It’s mid-November and we’re starting the downward slide into holiday eating. This time of year is really like an all-you-can-eat buffet. We kick off with the candy of Halloween, crash into the eating frenzy that is Thanksgiving, run full-tilt through Chanukah and Christmas (Latkes! Seven fishes! Candy canes! Oh my!) Then we cap it off with a champagne-fueled party at New Year’s Eve. Is it any wonder that one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight?
When faced with a long buffet table, it’s important to make thoughtful choices so you eat what you want, including healthy choices and a small amount of treats. This time of year requires the same amount of thoughtfulness. And if you plan and prepare, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday treats you really like, without having to make a New Year’s resolution to lose the 10 pounds you accumulated during the holidays.
Take a minute to review our last entry on goal setting and strategy. Using index cards, write your goal, and your specific steps to get there. Read these daily.
Now, let’s talk turkey. Thanksgiving challenges us with both the amount of food and array of choices. The key is to be super-mindful and to choose only those foods that are really worth eating.
By that I mean, which foods do you look forward to all year, that you wouldn’t normally have at home? Maybe it’s cousin Sue’s stuffing, or Aunt Lucille’s sweet potatoes, or Uncle Lou’s pumpkin pie. Whatever it is, build your day’s eating plan around that. Assure yourself that you’ll have a sensible portion so that you don’t feel deprived. Then make the rest of your choices based on that.
I’m taking a wild guess that your treat foods are not steamed vegetables. So be sure to eat plenty of healthy vegetables to balance it out. Drink plenty of water. And don’t buy into the whole “eating until you burst” mentality. Eat until you’re satisfied.
Here are two easy and healthy side dishes that taste delicious, but don’t undo all of your hard work. Offer to bring them if you visit family on Thanksgiving, and they’ll be even more thankful for you!
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled and can be made a day ahead. Reheat in the microwave or a 350′ oven.
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
zest and juice of 1 large navel orange
Add sweet potato cubes to a large stock pot with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well, add to a large bowl and mash.
Stir in the orange zest and juice. If desired, season with a little salt & pepper, but, honestly, it won’t need it.
Recipe adapted from Everyday is a Party Cookbook, by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, published by William Morrow, 1999
- Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool completely.