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healthy and enjoyable thanksgiving

Tips for a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving

No one wants to give up the delicious Thanksgiving feast for their diet plan. We have some tips to help you have a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Plus we added some healthy Thanksgiving recipe inspiration!

The holiday season is the feasting season. There’s no other time of year that we go out of our way to eat so much food on so many occasions back to back. 

Which means if losing weight is your goal, this is the toughest time of year to get through. Temptation is everywhere. Whether it’s at work or with family, there are opportunities to eat extra anywhere you go and with everyone you see. 

Especially on Thanksgiving, which is now right around the corner. 

While Thanksgiving is likely to be quite different for many of us this year due to COVID-19, if your household still plans on having a small holiday gathering at any time this season, there’s no doubt delicious food will be involved. So you need a plan about how to navigate the influx of food with your weight loss goals. You need a strategy for a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

But it’s important to keep in mind—Thanksgiving isn’t about restriction and being miserly.

It’s about family, friends, community, and all the delicious foods we enjoy at this time of year. Now isn’t the time to be hard on yourself or to deprive yourself of everything you enjoy about the holiday.

But enjoying yourself doesn’t mean going wild and forgetting about all the progress you’ve made either.

So what can you do to get through the holiday without feeling guilty and setting back your progress?

Tips for a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving (and rest of the holiday season)

1. Stick to normal portion sizes

The first way to get through this is to be aware of your portion sizes during each meal.

Oftentimes the feasting on Thanksgiving becomes an event to eat the most delicious food possible. And then sit in a stupor the rest of the day.

While eating delicious food is fun, neither the after-effects nor guilt of overeating are worth it.

You can still enjoy delectable foods. Just keep in mind optimal portion sizes:

  • Vegetables — 2 to 3 cups
  • Fruits — 1½ to 2 cups
  • Grains — 5 to 8 ounces
  • Dairy — 3 cups (fat-free or low-fat)
  • Protein foods — 5 to 6½ ounces
  • Oils — 5 to 7 teaspoons

Does this mean you need to break out the measuring cups and weigh your food at the Thanksgiving buffet? No way!

Just be aware of how much you’re putting on your plate and aim to keep your portion sizes in an ideal range for the meal. Keep in mind everything you’ve had throughout the day and plan your plate accordingly.

This way you still get to enjoy the food that’s available. Because in reality, the food itself isn’t what makes you feel guilty. There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating your favorite holiday foods. 

The guilt comes from overeating far beyond what you know is reasonable. But you can avoid that by staying aware of your portion sizes as you pile food on your plate. 

2. Leftovers are great!

When there’s so much food available, it’s tempting to just keep eating. Especially if you’re someone who tends to feel guilty about not clearing your entire plate.

But there’s nothing wrong with saving food for another day. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of all the bulk holiday cooking. You get to have all that delicious food (and avoid cooking) for days afterward.

The same should be kept in mind when it comes to dessert. If your family is big on sweets and has multiple dessert options, there’s no need to have every dessert in one day. Choose one and know that you can always have another dessert the next day.

3. Slow down

While it’s natural to want second helpings of everything for holiday meals, remember to slow down.

It takes time for your body and mind to register that you’re full. So as you finish your first plate of food, wait 10 minutes to see if you actually want that second helping as much as you think you do.

You’ll likely find that if you wait before grabbing that second serving you won’t want as much food, or any more food at all.

4. Load up on vegetables

Vegetables are the ultimate foods to load up on if you want to feel full faster. They’re low calorie and full of fiber that fills you up faster than if you load up on carbs.

So to help you keep your calorie intake under control, make sure you get a lot of veggies on your plate in proportion to other types of foods. This allows you to get nutrient-dense foods and avoid overeating that happens when you load up on the lower satiety, high-calorie foods available to you.

5. Limit alcohol

When you think about how you want to allot your calories every day, you want almost all of your calories to come from healthful sources. 

Alcohol isn’t one of those healthful sources. Whether you drink wine, mixed drinks, or beer, the calories range from 150 to 200 per serving. And that adds up fast–especially when we’re likely to drink more around friends and family. 

Plus, alcohol is also known to make you feel hungrier. Despite consuming all those calories from alcohol, your brain thinks you’re starving. Hence the cravings for fat-filled, greasy, and salty foods after a heavy drinking session. 

