Holidays And Healthy Eating

December. A month packed full of tasty possibilities.  You may have office parties to navigate, neighborhood get togethers, church gatherings, and of course your own family festivities to attend.

Healthy-Holiday-Eating-Tips

Food. There’s an abundance of delicious fares available during the holiday season.

Eat, drink and be merry now because January will soon arrive and all you’ll see will be weight loss shakes, diet books, and new plans for starvation after all your feasting has gone on.

Tell me I’m wrong. It’s a sad dismal reality every…single…year.

Like anything, I believe balance and moderation are crucial during the holiday season. Not only in regards to weight, but really, overall wellness and how you feel. To much excess in food or alcohol will make you feel sluggish, bloated and not your best.

Maintain balance and moderation and you won’t need or want any of those awful shakes. Live a constant healthy lifestyle and you can move through this season and not have to think about doing anything different in January.

I get it.

Among other things I love doing for Christmas is baking and making candy.  I’m old school so it’s all from scratch. Really, nothing is better than sugar cookies made with real butter.

A fat Santa? A fluffy reindeer? A round snowman? Who can resist a fun sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles?

christmas cookies

Not me that’s for sure. Those are my favorite Christmas cookies and I don’t restrict myself… but nor do I go crazy and over eat on them as either.

It’s all about that balance, right?

I think where people often fail is having an “all or nothing” mentality. They restrict so much that when they decide they are going to have treats, it turns into a feeding frenzy.

Neither approach is really helpful or healthy.

Let’s be honest. Of course you/I/we all know we are going to indulge. It’s just a matter of how you handle the indulging part.

Make healthy eating your main thing.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, just because we are in the “holiday season” doesn’t mean you just need to go hog wild eating everything in sight. It doesn’t mean you proclaim you’ll worry about it “next year”.

To keep feeling your best, limit any weight gain and enjoy yourself, make sure you keep your meals as healthy as possible.  If you know you will be participating in a party later that day, eat well, but don’t go to the extreme of not eating because you are “saving your calories”.

All you’ll do is show up ravenous and most likely eat way more than you would have.

Eat sensibly, go with a plan to the party, and then be super selective about what you eat.

For goodness sakes, don’t eat everything on the buffet if there are some things you don’t like a lot.

Save your calories for your most favorite foods 😉

I wish I could claim the fat loss hack below….

I saw this and it was perfect to share here. I tend to operate this way and find it easy to do.  I especially love the second part. To often people think if they’ve had one “bad” meal they should just throw in the towel and eat bad the rest of the day.  No… you get back to sensible eating again.

I think this is a great reminder as we go through the holidays that one meal full of extras doesn’t have to be what the rest of our day is like.

Eat your normal foods more often than not, if you eat extra treats get back to normal at your next meal. Keep things simple.

fat hacks

Other things to consider…

Make sure vegetables and fruit are a big part of your daily diet. Well, you should even if it isn’t Christmas time, but more so now. They keep you full, give you energy and keep that sluggish feeling from setting in when you’ve had an overly laden high fat/carb meal.

Drink adequate water. This will help keep you hydrated, especially if alcohol makes it’s rounds with you.  Water can help flush excess sodium from foods we’ve consumed and it also helps prevent headaches that can come from to much excess.

Mindful eating. So often we graze and just load food into our mouths without even being aware of what it is or why we are eating it. Think about what you eat. If you aren’t hungry, walk away from it.  Find something else to occupy you till the desire passes.

Keep up with your exercise. Not only does it help reduce stress, it also allows time for you to think and sort ideas, clear your mind and help with creativity.  Not only that, it can help keep your weight in check as well. Don’t dismiss it as not having enough time. I am a big fan of HIIT workouts that are 20 minutes, but packed with lots of hard work.

Trust me, you’ve got 20 minutes in your day to do something positive for yourself.  Check out this weeks Monday Musings for one of my 20 minute workouts.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/12/10/monday-musings-29/

Keeping a few simple strategies in mind will let you enjoy the tastes and flavors of the season you love while keeping you from gaining excess pounds to deal with in the new year.

Your turn. Do you have any tips or tricks for enjoying the holiday season but not being to self indulgent? Do you keep up with your exercise ?

