From Pumpkins To Pomegranates...Easy Tips To Keep Your Thanksgiving Healthy

(It can be done, I promise!)
Thanksgiving is a special time of the year that brings family together.  It is synonymous with good food, cherished memories and gratitude.  While this holiday usually brings with it an abundance of wonderful homemade foods, there are easy ways to avoid a calorie overload.  The full holiday season is about 6 weeks long, so every little bit of discipline helps.  You will be thankful for your good choices and positive mindset January 2nd, 2016!  The key to a healthy holiday season is finding a balance without feeling deprived.  Here are some easy tips for keeping your Thanksgiving and holiday season healthy but still enjoyable:

1. Modify your favorite recipes with simple substitutions.
-Cook seasoning vegetables in low sodium chicken or vegetable broth.  1 stick of butter or margarine is 810 calories and 91 grams of fat, not to mention the 58 grams of saturated fat in the butter and the unhealthy trans fatty acids in the margarine.  The equivalent serving of chicken broth (1/2 cup) is just 8 calories.  What a calorie savings!
-Substitute unsweetened applesauce for oil or margarine in dessert recipes.  This is a great option to decrease calories and fat without sacrificing flavor.  The key is to decrease baking time when cutting the fat.  
-If a recipe calls for condensed milk, use Nestle La Lechera Sweetened Condensed Milk with 50% Less Sugar in place of Eagle Brand Borden Fat Free Condensed Milk.  La Lechera has about ½ the calories and sugar of the Eagle Brand Fat Free.

2.  Start your holiday off in control with easy-to-follow guidelines.
-Eat a good breakfast.  It is so important to fuel your body with a healthy breakfast to avoid overindulging later.  Examples: nonfat Greek yogurt w/fresh fruit and nuts; oatmeal made w/milk and topped with cinnamon, fruit and nuts and sunny side up egg on toast with guacamole or Canadian bacon.
-Bring a healthy dish or two to your gathering, preferably a healthy salad or vegetable dish.
-Fill most of your plate with turkey, vegetables and salad.
-If you don’t love it, don’t eat it!  Use your calories wisely on the special dishes that you really enjoy and do not get to eat often.
-Make sure it is a healthy splurge and not a binge.  A splurge will not break the calorie bank like a binge can.  Also, it is easier to keep a positive mindset through the holidays when you do not overeat.
-NEVER go back for second helpings unless you have waited 20 minutes.  It takes 20 minutes for your brain to send the message to your body that you are full.  A lot of times, once the 20 minutes has passed, you realize that you do not want seconds.

Keep you weight and mindset in check this holiday season with the above tips and guidelines.  The only thing that should be truly stuffed is the turkey!

Spinach, Pomegranate and Pear Salad with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (serves 6)
8 cups baby spinach (or kale)
1 ripe pear, cubed
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup blue cheese (or goat cheese)
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 fresh ground pepper
In a large bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.  Add the remaining salad ingredients and gently toss.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 Tablespoon olive oil 
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cubed squash and Brussels sprouts on a foil lined baking sheet.  In a small bowl, whisk oil, vinegar and brown sugar together.  Drizzle over vegetables and toss to evenly coast.  Roast for 45 minutes or until tender and nicely browned.

Pumpkin Pie
1 15oz can all-natural pumpkin puree
1 14oz can La Lechera Sweetened Condensed Milk with 50% Less Sugar
2 whole eggs +2 egg whites
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust or 1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk all ingredients together and pour into crust.  Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.  

Diets Don't Work!

If we put as much time and energy into our long-term weight management goals as we do into “quick-fix, fad diets” we would all be successful!

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