So when you want to stay healthy, alcohol isn’t what you want to go wild indulging in. This isn’t to say you have to avoid all drinks. But for the sake of your health, limit the amount of alcohol and drink 8oz of water after any drink you will serve you well in the long run.

6. Make some time to be active during the day

You know you’re likely to eat a few more calories than you normally do on any holiday family gathering. So go into that event prepared.

Make time for exercise in the morning. Burn those calories so you can eat a little bit extra without the guilt. You can go for a mile walk or take it at a jog. You can get a quick lift in at the gym. Or do a tougher yoga sequence from home. Whatever you like best to get movement in and burn extra energy so you have some wiggle room in your diet later.

Moving after or in-between meals is also a great way to get your blood flowing and help you digest better. Whether it’s after your meal or before you settle in for the football game, go for a brief walk around the neighborhood. And this is something you can do with those you’ve gathered with and a nice change of pace from the usual day.

7. Use fresh whole foods as much as possible.

Whether you’re cooking everything or contributing just one dish, try to cook with as many fresh and whole foods as you can.

Making your dishes from scratch takes more time. But the payoff for your health and the quality of food is worth it. 

And if you’re looking for some inspiration, here are 5 healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving recipes that are freshly made from scratch that are on the healthier side of things while still being delicious:

  • Baked turkey — a fried turkey may taste amazing, but a baked turkey is a Thanksgiving classic. And it loads better for your health. You’ll want to gobble this turkey recipe right up.  
  • Low-calorie stuffing so you won’t guilty about eating so much of this Thanksgiving staple.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce: Less sugar and tastes so much better than from the can!
  • Roasted carrots — A naturally healthy Thanksgiving side dish that also adds a beautiful pop of color to your spread. 
  • Baked apples, plums, or peaches. All this takes is some halved fruit, a dash of brown sugar, and even a smidgen of salt to enhance the sweetness. You have a warm and comforting dessert without all the fillers in pies.  Here’s a recipe for delectable baked apples.

Give any one of these tips a try and you’re sure to feel better about how you eat on Thanksgiving. And you won’t feel like you risked all the progress you made in your weight loss goal.

And it’s worth keeping all these tips in mind as December rolls around. With all the holidays between now and New Years’, it’s easy to get carried away. But you can enjoy these months while still staying on track to lose the weight you want with the right plan and mindset in place. Try following a few of these tips and you’re sure to have a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving this year.

Remember, if you need support and a weight loss plan, our experts can help you through the holidays and beyond. 

Sources

  1. “Serving and Portion Sizes: How Much Should I Eat?” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nia.nih.gov/health/serving-and-portion-sizes-how-much-should-i-eat
lemon chicken

Healthy Recipe: Buttery Lemon Chicken

Low Carb? Keto? Neither of the above but just like delicious food? This recipe fits the bill. This gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo (say that 10 times fast) recipe is rich in both protein and flavor. As if that wasn’t enough, you can make it in your pressure cooker and have it ready in under 10 minutes. Talk about the perfect weeknight meal.

Buttery Lemon Chicken

What You Need:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 3 teaspoons water

What To Do:

  1. Combine salt, pepper, paprika, and granulated onion in a small bowl. Season both sides of each chicken breast.
  2. Turn on sauté function of pressure cooker and add ghee to pot. Once ghee is heated, add garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add chicken breast and sear, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Pour chicken broth and lemon juice into pot and close lid. Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure. Let pressure release naturally.
  4. Remove chicken from pot.
  5. Mix arrowroot powder and water and then stir into contents of pressure cooker to thicken sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve with side of choice.
buffalo cauliflower

Healthy Recipe: Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

It’s October, which means playoff baseball, especially if you’re a Red Sox or a Dodgers fan. Even if you don’t care about baseball, you’ll probably find yourself at some championship game and/or World Series party. What you may not find is a healthy snack that fits into your weight loss plan. The solution: bring one yourself! These Buffalo Cauliflower Bites have all the flavor of the traditional deep fried buffalo chicken wings, but with a better nutritional profile. They’re low fat, low carb, Keto, and paleo, so they’re sure to please everyone at the party.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 1/4 cup ghee

What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond meal, garlic, parsley, and salt in a large sealable plastic bag and shake to mix.
  3. Whisk egg in a large bowl. Add cauliflower and toss to coat completely.
  4. Transfer coated cauliflower to bag with almond meal mixture and toss to coat.
  5. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until softened and slightly browned.
  6. While cauliflower is baking, combine hot sauce and ghee in a small saucepan over low heat.
  7. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add cooked cauliflower. Toss to coat. Serve hot.

