Category: Healthy Holiday Series

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Steal My Thanksgiving Menu

If you missed any of the Healthy Holiday Series you can read them here:

5 Simple Steps To Avoid Halloween Weight Gain

Holiday Treat Tip

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and since you’ll probably be planning your dinner menu in the next few days, I thought I’d share with you my Thanksgiving menu.

First, let's hash out my philosophy when it comes to holidays.

I firmly believe that celebrating holidays is important. I personally don't want to live a life where I am tracking and weighing out my Thanksgiving meal. Remember that what you do 90% of the time is more important than what you do the other 10% of the time.

However, I also want you to understand that your Thanksgiving meal is just that – a meal. Or at most a single day.  Celebrate the holiday, but don’t let that celebration turn the whole week or weekend into a caloric free-for-all.

I believe the most important thing is to go in with a plan that you’ll be happy with at the end of the day. So, take a breath, make a plan, and enjoy Thanksgiving!

When I am creating my Thanksgiving menu I like to balance traditional favorites with some lighter foods. So not all of these recipes would be deemed “healthy”, but that's what we call balance.

I am all about easy dishes that can be prepped ahead of time and this Slow Cooker Spinach & Artichoke Dip fits the bill precisely.
You either love 'em or hate 'em but I personally adore Deviled Eggs. Again, these are a make ahead appetizer I can just bring out and share while the turkey is cooking.
Apple butter, honey, pecans and brie is the perfect fall combination These Brie, Apple & Honey Crostinis are quick but a little more elegant than my other two appetizers. Definitely a show stopper!


The Good Eats Roasted Turkey is my GO-TO turkey recipe. Hasn't failed me yet! You do have to brine your turkey which means you have to plan ahead a bit, but it's totally worth it
I made these Velvety Mashed Potatoes last year and they were perfection. Here's a trick: Cook your potatoes early in the day and keep them warm inside a crockpot until you serve your Thanksgiving meal.
This is also the Cranberry Sauce I made last year and I made a note to definitely repeat it. You can make this recipe a week ahead of time, freeze it, and thaw it on Thanksgiving day. I did that last week and no one knew the difference!
I have made these Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes for probably 7 years in a row. I originally pulled the recipe out of a Cooking Light magazine years ago, but I found it online for you! I love that they are sweet without being crazy with the marshmallows and brown sugar.
My MIL made this Classic Sage And Sausage Stuffing last year and I immediately snagged the recipe because it was so good.
I am on a HUGE goat cheese kick so this Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears, Candied Pecans and Maple-Balsamic Dressing spoke right too me. If you haven't ever candied pecans before it's super easy and it really turns a salad into one that fit for a holiday table.
This is the Roll recipe I have used for years and years. It's light and fluffy and most importantly, hard to screw up. I don't roll them in crescents, instead I prefer an ordinary round roll.
I love Green Bean Casserole, but I like to use fresh green beans and no canned cream of mushroom soup and this recipe fits the bill. I simply substitute out the canned green beans for freshly steamed ones.

I made this Sparking Cider last year and it was a huge hit so I'm making it again this year.


I've made this Key Lime White Chocolate Cheesecake for 3 years and it's requested every year. If you aren't a big cheesecake fan, don't let the name fool you. This isn't really cheesecake, it's similar to key lime pie but, like, 400X better.
I am trying out this Banoffee Pie this year – I mean how can you go wrong with toffee, a cookie crust (I'm not a big fan of pastry) and dulce de leche?
This Chocolate Silk Pie shows up every Thanksgiving because it is THAT GOOD. There is nothing healthy about this pie, which is why we keep it as a special yearly Thanksgiving tradition.
To counteract the heavy chocolate in the other pies I'm also do Magnolia Lemon Pie for something a little lighter tasting.
That's it! That's my Thanksgiving menu! Steal anything you would like – hopefully this will make your Thanksgiving planning a little easier! If you want to read a blog post I wrote about how to avoid weight gain over Thanksgiving click here.

Holiday Treat Tip


This is post #2 of the Healthy Holiday Series.

Read post #1: 5 Simple Steps To Avoid Halloween Weight Gain here.

