Christmas Chaos & Healthy Recipes

“Tis’ the season… to be Jolly!”

The holidays are a time of joy and happiness to be spent with family, friends or your significant other. It is a time to enjoy some much needed R&R (rest and relaxation), reflect on all that you are thankful for and celebrate in the spirit of giving! With all of the holiday parties, shopping and gift wrapping, it can seem a bit chaotic, but you just need to take a step back and look at the big picture of what’s important to you. Your health should be at the top of your list, along with your family and loved ones.

Many people put their health on the “back burner” during this season. For example, by not getting enough sleep or exercise combined with eating unhealthy foods and letting your stress “take over” can do much more harm than you think. You will have a weakened immune system and be more at risk of getting sick (which no one wants during the holidays) when you do not get adequate nutrition. You will be less efficient and energized when you do not get enough rest or physical activity. Lastly, you will feel like your life is “spinning out of control” if you don’t have a grip on your stress. So, I am here to help you find your life balance with Nutrition For Body And Mind!

Take care of yourself and your health first, and then everything will fall into place (i.e. feeling energized, spending quality time with family or friends, etc.). Choose foods that are most nutrient-dense instead of heavy, fatty or fried foods and excessive sweet treats; which will leave you feeling lethargic and less productive. I have put together a few ideas for healthy holiday side dishes. The main dish (usually a protein unless you are vegetarian/vegan) may vary from turkey breast, beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin, rack of lamb, ham, game hen, roasted duck or venison. Whatever you choose to include in your Christmas or New Year’s feast, make sure to get a lean selection and trim away all visible fat or pull away the skin (if applicable). Try these healthy recipes…’Garlicky green beans’ instead of the heavy, high fat green bean casserole and the ‘red and white salad’ or ‘crunchy pear and celery salad’.

Garlicky Green Beans

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Nutrition- per serving: 92 calories; 6 g fat (1 g saturated, 4 g monounsaturated); 0 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 4 g fiber; 148 mg sodium; 186 mg potassium.

Red and White salad

  • 4 cups thinly sliced hearts of romaine
  • 2 heads Belgian endive, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head radicchio, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 red apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • Champagne Vinaigrette, (recipe follows)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Nutrition- per serving: 111 calories; 7 g fat (1 g saturated, 5 g monounsaturated); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 424 mg sodium; 324 mg potassium.

Crunchy Pear and Celery Salad

  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
  • 1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 large leaves butterhead or other lettuce
  • Nutrition- per serving: 221 calories; 14 g fat (5 g saturated, 4 g monounsaturated); 20 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber; 240 mg sodium; 221 mg potassium.
  • Note: To cut back on the saturated fat, you can cut out the cheddar cheese or get the low fat option.

To learn more about healthy recipes and meal planning that is right for YOU, schedule an appointment with Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian and Founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.