 

peppermint hot cocoa

Healthy Recipe: Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Peppermint is one of the most popular flavors of the season, but it’s not just delicious; it also has a ton of health benefits. You can sip on some peppermint tea or diffuse some peppermint essential oil, but, (I’m sure you can agree) one of the best ways to enjoy peppermint is with chocolate.

Of course, when you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t want to go overboard when it comes to chocolate, but the sweet treat, especially in the form of hot cocoa, is a staple of the colder months and we don’t want you to completely miss out.

If you feel like having a sweet, mint chocolate treat, look no further! This recipe for healthy peppermint hot cocoa, which makes a single serving, provides only 98 calories and 1 gram of fat when made with skim milk and it’s easy to whip up with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup milk of your choice (skim, almond, or coconut are great choices)
  • 2 rounded teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 to 4 drops liquid stevia
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

What To Do:

Put milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until warm, but not boiling. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into a mug and top with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.

Enjoy!

taco stuffed peppers

Healthy Recipe: Taco Stuffed Peppers

We’re always looking for healthy, weeknight dinners that offer a little variety without taking FOREVER to prepare. These taco stuffed peppers are quick and easy and use ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking by adding extra veggies to the turkey mixture or swapping out the meat for black beans.

What You Need:

  1. ½ cup quinoa
  2. 1 cup chicken stock
  3. 1 TBSP chili powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  6. 5 tsp ground cumin
  7. ½ tsp paprika
  8. ¼ tsp dried oregano
  9. ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  10. ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  11. ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  12. 1 TBSP olive oil
  13. 1 small onion, minced
  14. 1 lb. ground turkey
  15. 1 cup spinach, chopped
  16. 3 orange bell peppers (or any color peppers of your choice)
  17. 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

What To Do:

  1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa and combine with chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine all seasonings in a bowl and mix until incorporated.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Crumble ground turkey and seasoning mixture into onions and cook until meat is no longer pink. Sprinkle in chopped spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.
  4. Remove from heat, add salsa and quinoa and stir until combined.
  5. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up in a 9 x 13 in. baking dish. Scoop filling into each pepper and sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Remove foil, increase heat to 400°F, and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
  7. Top with cilantro, if desired.
gingerbread latte

Healthy Recipe: Gingerbread Latte

‘Tis the season for family, friends, and fancy drinks from your local coffee shop. But those fancy drinks lose some of their appeal when you take a peek at the nutrition facts. A typical 16-ounce gingerbread latte contains 360 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 38 grams of sugar (which is more than you should be eating in an entire day!).

We don’t want you to feel deprived of the season’s best treats, though, so we’ve made a healthier version of the holiday favorite that you can easily whip up at home. One serving of this health-ified latte contains only 135 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 11 grams of sugar.

Gingerbread Latte Recipe

Serves 1

What You Need:
  • 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee (or espresso)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For an extra boost of protein, add one teaspoon of collagen powder.

What To Do:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until frothy and desired temperature is reached.
  2. Pour into a mug and serve immediately.
protein bar

Navigating Nutrition Bars: How to Choose the Best Option

Because they are so portable, which happens to make them extremely convenient, nutrition bars (or energy bars or protein bars – it doesn’t matter what you call them) are often a staple for dieters. They seem like an easy and healthy option to stave off hunger in between meals and after a workout, but don’t believe all the hype just yet. Some of these chocolate-covered “nutrition” bars are just candy bars in disguise.

It’s true that some nutrition bars can be a great option, but most are backed by outlandish claims that grossly misrepresent what’s actually in the product. We know that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, especially when there are literally hundreds of bars lining the grocery store shelves, but we’re going to help you narrow it down with four key areas that you should be paying attention to when choosing a nutrition bar.

It’s All about the Ingredients!

Most of the nutrition bars available are loaded with chemicals and artificial ingredients that result in a good taste, but aren’t necessarily good for you. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce it or your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it, don’t eat it! Instead, choose nutrition bars that are made from natural, wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. As a general rule, the fewer ingredients, the better.

