Ah, the holidays.
When tackling the endless supply of stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes it can be hard to navigate which dishes are good for you, even as a dietitian! Don't get overwhelmed! Take the focus off food and try to enjoy your time with family. If you are interested in losing or maintaining your weight, the best thing you can do is have a strategy and plan!
My holiday routine:
On holidays, I always try to eat at least one meal that is really healthy, like a green smoothie for breakfast. I also try to get some form of exercise in before helping out in the kitchen! I love signing up for local Turkey Trot's or running my own 5k in my neighborhood and then follow up with a healthy post-workout snack like an RX bar. By starting my day with a healthy breakfast and working out, I can feel good, enjoy time with my family, and eat whatever I want and not apologize for it!
My number 1 tip:
try to eat your vegetable sides and, try to eat them first!
My clients find it easiest to get their vegetables in when they eat them first! This is so they wont quickly fill up on the unhealthy stuff and forget to leave room. Why should you do this? Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber - a WINNING combination for weight maintenance, blood sugar control, and overall health! So before diving into your roasted turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato pie, try to fill up on 1-2 servings of vegetables - with either plant-based appetizers or small salad. Veggie platter anyone!?
When it comes to dinner time, it will be tough to make "half of your plate" vegetables if there are no (actual) vegetables offered. If you're in charge of making something, consider bringing a healthy, non-starchy vegetable option like this Harvest Quinoa Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette side dish or Sweet Potato Pesto Crostini as an appetizer! Both of these recipes are high protein, high fiber, and plant-based dishes that would be great to start your holiday dinner with or pair alongside your turkey! My recommendation is to get 3 different colored vegetables on your plate (making up at least 1/2 your plate) and enjoy the other traditional Thanksgiving essentials alongside!
Now, when it comes to desserts, enjoy them but don't go overboard! There will likely be an endless display of cookies, cakes, pie and ice cream at the party. Try them and enjoy it, its okay! Just watch out for your portion sizes. Try to keep dessert to small samplings or you can whip up my No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecakes (made with almond milk cream cheese and coconut whip topping) which are nothing short of amazing and packed with, you guessed it, another vegetable :)
Harvest Quinoa Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
- Chop up butternut squash into small cubes and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
- While butternut squash is cooking, prepare vinaigrette: Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Place kale in large bowl and add 1-2 T. of vinaigrette. With clean (or gloved) hands, massage kale until well combined (1-2 minutes).
- To the kale/dressing mixture, add: (cooled) cooked quinoa, green onion, apple, dried cranberries, and toss until well combined. Just prior to serving toss butternut squash and toasted almonds and pepitas into the salad. Reboot and Enjoy!
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1 cup cubed and roasted butternut squash
- 1 honey crisp apple, diced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby kale, chopped and messaged
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries (optional)
- 2 T. toasted, slivered almonds or pecans
- 2 T. pumpkin seed (raw unsalted)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 2 T. minced shallot
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 1 T. pure maple syrup
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Sweet Potato Pesto Crostini
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
- Peel sweet potatoes and slice 1/4 inch thick using either a mandolin or sharp knife.
- In a bowl, toss together the sweet potato slices with extra virgin olive oil (just enough to coat), sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Spread evenly on an oil sprayed baking sheet. You want them in a single layer without overlap so that they crisp up evenly, you may have to divide them between two baking sheets.
- Roast for 15 minutes, then flip and roast for another 15 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- While sweet potato chips are roasting, prepare the white bean hummus. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 can cannellini (drained and rinsed) beans with 1/4 cup water, 1/8th tsp cumin, 1/8th tsp, smoked paprika, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 lemon juiced, 1/2 T. nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, put into a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same blender or food processor, make the pesto. Combine 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup basil, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 lemon juiced, 3 tbsp evoo, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1 T. nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
- Once the sweet potato chips are done, remove from oven and allow them to cool. Next, spread a Tbsp dollop of white bean hummus onto the chip. Then add a smaller dollop of fresh pesto, 1/4 sliced cherry tomato and garnish with fresh microgreens on top! Reboot and enjoy!
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1/8th tsp cumin
- 1/8th tsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 T. nutritional yeast
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Microgreens for garnish (optional)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Divide the graham cracker crumbs evenly among 12 shot glass size cups or 4, 8oz. size cups, with about 1/2 tbsp crumbs in each. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Beat on low speed until smooth.
- Fold in whipped coconut topping.
- Divide the mixture among the glasses.
- Cover and refrigerate for at last 1 hour.
- When the cheesecakes are set, top each with a dollop of whipped topping and divide toasted pecans evening on top! Reboot and enjoy!
- 2 graham crackers, preferably whole grain, crushed into crumbs
- 8 oz block of greek cream cheese or to make dairy free/vegan: Kite Hill cheese almond milk cream cheese
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 T. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 2 cups coconut whip cream (plus extra for garnish) (I get this from Whole foods or Trader Joe's)
XO - ROOTS REBOOT
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