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How to NOT Gain Weight During The Holidays

 

There is some good news about holiday weight gain. People don’t gain as much weight as we thought during the holidays.

According to National Institute of Health, throughout the six-week holiday season, the average person gains about a pound. I guess I am way above average. If you are like me, the holiday eating season can really take its toll. So here are a few ideas to keep yourself in check.
1. Maintaining your weight is a victory. Weigh yourself before Thanksgiving and continue to weigh yourself two to three times a week. Be sure to weigh yourself in the morning before you eat anything. If you see that scale creep, make adjustments along the way. Exercise more or eat a little less.

 

2. Don’t fast before the feast.  It might seem like a good idea to skip breakfast or lunch before heading off to that holiday dinner, but eating a few small meals throughout the day is a better way to go. If you show up famished, it will be more difficult to avoid eating too much. And when your little voice tells you that you can have a third piece of cheesecake because you skipped breakfast and lunch, things can get ugly.

 

3. Know what you want. Everyone has their favorites at Thanksgiving. I can probably eat my weight in stuffing and pie. But often times, the main meal isn’t served for a few hours, and there are plates and plates of appetizers to tempt. Most appetizers at my home are pretty generic items that can be found at any bar or party throughout the year. So on Thanksgiving, decide to eat only the things you get on Thanksgiving and step awaaaay from the things you can have anytime. If you need something to munch on before the bird arrives, go for the veggies.

 

4. Be the last in line. Holiday dinners can be an all-day event. The food is left out for a few hours for people to go back for more and more and more. When it comes time for the dessert tray to make its debut, be the last one to get your dessert. Enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea while everyone else grabs their goodies. If you are the last to get your dessert, by the time you finish your one and only treat, everyone else is going to be done with their dessert too, and will probably have moved on to something else like football, napping, or complaining about how full they are. It won’t be as convenient to go back for seconds. And make sure to choose your very favorite dessert. You know; the one that is totally worth the calories… your Auntie’s pumpkin pie, your grandma’s cookies, etc.

 

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Blueberry Pear Pie with a Healthy Twist

 

The holidays are a time to relax while gathering with family and friends. Unfortunately, this is also a time when your waistline is most likely to expand due to all the delicious food within easy reach. If you’re worried about gaining weight  this time of year, don’t fret. Exercise a little moderation at the holiday table while also reaching for healthier meal alternatives and you should be just fine.

 

 

With a flavorful, spice-infused filling and a flaky crust, this blueberry pear pie is the perfect accent to the holiday season. It’s also hiding a few healthy little secrets that make it the preferable option to traditional holiday pies. Whole wheat flour and coconut oil in the crust along with natural and organic sugars help you feel a little less holiday guilt with each bite.

Makes 1, 9-inch pie

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, not melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water to create an egg wash
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling, optional

 

Filling:

  • 4 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Dash salt

 

Method

Crust:

  1. Cube the butter, measure out the coconut oil and place both in the fridge to chill while preparing the dry ingredients.
  2. Place the flours, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter and coconut oil and cut with a pastry cutter until the butter is reduced to chunks the size of peas.
  3. Slowly add the water, tossing the crust mixture with a fork while doing so. After the water is added, gather the dough into a ball, gently pressing while doing so to gather any loose crumbs.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 45 minutes.

 

Filling:

  1. Begin preparing the pie filling while the dough is chilling in the fridge.
  2. Place all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss to evenly coat the fruit. Let the filling rest on the countertop while rolling out the pie dough.

Final Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the pie dough from the fridge and cut in half. Roll out the first dough piece on a well-floured surface into a circle to fit the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the center to the edges. Occasionally turn and flour the dough while rolling it out to prevent sticking.
  2. Fold the dough in half, place it over the pie pan, unfold and press gently to fit the pan. Dump the filling over the dough into the pie pan.
  3. Roll out the second dough half in the same manner to a size that will fit over the top of the pie pan. Fold the dough in half, place it over the filling and tuck the edges under the bottom crust. Crimp the edges with your fingers to create a seal.
  4. Brush the entire top of the crust with the egg wash and, if desired, sprinkle the top with Turbinado sugar.
  5. Make 4 slits in the top of the crust, place the pie pan on the oven’s center rack and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
  6. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

This recipe comes from Shayla Ebsen’s e-cookbook, It’s a Sweet Life.

What is your plan for avoiding holiday weight gain?

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15 Foods You Don’t Have to Buy Organic for the Holidays

 

Healthy eating is no longer a crazy fad but a widespread movement that reaches far beyond the social borders of hippies, locavores and their ilk. But those of us who weren’t raised perusing the incense-infused aisles of the local health food store for fructose-sweetened knock-offs of the diabetes-inducing cereals all the other kids were eating need a little help. With Thanksgiving coming up, there is no better time to try out delicious recipes that will weigh lightly on your conscience (if not on your scale).

 

 

Starting with the basics, a good beginner’s guide to pair with your holiday grocery list is The Clean 15, a guide to 15 fruits and vegetables whose non-organic options are low enough in harmful pesticides to greatly reduce your risk of growing a third eye (save that for yoga class). Sadly many of the fruits and veggies involved in classic family dinner dishes, such as the apples in your favorite pie, are often full of pesticide residue if they’re not certified organic. But fear not, the Clean 15 has plenty of yummy choices like the ones used in these recipes that are worth giving thanks for.

 

1. Asparagus with Creamy Tarragon Sauce

This Huffington Post slideshow features 25 photos of different preparations for this member of the Clean 15. Steamed asparagus is a good, green substitute for green bean casserole, and with its creamy but light sauce you won’t even miss the Cream of Mushroom soup.

 

2. Eggplant Gratin

This luxurious dish is a fine replacement for scalloped potatoes, with all the cheese, much higher nutritional value and much lower risk of ingesting pesticides.

 

3. Honey Grapefruit Salad

Pie is a traditional staple in most any holiday-geared household, but let’s be honest, who ever has room for it? This traditional French dessert is light, full of Clean 15-approved grapefruit, and spiked with a little Grand Marnier to make things interesting. Follow the link for the original recipe in French from Le Figaro, or reference the English translation below.

Ingredients:

2 red grapefruits, 1 grapefruit, 3 oranges, 4 tablespoons of honey, 1 lime, 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier, 2 sprigs of fresh mint

Recipe:

Wash the fruit and zest one orange and the lime. Juice the oranges and the lime and pour it into a pot with the zest. Add the honey and one sprig of mint. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove the mint and set your sauce aside.

Peel the grapefruit, cut them into quarters and put them in a large bowl. Add the sauce and the Grand Marnier. Refrigerate and serve decorated with mint leaves.

 

4 & 5. Sweet Creamed Corn and Sweet Potato Casserole  

These are two favorites for which there is no need to turn organic- sweet corn and sweet potatoes are both Clean 15 cardholders.

 

Author:  Emily Johnson