Use Caution with Calories

Nutrition bars serve different purposes, and because of this, the calorie counts can vary significantly between bars. Some bars are meant to be a meal replacement, while others are supposed to be a quick snack to hold you over until you can enjoy your next meal. If you’re looking for a snack bar, check out the calories and stick to one that contains only 100 to 200 per bar. If you’re planning to eat the bar as a meal, choose one that packs around 300 calories and has at least 10 grams of protein – you’ll need it to help hold you over!

Figure Out Fiber Content

One of fiber’s claims to fame is that it helps keep you full. It’s slow to digest, so it stays in your system longer and it absorbs water, so it expands in your stomach, literally filling it up. If you want a bar that’s going to keep you full, choose one that offers at least 2 to 3 grams of fiber per day.

Say Sayonara to Sugar

One of the things that you’ll want to pay really close attention to when choosing a nutrition bar is the amount of sugar. This one can get tricky because many of the healthy options contain dried fruits, so a lot of the sugar content comes from natural sources. Because of this, you’ll have to look past the nutrition facts label at the ingredient list. Avoid bars that contain added sugars like cane juice, rice syrup, sucrose, fructose, honey, molasses or corn syrup. These added sugars not only increase calories (in the form of empty calories), but they also contribute to systemic, or widespread, inflammation, which is a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

If you want to be sure that you have full control over your nutrition bars and the ingredients in them, you can also take a look at this list of homemade energy bar recipes. The Chocolate, Cashew, and Almond Bars are our favorite!

cauliflower

Healthy Recipe: Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

This weekend marks the official start of summer. Although the weather has already been heating up, now is the time when everyone will start getting together for cookouts – a favorite summer activity. Typically, the fare at a cookout is less than healthy and you have two choices: indulge in food that’s not conducive to your weight loss plan or skip the food altogether.

Well, that’s no way to live and we want to put a change to that! Just because you’re using the grill doesn’t mean your food has to be filled with fat and calories and absolutely no nutrition. You can still enjoy your time outside while indulging in food that’s good for you; and with recipes this good, swapping out typical BBQ-fare with healthier options isn’t even a sacrifice.

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable because it has a subtle taste that’s complemented by almost any flavoring combination. This recipe calls for a spice mixture that’s similar to a steak seasoning, but you can swap out the spices for your own favorite combination.

What You Need:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What To Do:

  1. Heat up the grill to a medium heat.
  2. While the grill is heating, mix all spices together in a small bowl and stir until combined.
  3. Cut your cauliflower vertically and right through the center into ½ inch thick slices, or “steaks”.
  4. Use a grill brush or a basting brush to brush the cauliflower steaks with olive oil. Generously season each side of the cauliflower steaks generously with your spice mixture (you’ll have some leftover).
  5. Place steaks on the grill and allow one side to grill for 5 minutes. Flip steaks over once and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until steaks are fork tender.
  6. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Did you try this recipe? Are you going to? Let us know what you think!

pumpkin

Recipe Makeover: Healthy Pumpkin Mousse

A lot of people put their weight loss goals off for the holidays and succumb to a weight gain that they feel is “inevitable”, but don’t let that be you! Sure, it’s easy to say that you’ll get on track after the holidays; that you’ll really buckle down on January 1st; but you don’t have to go backward before you go forward. You can lose weight during the holidays! There is a way to take your favorite holiday flavors and combine them into recipes that bring you the comfort you’re seeking without taking a toll on your waistline.

When I say the word “tofu”, you probably don’t picture a creamy, decadent dessert, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not only possible, it’s delicious. And you can have it prepared in just a few minutes.

Each serving of this pumpkin pie mousse has only 148 calories and 3.4 grams of fat (most of which are unsaturated). It also contains 3.5 grams of fiber, 7.1 grams of protein, 191 milligrams of potassium, and 300 percent of the vitamin A you need for the ENTIRE day! The best part is no one will even know it’s healthy – unless you give them the recipe when they ask for it.

Pumpkin Pie Mousse

Serves 4

What You Need:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 15 ounces silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

What to Do:

Put all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth. Scoop into serving bowls and refrigerate until ready to serve.

That’s it! If you want, you can top it with crushed nuts, lite whipped cream, shaved coconut, or some dark chocolate shavings. Did you try it? Let us know what you think!

bone broth

Healthy Recipe: Beef Bone Broth

Last week we discussed the benefits of collagen and why it’s absolutely vital that you include this protein in your daily diet. Because collagen is mainly found in the bones of chicken, beef, and fish, it takes a little creativity to extract the protein so you can consume it. Our favorite way to get at this health-boosting protein is to make bone broth.

