Healthy Holiday Recipes and Habits

Don’t let the title of this blog lead you to believe I mean a restrictive holiday. Trust me, there are plenty of Hallmark movies in my future and mashed potatoes on my Thanksgiving plate. Made with real cream and gravy that I will make from scratch. What I mean when I say healthy holiday is to think holistically. From the inside out!


As I have matured and gained more nutritional knowledge over the years, I know not all calories are created equal and certainly not all calories are nutrient dense!  I also have learned, that food shaming is not an activity that should be practiced on yourself or dinner guests this season.

Before diving in to your holiday cook fest, let me suggest you take a little time to research recipes, make mindful choices, and be thoughtful in what you decide to feed your family this season. Thanksgiving Day is the day to give thanks. What better way to show gratitude for your health and happiness than by creating more.

Some nostalgic dishes are meant to be enjoyed just as you remember. I believe you completely should enjoy that once a year food as it is intended. It is possible to do that while practicing healthy decision making elsewhere. Try using some healthy cooking techniques on your trusty favorites. Could you make a recipe as a more nourishing version by swapping dairy for nut/coconut milk or using ghee instead of butter? Consider omitting brown sugar and opting for real maple syrup or coconut sugar instead. Put your own healthy spin on some sides and share the wealth and health this season!

Side note when planning, the holiday meal is one day, one meal. While we all love good Turkey Day leftovers, we don’t need an exorbitant amount of them. Plan out the rest of the week by filling the fridge with fresh produce and even prepare a healthy and simple vegetable soup. It’s a quick and easy go to for any crowd. The next time you swing by the market, grab a couple boxes of organic broth and a frozen bag of soup veggies. That is pretty much all you need to build your own boiling pot of goodness. My tip, while simmering, add juice from a fresh lemon. It brightens up the broth and brings all the vegetable flavors and spices together.

If you need help in the holiday recipe planning department, I did the work for you! I have put together a Pinterest Board with healthy holiday recipes here. I reviewed each dish and it’s ingredients before qualifying it to be considered a healthy holiday choice. Calories were not considered in the selection process. Many recipes on the board are titled: vegan, paleo, gluten free, and Whole 30. All dishes selected are made with real foods (nothing processed or manufactured) and contain zero added sugars. You will see recipes that include ghee, maple syrup, and possibly even cream. Let me know your favorite!


Aside from nourishing your body, be sure to take care of  your emotional strength. It is the top of my list this season and I am suggesting it for many tribe members as well. I often hear friends toss out the idea of quitting social media during this time of year. I find that thought interesting. Do we quit watching tv, reading the newspaper, or listening to the radio when the headlines are bad? Should we? I mention this because while I believe we can’t sensor everything that comes through our feed, screen, or speakers…we can decide how we react to it. For me the nutrition piece is soooo much easier.

Life served up a heavy side of emotion for me this past week and my spirit was craving calm. Jason and I settled into a meditative state for breath work Saturday that lured me right into a nap. The sleep was exactly what I needed. You must make time for moments like this in your week. Mini re-charge sessions are key to keeping it together over the next few weeks. That could mean a nap, a manicure, a walk, a coffee date with a friend. I have been enjoying a little background music while cooking and doing housework. Frank Sinatra Holiday and Penatonix Holiday at 2 top Pandora favs! If meditation or naps are not an option, be cautious not to over schedule yourself right out of sleep. Sometimes simple doing things slower is relief enough.


Look at your workouts differently this time of the year. No matter how busy the schedules get, DON’T CANCEL these appointments with yourself. Let it be a time of release. It is your place to demonstrate strength. I often encourage my clients to watch themselves in the mirror so they can lock in on the image of them literally build strength. I often include breath work, pray, and even visualization into these holiday sessions. The holidays can be a time for many to feel physically or emotionally beat down. If you are feeling well physically, you are more equipped emotionally to tackle any seasonal situation.


Soon after starting this post, I paused to think about all of this and how we had spent our day. We tossed out the leftover night before pizza, I simmered a pot of the above mentioned vegetable soup. We accomplished workouts we felt good about. We even sat in silence ( 1 reading, 1 writing) for a bit as we reset our minds and turned them towards the upcoming week. All of our decisions were conscious and calculated. Each brought joy, health, and peace into our bodies and home. We choose it. That my friends, is the key to having the healthy, happy holiday you crave.


Creating Healthy Boundaries

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