 

Advertisements

Spotlight On Yellow Squash

It has come to my attention I haven’t done a food spotlight post in a red hot minute.  I selfishly love doing them because I usually learn a lot more about foods I love and enjoy than I knew before I started researching the details for a post.

Me like… “wow! I’m eating so healthy!” haha

Seriously though, can you go wrong with veggies ?? I think not.

I decided to focus on one of my favorite “go to” veggies, the humble yellow squash.

59807998-yellow-squash-for-sale-at-farmers-market-in-asheville-north-carolina

Yellow squash, also called yellow zucchini or summer squash, is a hot weather vegetable picked in its immature stage to ensure a thin, edible skin and sweet, soft flesh. This squash typically ranges in size from 6 to 8 inches long, although it can be smaller, depending on when you pick the fruit

With the recent massive recall in the states on romaine lettuce because of e coli, the shelves have been stripped bare in stores and salads, well just haven’t been happening.

Yeah I know there’s “iceberg” lettuce, but really, why does that exist??

Anyway, I digress.

Not making salads ( a huge staple in my meals) I was looking at other creative veggie ideas while we waited for the lettuce to return.

One of my favorite ways to use squash is to mix it up with other things, like zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and some red onion, add some sea salt and crushed pepper, mix up with a little olive oil and roast in oven on a high heat. I then but it under the broiler for a few minutes to “crisp” the veggies a little.

20181128_173928

I cannot tell you how seriously amazing it is.

Wait. First you need some nutritional facts.

One medium squash has a whole 32 calories!

One cup of raw, sliced yellow squash contains 18 calories. This low-calorie vegetable is an ideal side dish if you wish to lose weight. Yellow squash essentially has no fat — a 1-cup portion provides only 0.2 g.

A 1-cup serving of raw yellow squash provides you with 3.8 g of carbohydrates, or 2.9 percent of the 130 g suggested daily. Carbs serve as the main supply of energy for your body. Yellow squash also helps you consume the fiber you need each day; 1 cup contains 1.2 g. Fiber can play a critical role in helping you lose weight. High-fiber foods satisfy hunger better than low-fiber foods by providing more bulk in your diet. Fiber also helps regulate bowel movements and decreases your chances of developing diverticulitus, a condition that affects your colon. Include 25 to 38 g of fiber in your diet every day.

Yellow squash serves as a good source of vitamin C — each 1-cup portion contains 21.3 to 25.6 percent of the amount your body requires daily. Ascorbic acid, another name for vitamin C, is an antioxidant that blocks cellular damage from free radicals, helping to slow aging and possibly decreasing your risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

One portion of yellow squash also provides 8.6 to 11.1 percent of the daily recommended value of manganese, an essential trace mineral.

Have I convinced you to try it yet?

20181205_170638
Just ignore my massive tree in background photo bombing me 😉

Listen if you’re sitting behind your screen gagging a little ’cause the only way you ever had it is when your Mom boiled it to death in water on the stove turning it into a form of mush well… I’m sorry she ruined you for it 😉

But wait! You’re all grown now, you should give it another chance and try it in some different recipes or try it like I suggested to you, mixed and roasted with other veggies.

It’s a winning combo to eat foods that are filling, nutritious and low calorie.

Of course I’ll offer some recipes for you to try.

 

 

 

Your turn! Do you like squash? Have you tried it? If so what’s your fav way to eat it ?

Simple Nutrition

Yeah, hello, I’m still alive out here.  No, the duathlon didn’t leave me laying on the side of the road 😛  I promise, I am doing a recap but…well… they keep teasing us with all our free race photos and course I wanna toss one or two of those in as well… so hopefully sometime this week you can find it here so stay tuned. I had fun and I did ok so check back. 😉

However a busy Thanksgiving week and all my well intended plans to scratch something out for you seemed to sail out the window.

So much tasty food for Thanksgiving. Some new dishes shared as well as the traditional favorites everyone enjoys.

It goes without saying that eating comes pretty naturally for all of us. Where we differ is how we choose to eat and the foods that we put into our bodies.

20171127_142910

Every time we eat, we have the power to make choices.

