Clean Eating Holiday Guide: Top 8 Dishes to Enjoy this Year!

November 22, 2016

If you’re an experienced dieter, hopefully you’ve learned: when you find eating guidelines that work for you, stick with them. With dieting, to yo-yo is a no-no.

But starting with Thanksgiving, eating healthy can be a challenge all winter long. So let’s focus on the positive—what can you eat without overstuffing or feeling deprived?

holiday dinner table

Our strategy is to focus on three simple rules of thumb:

  1. Take a less of everything. That way you can taste all your favorites, and try a bit of something new, but there’s no need to tip the scales with full servings of each.

  2. Save sweets and alcohol for the most special occasions. Instead of the cookie tray at work or beers at happy hour, look forward to those treats on your main holidays.

  3. Focus on the holiday standards through the eyes of clean eating. Opt for foods as close to their natural state as possible.

Following are 8 great choices for you to enjoy at your holiday tables:

  • Turkey breast. Skip the skin, and you can eat a generous portion. A 4 oz serving of roast turkey breast meat without skin provides 34 grams of protein, no carbs, less than 1 gram of fat, and only 153 calories. Knowing that, you can totally have seconds. More on turkey here in our last edition of The XSport Life

  • Fresh whole cranberry sauce. This isn’t the canned stuff! It’s actually quite easy to make homemade cranberry sauce just by following the directions on the bag—try squeezing some fresh orange juice in yours, and/or a dab of ginger for added zing.

  • Roast beef. You want it to be lean, trimmed of fat, such as tenderloin. Try a dry rub marinade, then sear it and finished off in the oven to give your filet extra flavor with the extra calories or richness of wine and butter sauces, bacon wraps, etc.

  • Au jus or skimmed gravy. You only need a dab when your plate is filled with good food. For homemade gravy, be sure to skim it of fat. If you don’t baste your turkey with butter you’ll be a step ahead on the skimming. Or try topping your turkey with cranberries!

  • Sweet potatoes. Bake them whole, they’re delicious with a dab of grass fed butter, instead of coated in marshmallows.

  • Winter squash. Roasted with herbs, it’s naturally sweet, and brings you plenty of fiber to help fill you up—acorn, butternut, spaghetti squash—these are a few of the good guys among starchy foods. More on squash here in a previous edition of The XSport Life

  • Mashed cauliflower. This makes a wonderful substitute for mashed potatoes – steam it until it’s super soft, then mash with seasonings and even a dollop of cream cheese (which is wonderful with chives).

  • Green vegetables. Hopefully there will be some roasted or steamed vegetables on your holiday tables, and if there not, why not volunteer to bring some? Instead of cheese sauce, use lemon, garlic, herbs and sea salt to brighten—and lighten--your plate.

Here we share a simple green bean recipe that makes a tasty substitute for that canned soup and fried onions version—your holiday table, and waistline, will thank you!

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb. of haricot verts or other thin fresh green beans, trimmed (for 8 – 12 servings)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. of assorted fresh mushrooms (e.g. crimini, oyster and shiitake; slice and remove stems)
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 – 6 oz. of soft, mild goat cheese


DIRECTIONS

Steam the beans in lightly salted water until tender-crisp (only a few minutes). Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking. Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the mushrooms and shallot until mushrooms are browned.

Add green beans, thyme, salt and pepper, and then cook to heat the beans through with the herbs and mushrooms.

Remove from heat and place dollops of goat cheese on top; give a light toss before placing in serving dish.




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