Tips and Recipes for a Healthy Holiday Season

December 21, 2018 | Aya Wellness

With holiday season in full swing, you may be attending more dinner parties and pot-lucks than usual. And it’s hard to make healthy choices when there are so many delicious treats around. Our nutritionist, Amy, shares her tips for eating smart at this time of year. Below are a few of her tips and recipe recommendations.

Healthy Eating Tips

1. Don’t arrive to a dinner party or potluck starving – eat the same amount of food throughout the day that would normally eat. If you arrive at the party starving, your willpower to make healthy decisions will be lower.
2. Bring a healthy option to the party. (Recipes below!)
3. Start with smaller portions. You can always go back for more…
4. Don’t forget to drink water and stay hydrated.
5. Define goals every Sunday will set your week up for success. You may want to try and get to bed at a certain time or you work out at least four times a week. Your goals should be challenging and measurable.

Raw Kale and Arugula Salad

Dressing Ingredients
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon shallot, finely minced 3 teaspoon honey
fine sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Salad Ingredients
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
2 bunches kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups baby arugula
2 cup jicama (or cucumber), cut into 1⁄4 inch matchsticks
2/3 cup shaved Gruyere cheese (or parmesan)

1. Place almonds in a heavy, ungreased skillet. Stir often over medium heat until golden brown. About 8-10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil & vinegar. Mix in the shallots and honey. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the kale, jicama and almonds. Toss until well combined; careful not to break the jicama matchsticks. Sprinkle the shaved Gruyere and serve immediately.

Rosemary Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup shredded organic parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.
2. Place Brussels sprouts in a mixing bowl and toss with coconut oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Spread Brussels sprouts onto the baking sheet and roast for about 30* minutes or until crisp on the outside and fork-tender. Make sure to toss the Brussels sprouts two times during the cooking process.

* if you use small Brussels sprouts only cook for 20 minutes.

3. 5 minutes before the Brussels sprouts are done cooking, sprinkle with pine nuts. Stir and continue roasting until tender.
4. Add parmesan and toss right before serving.

Goat Cheese & Chive Almond-Flour Biscuits

5 cups of almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons buttermilk
4 eggs
4 tablespoons chives, finely chopped 4 tablespoons goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk almond flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, melted butter and buttermilk. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir just until incorporated.
4. Fold in chives until incorporated.
5. Break apart chunks of goat cheese on top of the dough. Carefully fold them in, making sure to keep the chunks of goat cheese intact.
6. Using a spoon, drop medium-size mounds of biscuit dough on the parchment paper, leaving a few inches between each biscuit.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Note: These can easily be reheated by throwing them in a toaster oven or regular oven before serving. They will harden if you microwave them.

Lemon Roasted Green Beans

4 Tablespoon organic coconut oil, melted
4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
4lb green beans, ends removed
3 lemons, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Clean and trim green beans
3. Place greens in a baking dishes
4. Drizzle with melted coconut oil
5. Sprinkle with rosemary, sage, salt and pepper
6. Top with lemon slices and mix to ensure the green beans are coated in oil and spices
7. Roast at 400 for 30-35 minutes, or until the green beans are crispy
8. Stir green beans halfway through the cooking

Smoky Candied Bacon Sweet Potatoes

3 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
6 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cut the sweet potatoes into even 1-inch cubes. Toss them with the bacon, pecans, maple syrup, chili powder, salt, cinnamon and cayenne in a bowl. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
3. Roast for 20 minutes. Stir and continue roasting for 15 minutes, or until tender. Turn the oven to broil and brown the potatoes for an additional 5 minutes. Watch the nuts closely and pull the baking sheets out early if they begin to burn. Serve.

Recipe from Against All Grain ‘Celebration’ Cookbook

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Aya Healthcare - Mashed Cauliflower
A bowl of mashed cauliflower with melted butter

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads cauliflower, trimmed into florets
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons melted butter or ghee
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh thyme for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Put the garlic in a small heatproof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Cover and roast for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. While the garlic is roasting, put the cauliflower in a saucepan with ½ inch of water/cover and steam over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well and transfer the cauliflower to a food processor.
4. Squeeze the papery garlic skins to release the cloves. Discard the garlic skin. Add the garlic to the food processor along with the stock, butter, salt and pepper. Process until smooth and fluffy. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the pepper and thyme, serve warm.

Recipe from Against All Grain ‘Celebrations’ Cookbook

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