As the holidays are creeping up and the end of the year is soon approaching, the idea of trying to remain healthy and stick to mindful habits might seem like a daunting task. The holiday season may also look a bit different this year considering the circumstances, but if you find yourself still getting together with friends and family to celebrate, you may be wondering how to successfully navigate a night of festivities while staying on track with your goals.
How to stay on a healthy track this holiday season
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Having a nutritious, filling meal is key while also allowing yourself to indulge a bit without feeling guilty. The 54D Nutrition Team provided some great insight into what a nutritious meal should look like any time of the year, but especially during the holiday season with all of the temptations around us.
For starters, 54D once again advised that organization is key in being successful with staying on a healthy track. Planning the structure of your lunch or dinner will make it easier to balance. Also, it’s helpful to divide your meal into three if you can, choose an appetizer option, a main dish, and a dessert.
For your appetizer, make sure to start with a salad or vegetables if you have access to them. This allows you to fill up on fiber which will aid in calming your hunger and prevent you from grabbing more food than you should later on, according to the 54D Nutrition Team.
For the main dish, it’s crucial to fill your plate with high-protein foods, such as turkey, meatballs, chicken, or a plant based protein. Protein will keep you satiated and reduce cravings that could cause you to overeat such as when eating high-carb, high-fat foods. The Mushroom Stuffed Tenderloin recipe provided below from the 54D team is a great choice, which can be accompanied by roasted potatoes or another vegetable dish for a well-rounded meal that will consist of protein, carbs, and veggies.
Mushroom Stuffed Tenderloin
6 Servings | 1 hr 10 min
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon almond flour
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 pork tenderloins (approximately 2-2 1/2 lbs total), trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond flour and parsley (save 2 tablespoons for later). Let cool.
Soak 10 to 12 toothpicks in water to prevent them from burning. Rinse the pork and pat dry. Butterfly the pork: Make a 1-inch-deep incision down the length of each tenderloin; do not cut all the way through. Open the meat like a book so the tenderloins lie flat.
Cover the pork with plastic wrap; pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick, starting from the middle and working outward. Spread the mushroom mixture over the 2 tenderloins. Starting with a long side, tightly roll up each tenderloin. Secure the seams with the toothpicks.
Preheat a grill to medium-high; brush the grates with olive oil. Brush the pork rolls with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 140 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest, about 10 minutes.
Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Remove the toothpicks and slice the pork rolls. Top with parsley oil mixture.
In terms of what your plate should look like, try to divide your plate into three sections to control your portions. Half of the plate should consist of vegetables, a quarter of the plate should be protein, and the remaining portion should be your carbohydrates such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, legumes, or whole grains.
As mentioned above, don’t deprive yourself of a little dessert and if you follow the above tips from the 54D Nutrition Team, your sweet cravings should be reduced. In the event that you still are wanting something on the sweeter side after dinner, focus on consuming whole foods such as fruit. If you’re making a dessert recipe, it’s also helpful to swap whole milk for unsweetened almond milk or greek yogurt to increase the protein content of the dessert without sacrificing flavor.
Baking or eating desserts with natural low carb sweeteners are a great way to consume fewer calories while still satisfying your sweet tooth. The team at 54D provided a delicious Gingerbread cookie recipe below for inspiration. Ginger and cinnamon are high thermogenic spices that aid in burning more calories as our bodies digest them and these two ingredients also have anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a win, win!
6-8 cookies | 15 minutes
- 1 medium sweet potato to make 2/3 cup sweet potato mash
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup tahini paste
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons monk fruit
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and dry the sweet potato then spear a few times with a knife. Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes, or until soft.
Scoop the inside out of the sweet potato and into a medium bowl.
Add the coconut flour, tahini, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and molasses.
Stir until well combined. The dough will become very thick.
Mold into 2 1/2″ diameter cookies that are about 1/4″ thick, and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Lastly, remember to stay hydrated throughout the day. Sometimes we often mistake being hungry when really our bodies are just thirsty. If you can, try to aim for 8-10 glasses of water a day.