“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” but not if you are trying to eat clean and battle the bulge! But I am trying to change my thinking and actions to make it all possible. This is the first year we are internationally not going back to our hometown for the holidays. It is bittersweet but an opportunity to prioritize some traditions and add new ones!
I find we are adding more activities that aren’t based around food which I love! Where we used to drive around and check out lights, we have started to walk the journey when time (and weather!) allows. We went to the Fire Station for an open house to explore all things firefighting and then Santa shows up on a fire truck. They also allow kids to test out the fire hoses. Minds blown! We are caroling and sure there might be hot cocoa and cookies, but also walking and an activity that doesn’t make it so easy to eat! We are prioritizing a health dinner before these activities so we aren’t hangry grabbing anything afterwards that is likely unhealthy and not produce-centric. Mike Barbiglia, a super funny comedian said in his latest special, “Healthy food goes to bed early,” where, “Pizza stays up all night.”
We are also rethinking our menus for the holidays. Working backwards, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day we have a ton of good luck foods we check off. Luckily many of them are produce or things like legumes and beans. Who doesn’t love the 12 grapes signifying each month, Texas caviar, greens or cabbage and oranges and pomegranates? For Christmas, we are hosting a more formal dinner with favorites like lamb and baked brie but also looking at new dishes like rosemary roasted potatoes, parmesan oven roasted asparagus, and melted onions. Plus the vegetarians among us will have grilled portabellas stuffed with quinoa. I also love the idea of roasted sweet potato circles in place of crackers for apps! Christmas morning will feature my grandmother’s stinky buns but also shakshuka with a ton of yummy veggies as well as a big beautiful fruit salad.
I am a big believer in moderation so we are also drinking less and savoring it when we do. One really good rye Manhattan is just so satisfying and if I make mulled wine with cheap wine, the house smells just as good but I won’t drink it – or much of it!
Regardless of how you celebrate which holiday during this festive month, I wish everyone a happy and healthful December and 2024!