Holiday nutrition is all about BALANCE. You know that word that you hate hearing because it’s not precise or exact?

The truth is that balance looks different for everyone and part of being successful is knowing where you fall on the “how hard I am on myself” continuum.



If you are someone who consistently finds yourself saying “oh it’s the holidays and this candy cane is totally worth it” every darn day of the month of December, you likely fall towards the side of being too easy on yourself.

Yes, living life is important. Yes, celebrating the holidays is important. And yes, I would even argue that eating your most favorite holiday foods is important. But, that doesn’t mean that every single day you should be making an exception for the indulgence that is currently in front of you and then wondering why you don’t get the results you want.

On the flip side, if you are someone who really restricts yourself and gets hives just thinking about drinking a full-fat cup of hot chocolate after caroling even though it’s one of your favorite traditions from your childhood, you may need to recognize that balance means living a little. It doesn’t mean eating every single cookie offered to you, but it also doesn’t mean passing on your yearly favorites that bring you joy.

To me, balance really means consciously indulging. That means eating foods that are worth it, and skipping those that aren’t.

As you are thinking about whether you will eat another cookie off the plate your neighbors dropped off think, “Do I really want this? Is it really worth the calories?”

If the answer is yes, eat it mindfully and savor every last bite.
If the answer is no, be ok passing on it recognizing that you can have any food that you want – you are just choosing the foods that actually matter the most to you.

The moral: say NO to the treats you really don’t love so you can say YES to the ones you do.




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5 Simple Tips To Prevent Halloween Weight Gain

Welcome to post #1 of the Healthy Holiday Series.

Today we start with Halloween and 5 simple tips to prevent Halloween Weight Gain.

I am going to be honest and say I don't love Halloween.

I know, momma scrooge over here.

I mean, as a mom Halloween is kinda a pain because I have to find costumes for all four kids AND myself and my husband.  But my kids love the holiday, so I try to get psyched up for it and at least enjoy seeing their excitement.

Do you also feel like Halloween kicks off the “holiday season”? I feel like the “holidays” start October 31st and end January 1st. And for most people that time period equals a yearly gain of 10-15 lbs. If you are someone who doesn't want to repeat that cycle this year here's my 5 simple tips for Halloween:

1. If you struggle with moderation, buy candy that you don’t love. For me, that means not buying Reese’s Cups or 100 Grand bars since I could easily eat a whole bag. Pick candy for trick-or-treaters that won’t tempt you to partake. For most people, that means staying away from chocolate and sticking to sour or gummy candy, which you are less likely to overeat, but you may be different! This year I stuck with Tootsie Roll Pops because those don't tempt me in the slightest.

2. Choose your favorite candy and savor the heck out of it. Many people struggle because they label candy “bad” or “off limits”. When you do that your natural reaction is going to be to rebel and once you eat one candy there is often no stopping. Instead, give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite candy. Pick the time of day when you most relish the sweet stuff and save your special treat for that time. Then sit back and slowly savor the taste sensation. Enjoy it guilt-free and recognize that what you do 90% of the time matter a heckuva lot more than what you do 10% of the time.

3. Keep it where you can’t get it. Studies show that when candy is harder to access, you’re less likely to eat it. Put it out of sight and out of reach so when you are eating it (see tip 2!) it's a very conscious decision and you are enjoying it rather than mindlessly munching.

4. Count the empty wrappers. It's so easy to pop fun-size candy bars into your mouth that you can quickly lose track of how it's adding up. Count the wrappers and track every piece of candy you ate, even if it is more than you wish you ate. It's important to hold yourself accountable, so if you ate it—track it.

5. Just get it out of the house! You know yourself best, so if you know the candy will be an irresistible temptation, get rid of it. I have thrown away candy or donated it to a teacher. I also like to freeze Halloween candy. I currently have a bag in the freezer that has been there since last Halloween that I will probably pass out this year. Trust me, candy can last a loooooooong time in the freezer and it means if I actually want a piece I have to take it out, let it defrost and then eat it – which honestly isn't usually worth it.

Happy Halloween!

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