This recipe uses beef and chicken feet, which are optional, but make the broth more gelatinous; however, you can use beef, chicken, or fish bones, or any combination of the three. The key is to let the broth simmer for an extended length of time, at least 24 hours if you’re using beef bones. This allows all of the marrow and collagen to come out of the bones and into the broth.

What You Need:

  • 3 lbs beef marrow bones
  • 2 chicken feet (optional)
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • Enough water to cover

What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spread beef bones out on a baking sheet. Once oven is preheated, roast bones for 30 minutes.
  2. Put carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves on the bottom of a slow cooker and place the roasted bones and chicken feet on top.
  3. Pour apple cider vinegar over the bones and chicken feet and then fill up the slower cooker with just enough water to completely cover the bones.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on low and let simmer for 24-48 hours.
  5. After 24-48 hours, allow to cool and then strain out the solids. Reserve liquid in a separate container and allow to cool.
  6. Store finished bone broth in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
apple crisp

Healthy Recipe: Paleo Apple Crisp

When we hear the word “November”, the first things that come to mind, of course, are Thanksgiving and gratitude, but we also can’t help but think of all the flavors of the fall, like apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin. When you’re trying to lose weight, a lot of the things that incorporate these flavors tend to be “off limits”. We don’t want anyone bummed out during holiday celebrations, so we always do our best to find ways to take traditional treats, like apple crisp, and make them healthier without sacrificing anything in the flavor department.

Unlike other recipes, this apple crisp contains no white flour, no white sugar, and no trans fats. Of course, it’s still considered a treat, but with apples and healthy fats from the nuts, it’s a treat that you can feel good about.

What You Need:

  • 6 large apples (we recommend Empire, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp – or a mix of all three! – but you can use whatever you like/have)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of honey (we recommend using raw, local honey, if you can)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup crushed pecans

What to Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel, core, and slice apples. Combine nutmeg and cinnamon, and then toss spice mixture in a mixing bowl with slice apples, lemon juice, and honey.
  3. Once apples are evenly coated, transfer apple mixture to a 9 x 9 glass baking pan.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in almond flour and crushed peach. Place crumb mixture on top of apples.
  5. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, and then continue baking for another 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

pumpkin pie smoothie

Healthy Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

As we write this article, we know we’re going to have two different responses. The first will be “don’t you DARE start talking about pumpkin yet, it’s still summer!” The second will be “YES! BRING ON ALL THE PSLs!” Whether you decide to enjoy this recipe right away, or you refuse to go near it until the official start of fall (which is September 22nd, by the way), we can guarantee this: you’re really going to enjoy this smoothie. So print it out, bookmark it for later, or just dive right in. Anyway you roll is cool with us!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe

Not only is this smoothie super simple to throw together, it’s extremely filling due to the high protein content of the Greek yogurt (you can even add in a scoop of your favorite protein powder, if you’d like). It also offers all of the benefits of pumpkin: it’s rich in fiber and high in antioxidants. Just make sure you’re using pureed pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling, which is full of sugar and other unwanted additives.

What You Need:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt (plain)
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 Medjool date (soaked)
  • 1 cup ice (optional)

What to Do:

  1. Throw all ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!

(if you want the smoothie a little thicker, add some ice cubes until it reaches desired consistency.)

cosmo

New Year’s Eve Hack: Skinny Cocktails to Keep Your Calories in Check

When we think of New Year’s Eve, we imagine glitz and glam, midnight kisses, and the promise of new beginnings. We also imagine cocktails — sometimes too many cocktails — somewhere in the mix. Unfortunately, many of these fancy cocktails are full of sugar and empty calories that not only directly contribute to an expanding waistline, but make you more likely to overindulge on all the hor d’oeuvres and sweet treats lying around.

We don’t want to take away your New Year’s Eve cocktails, so instead, we’ve figured out a way to turn your favorites into waistline friendly skinny cocktails that you can enjoy (in moderation, of course) without the guilt.

Skinny Cosmo

(approximately 200 calories)

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce club soda
  • 1 splash cranberry juice
  • Juice from 1 lime wedge

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.

