Sugars: 28, Protein: 18 g
Happy and healthy holidays!
Enjoy eating simply,