Trying to stick to a “diet” during the holidays can be very challenging. If I’m in strict preparation for a fitness competition, I stay focused on my ultimate goal and do not stray from my meal regimen even when faced with the sweets and feasts of the holiday season. However, if I’m in my “off-season” but want to maintain a fairly healthy and clean diet, there are a few basic concepts that I keep in mind when making decisions on what and how much to eat during special holiday occasions.
1)Be mindful of portion size. When sitting down for a holiday dinner, I think it’s fine to have a bit of turkey or ham, a bit of mashed potatoes, and a bit of the pie. The emphasis is on the word BIT. As long as you’ve maintained clean eating habits throughout the year, it’s OK to enjoy a few tasty treats on a special occasion. Just keep the portions small.
2)Don’t offend the host. Most of my family and friends are understanding of my fitness goals, so I generally do not have to worry too much about offending the cook when I say “No” to another helping of stuffing. But if someone seems to be slighted by my initial refusal , I simply explain that I am used to eating small portions several times throughout the day. So my stomach has “shrunk” and I can’t eat a lot a one time. Usually, the most I have to do at that point is accept a “take-home box” that the host prepares for me.
3)When cooking a feast, find healthy alternatives to traditional holiday favorites. I think it’s fun to look for ways to making typical holiday menus more healthy. Do an internet search of a conventional dishes, but add “healthy” or “low-sugar” or “low-fat” to the keywords in your search. There are a lot of recipes out there. Soon you’ll get used to preparing meals in a more healthful way and you can start creating your own delicious fitness-minded recipes.
Here is an apple cobbler recipe I developed to maintain my clean eating habits while enjoying a delicious dessert! Gluten-free, dairy-free, and low sugar. But remember to watch your portion size. Enjoy!
GUILTLESS APPLE COBBLER
4 medium baking apples peeled and sliced thin
1 cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp brown rice flour
6 tbsp granulated Splenda (or 4 ½ tsp Stevia extract powder)
½ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
½ tsp white vinegar
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp Splenda (or ¾ tsp Stevia extract powder)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix white vinegar with almond milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
Stir the fruit filling ingredients together in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until apples are soft and mixture is thickened (about 10 minutes). Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.
Prepare the biscuit dough by combining brown rice flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add oil and stir. Add the Splenda (or Stevia) and the almond milk/vinegar mix. Stir with a fork until the flour mixture is moist.
Drop the biscuit dough, tablespoon by tablespoon, on top of the apples. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm.