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Two Tips to Begin a Balanced Holiday Season!

I love this time of year! The leaves are changing and the weather is getting cooler. This is also a time for family gatherings, good food and Halloween… yes, the holidays have begun! The hardest part about the next three months is that you may find yourself wanting to stay in bed or curl up by the fire to get cozy, which can mean comfort foods too!

This holiday season doesn’t have to be the typical downward spiral of bad eating because the weather has changed. Let me share two tips that have helped me enjoy the holidays while maintaining a healthy and nutritional balance!

1. Allow yourself to have some fun!

One thing I always do is give myself a day off each weekend to have those cozy, high fat, high carb comfort foods without guilt! Allow yourself those indulgences now and then so that you don’t drive yourself to binge eat every chance you see them at a party or at a restaurant. Maybe make Sundays your ooey-gooey heavy turkey, mashed potato, yam, bread and butter day. Don’t starve yourself leading up to the meal but eat lighter throughout the day to keep your metabolism burning and then enjoy each and every bite of that meal! Allow yourself this one day to let go!

2. Set a goal to be responsible!  

The key to this indulgence day is to get right back on track THE NEXT DAY!! This is key to your success! If you allow your one crash day to turn into five, your mindset of good eating and fitness could lose momentum. Be careful, it is a slippery slope!

I personally challenge myself to do better throughout this tough season! I like to take September and October to cleanse my body of unwanted sugar, caffeine, and alcohol from the summer months and get myself in top shape before the holidays begin. Then, once the holidays start, my goal is to maintain and indulge lightly. I try to make a goal, make a plan to reach that goal, and do my best to stick to it. I challenge all of you to do the same!

What is your goal for the next three months? How will you reach that goal? How will you get through the parties and the candy and baked goods everywhere around you? Will you allow one day a week to indulge? Write it down and share it with me in a comment below, as well as a friend or your spouse- whoever you can to help you stay accountable.

I wish you all a very wonderful holiday season!  Stay healthy, be moderate in all things, and remember to have gratitude for what you do have!

Here is a fun recipe I use often during these fall/winter months. I hope you enjoy it!

Lentil, Ham & Bean Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 cup dried lentils

1/2 cup chopped carrot

2 bay leaves

3 cups chopped Swiss chard, collard greens, or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped baking potato

1 cup chopped smoked ham (low sodium)

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, lentils, carrot, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add Swiss chard, potato, and ham; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper; simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.

 
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