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Have a Happy Thanksgiving…And a Healthy Leftovers Week!

Thanksgiving is one week away and most people are looking forward to indulging in all of the richest foods of the season. There are a slight few who might be concerned about the inevitable weight gain that happens over the holidays.  Welp, I don’t have an easy solution for you because I’m most likely going to eat some stuff that will cause me to acquire a pound or two. However, I do not plan to turn Thanksgiving Day into Thanksgiving Week so I do have a solution to minimize the impact of “leftover calorie-pocalypse”.

Three dishes that are of the most popular and calorific are: Dressing (aka stuffing), Macaroni & Cheese, and Candied Yams. I’ve lightened these dishes up and created a tasty & healthy substitute that combined with baked turkey and my greens recipe, will lessen the weight gain impact. 

So, here we have Quinoa “dressing”, Mac & Cheese, and Sweetened Yams. I realize that the three of these together are still a carb explosion so….maybe eat one at a time.

First up, Mac & Cheese. I used gluten free organic brown rice & quinoa pasta…. I know what you’re thinking but when you boil this pasta in chicken broth and add a dash of salt, flavor explosion!

I made a cheese sauce using fat free half & half  slowly melting in shredded cheeses until I reached the desired consistency (approx, 1 cup of each).

Layer pasta with cheese sauce making sure to add cheese/sauce to the top and bake until you get these lovely brown bubbly bits on top….enjoy.

thanksgiving-sides-macncheese1.jpgAccording to Webmd: a 12-ounce serving of Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese has 529 calories, 25.7 grams of fat, and 10.6 grams of saturated fat. This recipe has 215 calories, 27 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 11 g protein, 5 g sugar.

Next up, my version of dressing that has all the same flavors with a fraction of the calories/fat. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions substituting in chicken broth for the water. Saute the seasoning blend until softened and lightly caramelized. 

Combine the above ingredients with these seasonings. I season according to taste so keep adding teaspoons until it tastes like you like it!

When its all mixed together, you have this yumminess. And it tastes just like dressing with a slightly different consistency!

According to USDA data, a single one-cup serving of prepared bread stuffing provides 390 calories, 5 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 134 mg of sodium, and 27 grams of total fat. This version has 82 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of protein, 22 mg of sodium, and 0 grams of sugar!

These yams (sweet potatoes) aren’t “candied” but they are no less delicious. Coconut sugar is far lower on the glycemic index than white or brown sugar. Coconut oil has many health benefits over butter and has been shown to even help burn fat! So I sliced the potatoes, and sprinkled with coconut sugar (to taste) and a tablespoon of coconut oil distributed throughout. 

Season with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of salt. Cover with foil and bake in a  400 degree oven until softened.

I added a dollop of whipped cream to mimic the highly sugary marshmallow topping. 

According to a highly rated recipe for candied yams on Allrecipes.com: 
Per Serving: 397 calories; 7.9 g fat; 79.4 g carbohydrates; 3.7 g protein; 20 mg cholesterol; 179 mg sodium. This recipe has 165 calories, 35 g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 2g protein, 83 mg sodium, 11g sugar. 

All in all, Thanksgiving is a holiday for enjoying food and family. It’s ok to indulge for one day and if you normally eat a healthy diet, one day of extra calories is not going to hurt. The day after however, is no longer Thanksgiving so enjoy my recipes until all the turkey is gone….your body will Thank you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Don’t Invite Me Out to Eat with You: Becoming Socially Physical

I recently came to a realization that my whole social life revolved around food. It’s your birthday? Let’s go out to eat to celebrate! It’s date night. What restaurant should we go to? Hey Friend, we haven’t seen each other in a while….let’s go out to eat. You get the idea and I don’t think I’m alone in this. People all around the world like to gather to break bread and connect because we all have to eat, right?

Well there are lots of things we “have to” do on a daily basis so why did eating become the go to social activity? Physical (upright) movement is not only necessary but is something that many of us don’t do enough. That’s why I’m declaring to all who I’ve dined with in the past to not invite me to eat with you. I can eat at home. Let’s go out to move! There are so many activities that I would enjoy and I thought I’d share a few just in case you too want to be more socially physical.

“House Music Workout” This class was recently recommended to me as a fun group fitness class. I do zumba at my gym all the time but this takes that to the next level. Loud pumping music orchestrated by a live dj while instructors alternate in leading us in fun high energy movements. This workout was an hour and a half but you have so much fun, that you almost forget you’re exercising! Invite your friends so you can all burn together.

house music workout

“Flirty Girl Fitness” I have not done this one yet but have heard only great things about it. From what I hear, it is the ultimate girls night out where you can burn some serious calories while learning some sexy moves. Classes include chair dancing, twerk body boot camp, and pole-dancing fitness. Don’t let the names fool you, some serious upper and lower body stretch is needed to perfect these moves!

Flirty Girl Fitness

“Live Reggae Band” A while ago, my husband and I visited a club that regularly has a live reggae band performing. Being there, we felt like we were back in Jamaica, warm sun shining on our faces with the rhythm bumping in the air. What did we do though? We sat, ate food and listened. Next time, we will hit the dance floor and dutty wine some calories away! Going to live music venues is the perfect opportunity to get out, enjoy some music and dance like no one is watching!

The-Wild-Hare

“Lakefront Bike Riding” One of the benefits of living in a city on one of the great lakes is having an awesome walk/bike path right next to beautiful scenery. I used to do this a lot when I was younger but as life started to happen, I found less time to go out and ride. Not only is it a great family activity but a wonderful way to catch up with friends as we ride, talk and take in some fresh air from the cool breeze flowing off the lake.

Chicago-Lakefront-Trail

“Stair Climb Challenge” Now this one I’m questioning, lol. A friend recommended it as a challenge for herself and invited some friends along to join her. Another advantage (??) of living in a big city is having access to high rise building with lots of stairs. Who ever thought to say “No, I won’t be taking the elevator this time. I’ll take the stairs to the 100th floor instead.” ??? I didn’t think I’d meet that person but apparently she’s been hiding in my own circle of friends! Because I’m on this new journey, I told her I would try. It should be fun as we watch each other cling on to life as we climb crawl higher up.

John Hancock Stair Climb

So that’s how I’m planning to change my social life to my physically active life. Engaging in fun group activities that don’t involve eating is a big step from my norm but I’m excited and ready to move. Is this something you would do? What physical activities will you do with your friends & family?

I’ll keep you updated on how all these go so follow the blog so you don’t miss it!