Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fresh Fall Recipes to Fight Holiday Weight Gain

Everyone worries about gaining weight during the holidays; as much as everyone dreads it, most people just can't help themselves when the food is in front of them . There are so many articles out there that are all about not gaining that holiday weight and include tips and tricks on how to avoid this phenomenon. I'm going to break it to you: there's no secret. Sorry guys. Just keep eating healthy and exercising regularly and you won't change! If you shove ten times the amount of food down your throat than normal on a bi-weekly basis for the next 6 weeks then you're going to gain weight.

To help avoid the temptations of all of the unhealthy, fattening food choices at holiday parties it's a good idea to offer to bring a dish of your own so you can assure that something will be healthy and you can control what goes into it. FYI: cocktail parties are the worst for weight gain because you just pick and pick on small little appetizers that seem like nothing, but are actually upwards of usually 100 calories each. And the alcohol adds way more calories than you even want to think about.

Here are some Thanksgiving and fall-inspired dishes that are healthier and are great to bring with you to parties or just to make at home for din!

This quinoa stuffing with cranberries and sweet potatoes looks so amazing. I love all of these things, so I would think that, but it's just such a fresh looking dish that's super healthy. This would be great as a side for Thanksgiving! Head over to With Style and Grace for the recipe.

This sweet potato and pomegranate salad from Two Peas and Their Pod showed up in my inbox yesterday and I had to bookmark it. Usually pomegranate seeds aren't incorporated into many recipes, but they're so good for you! The pumpkin seeds have so many added nutritious benefits, too!

I love FoodieCrush magazine & read it all the time on my iPad. This autumn couscous recipe is from the blog and it's a healthy, filling side that everyone will enjoy because the ingredients are so normal, yet they make the perfect flavor combo.

While looking for a shepherd's pie recipe I had two requirements: vegan and sweet potatoes. Lentils were an added bonus! The reason for the sweet potato necessity is because they're so sweet and delicious, and have more nutritious value than a regular potato (plus they taste better anyway). The vegan aspect was because shepherd's pies are loaded with yummy veggies, but the amount of butter and milk that can be added into them ruins it. This lentil and sweet potato shepherd's pie from One Ingredient Chef looks heavenly. Someone in the comments said they made it and it was delicious and they added a little balsamic onto their serving and loved it! Great main dish for this holiday season!

Girl Makes Food posted a healthy green bean casserole. Usually green bean casseroles are one of the worst dishes health-wise on the table because of the canned mushroom soup (just the canned aspect of that should make a red flag go up), added milk/cream, butter, fried onions on top, etc. This recipe uses Greek yogurt (added protein!), olive oil, shallots, real mushrooms, parsley, salt, pepper, and green beans. It won't taste like your traditional casserole, but you'll feel better about eating it.

CrockPot recipes are the best because you can just forget about them. Plus it's easy to travel with (however, it's a little larger than bringing a casserole dish) and it makes the host's life easier because he or she doesn't have to find room in the already jam packed oven to heat up your dish. This creamy pumpkin risotto from Balanced Platter is vegan, therefore no dairy! Usually things deemed creamy are loaded with milk/cream/butter/cheese. This dish doesn't have any of that!

New South Food Co. posted a recipe for roasted fall veggies with walnut pesto. The walnut pesto isn't your traditional pesto, so if you really want the normal flavor I would just make your own and substitute that in instead! Sometimes simple roasted veggies are the best tasting thing on the table. Especially with all of the yummy vegetables that are in season now (cough cough sweet potatoes).

Vegetarian Times posted these roasted veggie cornucopias and I promise you that if you make these for Thanksgiving, or any fall themed party, people will rant and rave about how cute they are. Last year my aunt made a huge cornucopia appetizer stuffed with raw veggies and no one could get over how amazing it was that she made that! Here's a picture of it below. It's also a good option to bring as an appetizer so you don't pick on salted nuts, chips, dip, and cheese. Fill up on vegetables to avoid overeating at dinner!

All of these are meatless because I'm a veg, but there are plenty of meat options out there, too! You could add lamb to your shepherd's pie, but it is a little unhealthier. Regardless, if that's what you like then you should definitely have it! If you wanted you could definitely add some sausage to the quinoa stuffing, too. There are a bunch of recipes out there with meat in them, so just search around. You won't regret your effort to making this holiday season a little healthier. Added bonus: It's cheaper to make veggie-based dishes than meat ones. It's a fact that sweet potatoes and lentils cost less than a rack of lamb.

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