Obviously, how I feed my body is important to how well I can potentially do my training sessions and also have energy for the rest of my day. I’ve learned that cutting back on food or not eaingt pre work out is the equivalent of taking off on a long trip with your gas tank sitting on or close to the empty mark.

In todays busy world food sometimes seems complicated and it shouldn’t be. I don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over food .. unless it’s 4:30 and the dinner hour is breathing down my neck, everything is frozen, and I’m completely clueless what to feed the crew.

THEN I might start obsessing a little.

Having healthy snacks or easy balanced and nutritious meals shouldn’t have to stress you out. I’ve personally found if I have healthy foods in my ‘fridge with easy access to them I’m always more likely to grab them.

No, I don’t meal prep or have 50 containers of the exact food waiting for me day after day. There are foods that I can easily grab or assemble as a snack if I feel like I’m famished ( and some days after long training sessions those moments can come on quickly) Maybe you haven’t done a long training session but maybe you’ve put in a long day at work and dinner is still in the process of coming together.

Taking a little time to prepare some things to keep on hand will help you make healthier snacks choices.

Consider things like:

Hard boiled eggs

Cheese sticks or cheese cubes

A variety of precut, prepared veggies you can grab

Ranch dip, made with non-fat Greek yogurt

Fresh fruit

Peanut butter ( in moderation)

Grilled or baked chicken ( works for so many different things)

Greek yogurt ( toss in some berries or raw almonds)

Raw nuts like almonds or walnuts

Homemade smoothies with your choice of fruit, milk etc. (be really mindful of buying smoothies when you’re on the go as they are often high in sugar and loaded with tons of calories. )

I also like to keep whole grain crackers around. I will put together a small plate with some cheese and fruit to carry me over till I can eat my next meal.

Or try this tasty little healthy snack:

Apple slice cookies:

Red delicious apple ( you need a nice firm apple for slicing) , peanut butter, unsweetened coconut, mini chocolate chips, chopped walnuts.

Core apple, slice into 1/4 inch slices. Lay out on cookie sheet and press with a paper towel to absorb excess water ( this will help peanut butter stay in place) spread a  thin layer of peanut butter then add coconut, walnuts and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy 🙂

The more prepared you are the more likely you are to make good choices.

But back to that dinner thing….

I know I’m not the only one who sometimes bangs their head against the wall thinking of something clever for dinner. Personally, I could eat meat and veggies of some sort all the time but the rest of the crew.. well they have different ideas at times 😉

Mind you.. I have like… 5 thousand cook books so it’s not like I lack a place for ideas.  It’s just that they aren’t always with me if I’m out running around an realize I need food ideas.

Enter Pinterest

Who doesn’t always have their phone with them? And if you haven’t checked out Pinterest, will you should. All I have to do is open that app and search up some dinner recipes. Although now I actually have a board started with all kinds of tasty dinner recipes to choose from so I can be in the store, get the ingredients if I don’t have them and still put something new and delicious together.

( Click on my Pinterest link to follow me there and find a lot of my fav dinner ideas.. oh… and do I have some desserts for you too 😉 )

My favorite  new thing is one sheet dinners. I’m telling you… your life will never be the same again…ever.

All of the tasty goodness is cooked on one pan. Easy clean up. Nutritious. And there is a huge variety of ideas.

Simple nutrition my friends, simple.

Some of my favorites:

https://pin.it/4nqwlidnygrmkg  ( Greek Chicken with Green Beans And Feta Cheese)

https://pin.it/o5yrbbd2v3vx2l  ( Sheet Pan BBQ Dinner)

https://pin.it/mwxp5oounhzkdt  ( Roasted Garlic & Herb Sausage and Potatoes)

https://pin.it/2qaxgmnxitv3k6 ( Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken)

Sheet-Pan-Shrimp-Fajitas-Pin
I’ve made this too. It was a huge hit, and totally delicious

 

 

Not only are these meals easy to prepare with minimal work and clean up they offer a good variety from many food groups. Some are stand alone meals, some I might add a salad or bread depending on what it is.

Eating healthy with a focus on good food doesn’t need to be complicated. It may take a little time for you to get into the routine and find what works for you but once you adapt you will find it easier than ever to make healthy meals and snacks that will keep you on track with your health and fitness goals.