With two young girls, a hard-working husband and full-time job, I’m one busy mom. I’m also a registered dietitian so eating healthy is important to me and definitely for my family.
With the holidays coming up I like to add the unique flavors of the season to my repertoire but not go crazy with cookies, desserts and all the other holiday favorites.
Here are my go-to healthy holiday meals, tips and tricks that’ll get you feeling good, keep your energy up, and assure you are ready to celebrate.
1. Weekdays are a blur a lot of the time so you must plan ahead. I like to get the whole family off to a healthy start in the morning and there’s no quicker way than green “monster” smoothies. I’ll add flavors of the holiday season like cranberry, butternut squash and apple. One of my favorite recipes is frozen butternut squash, banana, apple, mixed greens (spinach, baby kales, Swiss chard and collard greens work best) and a splash of cold water. You can add apple juice too, if you prefer. The funky green color excites my kids before school and I leave for work knowing we’ve all had a huge helping of fruits and veggies to get us going.
2. Stock up on easy portion-controlled comfort foods like Bertolli frozen meals (shameless client plug, but true) — pair it with a box or bag of mixed salad greens tossed in lemon, olive oil & parmesan and you’ve got a great meal that’s healthy and fast. In the fall I like to add flavors of the season to my salads like dried cranberries.
3. Make vegetable side dishes the star. I love doing a huge pan of roasted sweet potatoes with a little cinnamon and sugar. Quinoa with cranberries and slivered almonds is also a filling dish that can double as a weeknight meal or a filling breakfast. Broth-based soups in the crock-pot are also a staple in my house – skip the heavy cream and go with vegetable or a low-sodium chicken broth. If you have to use cream, go with fat-free half & half.
4. Eat smaller meals throughout the day and mesh lunch and dinner together – get the holiday festivities going around 3pm and save enough time in the evening for a family walk around the neighborhood.
Those who know me know I’m a big believer in tough love. If there’s one bit of advice I can impart it’s to not over-indulge in the first place and you and your family will be well on the way to a happy, healthy 2014.