Skinny Mojito

(approximately 150 calories)

  • 6 lime wedges
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ tsp agave nectar
  • 2 ounces rum
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • 1 cup ice

Place lime wedges and mint leaves into a cocktail shaker. Muddle until broken down and fragrant. Put in remaining ingredients and stir until chilled. Pour into a glass and garnish with lime and mint, if desired.

skinny mojito

Skinny Sangria

(approximately 175 calories per serving – makes 16 servings)

  • 3 apples
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 pound red grapes, halved
  • 3 bottles of Spanish (or Rioja) red wine
  • 1 can diet lemon lime soda
  • 1 can club soda

Cut apples and oranges into thin slices. Combine apples and oranges in a pitcher with grapes. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Chill mixture until ready to serve. Serve over ice.

skinny sangria

Skinny Margarita

(Approximately 150 calories)

  • 1.5 ounces tequila
  • 1 fresh lime
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • 2 slices orange
  • Splash of triple sec
  • Splash of orange juice
  • Splash of soda water

Pour tequila in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Squeeze lime, lemon, and 1 slice of orange into tequila. Add triple sec and pomegranate juice. Shake for 20 seconds. Pour over ice into a salt-rimmed glass and add splash of soda water to the top. Garnish with remaining orange slice.

skinny margarita

Skinny Spritzer

(approximately 120 calories)

  • ¼ cup blueberry juice
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup champagne
  • 2 tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup ice

Combine blueberry, pomegranate, and lime juice in a glass. Mix well. Fill another glass with ice cubes and pour juice mixture over ice. Add champagne and garnish with blueberries.

skinny spritzer

 

 

 

turmeric

Healthy Recipe: Golden Milk (Haldi Ka Doodh)

Last week, we talked about turmeric and the potent health benefits associated with this powerful spice. While you could easily add the spice to savory dishes and soups, we wanted to help you think outside the box a little bit by introducing you to Golden Milk.

Golden Milk, traditionally known as Haldi Ka Doodh, dates back thousands of years with roots in the ancient branch of medicine called Ayurveda. According to Ayurvedic medicine, in addition to the benefits we discussed last week, the components of Golden Milk help support a healthy inflammatory response in the body, balance emotions, and support mental clarity. Traditionally, Golden Milk is consumed right before bedtime, but you can enjoy this simple and delicious “tea” at any time of the day.

What You Need:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey

What to Do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender until completely smooth.
  2. Transfer into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until heated, but not boiling.
  3. Pour into a mug, sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy!
chia strawberry jam

Healthy Recipe: Strawberry Chia Jam

Even if you’re not a fan of the intense heat of the summer, I think there’s one thing that we can all agree on – the abundance of berries is a definite plus. During the summer, berries are readily available, less expensive, and sweeter than at other times of the year. If you’re like me and like to buy berries in bulk, you may be wondering what to do with all of them. Smoothies are always an option, but sometimes it’s fun to get a little more creative than that. Many people choose to make jam with fresh berries, but traditional jam is loaded with refined sugar and pectin – two ingredients that turn your healthy berries into a not-so-healthy treat.

Strawberry Chia Jam

The solution? This strawberry chia seed jam. It’s made with only two ingredients – berries and chia seeds. Really, that’s it! You can add some raw honey, if you want, but if you’re really watching your waistline, leave it out and you’ll be left with a perfectly delicious fresh jam without any of the guilt.

But it’s not just about what’s NOT in this jam, it’s about what IS in it. In addition to strawberries, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s also loaded with chia seeds, which the Aztecs referred to as a super food. In short, chia seeds are about 30% protein and contain essential fatty acids that your body can’t make on its own. They’re also rich in vitamins A, B, D, E, and K and a good source of calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, thiamine, and zinc. For a more in-depth discussion of chia seeds, check out our earlier blog post here. For the super simple strawberry chia seed jam recipe, keep reading.

What You Need:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries (or mixed berries of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw honey (optional)

What To Do:

  1. Heat up fruit (and honey if you’re using it) over medium heat in a saucepan. Stir occasionally and mash with a spoon or fork until the fruit starts bubbling and boiling. Keep stirring and mashing until it looks like a chunky fruit puree. At this point, stick an immersion blender into the mixture and blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer to a regular blender and puree or just keep mashing with a fork until mixture is smooth.
  2. Add chia seeds and stir until combined. Stir over the heat for another minute and then remove from heat and allow to cool. If after 10-15 minutes, your mixture still seems liquid-y, add another teaspoon of chia seeds. Keep in mind, the mixture will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator and use as you would any other jam!