Monday, November 7, 2011

How to NOT pack on that Holiday weight...

This is my most favorite time of year! I love the colder weather. I love sweaters, boots and scarfs! I love being with family and celebrating all of the holidays. I also love the FOOD! Who doesn't? I have some tips that will help you keep those holiday pounds at bay and help you enjoy every minute while doing it. Let's get started!
If you aren't active now, get active! Start moving, get to the gym or hit the pavement or even put in that DVD, whatever it is that you do, DO IT! Make it a priority to stay physically active throughout the rest of the year, and don't wait until New Year's to "start over". These are a few reasons why: First, this time of year can be VERY stressful! The best way to combat stress is through exercise. While you exercise, "feel good" endorphins are released. You will enjoy the feeling of self accomplishment and experience a clear mind. This is SO important this time of year! Second, you will sleep better. Who doesn't need a better quality of sleep? We can be so busy with holiday errands and parties. We need to understand that sleep is critical to not only beating stress but to weight loss and management. The third reason why exercising now is important, you will burn those extra calories you WILL be consuming! If you aren't exercising, you will gain some weight! That is a promise! Exercising will help you truly enjoy this season while looking and feeling great!

This time of year can be a time to help those in need.  This is something that can also help you. Let me explain.  Now this is Holiday Weight Management 101 by Amy Blue. This is something I believe to be true.  Some of the reasons we over eat may be feelings of depression or boredom. Some people experience these feeling  more so during this time year, and as a result more weight is packed on.  I personally believe that if we wrap ourselves up in serving those around us, we simply forget our own issues or our personal burdens that may be making us feel down, suddenly don't seem as hard to bare. There is a feeling that comes from serving others that you can't get from exercise or eating right. Also, by filling up our free or unproductive time with service we avoid eating out of boredom. So, please incorporate service one way or another into your everyday tasks. It will change your season and your life.

All the wonderful FOOD is the biggest problem for me. Who else has a hard time saying no to chocolate in any form? I love this, "I would give up chocolate, but I'm not a quitter". Anyway, back to FOOD in general. Now for most people staying on a diet or avoiding eating anything not so good for all together is very unrealistic.  Understand this, it's ok to enjoy all of the yummy holiday food. However, there are a few ground rules. Everything in moderation. Don't eat until you are uncomfortable. Pick and choose, don't have a full serving of everything! Make healthy choices when you can. For example, volunteer to bring the veggie tray instead of the cookies. Make your food from scratch. Stay away from processed quick and easy meals. That way you can regulate what goes into it.  There are also plenty of healthy substitutes that you can use in your recipes.
Try these:
Sugar-Stevia  You can buy a large bag of stevia anywhere and it measures out just like sugar. We used it to make bread and it works great.
Sour cream/cream cheese-Greek yogurt   I have replaced sour cream all together with all natural plain Greek yogurt. It's high in protein and very low in fat.
Vegetable oil-Applesauce or Coconut oil  It depends what you are using it for.

Try to be creative with your meals and incorporate fresh veggies and fruits. Eat less of the processed foods. You will find fresh just tastes better. There are tons of healthy recipes out there...have fun experimenting.

CONTEST: Please share any other healthy substitutes you use that aren't listed above and receive 2 points. Share an awesome HEALTHY holiday recipe and receive 10 points!

One mistake a lot of us make is, we drink our calories.  So many of us are soda drinkers, juice drinkers, or one of my weaknesses, hot chocolate. All of these are high in calories and have NO nutritional value. You can keep the weight off by drinking WATER! Ok, with that said, the same rules apply to your choice of holiday beverage as your holiday meal.

Most importantly, just stay in tune with your body and don't over do anything. Take time to relax and enjoy your blessings this season.
"Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."
~Robert G. Ingersoll~
Thanks to all who are supporting me in this contest. I have had an overwhelming response and I'm humbled. If you have yet to join in on the fun, do so! Visit HERE  and get started. It's fun and super easy! Remember, any time you forward on a post or share my blog, let me know, you get 1 point. The more you share the more points you receive! You can leave me a comment or e mail me at
Thanks again :)


  1. Sine I am always unprepared and running late, here is a favorite that takes no no time at all. My 3 year old loves to help. You can be the weird one at the party that brings a bowl full of greens:)
    Baked Kale Chips:

    1 bunch kale
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon seasoned salt

    Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
    Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. shared this on fb:

    your tip is so true. i notice i eat out of boredom too much...something i'm trying to work on.

    *one of my favorite ways i get my chocolate fix without the added processed sugar is i buy baking chocolate and eat a small portion of it with a prune. the sweetness of the prune cancels out the bitterness of the chocolate.
    i actually prefer the taste and texture of it a lot more than all other chocolate.

    *i'm not sure this can qualify as a recipe, but i love banana soft serve. frozen banana chunks blended until creamy. i love it, even in the winter :)

    *i love roasted brussel sprouts as a side to most dinners. cut in half, lightly coated with grapeseed oil, then sprinkled with salt & pepper and baked until golden brown.

    thanks for sharing that quote, i needed to hear it!

  3. oh i so needed this! i love to work out and eat healthy but i also am a total foodie! i love to cook and i love all kinds of food. i am also an emotional eater and tend to eat more when i am bored, stressed whatever... i have to remind myself all the time to only eat for pleasure or fuel, not for any other reasons! i use alot of your substitutions. greek yogurt replacing a fat is one of my favorites. another is to use a ripe bananna as a sweetener. i eat oatmeal almost every day and i smoosh a ripe bananna in it and add almonds or pb and a touch of maple syrup sometimes. so tasty and no need for added sugar! ok so i have a really really tasty recipe for you-

    drizzle olive oil onto a plate.
    add finely diced tomatoes and green onions.
    sprinkle with greek seasoning
    crumble some feta cheese on top.
    stir around and let the flavors meld.

    use pita bread or crackers or a fresh bagette to dip into it. sooooo good. we ate it for dinner once a week this summer. it was always devoured instantly. add this salad and you have a tasty healthy meal.

  4. I have found that hydrating really helps me kill cravings. My favorite thing to drink is Rooibos, which is South African Red Tea. It is full of amazing nutrients and is naturally sweet and flavorful, although you can add a little Stevia if you aren't used to the taste. My favorite healthy winter recipe is Sweet Potato Soup:

    1 3/4 c. Organic Plain Yogurt
    2 TB canola oil
    1 large sweet onion, sliced
    2 tsp ground cumin
    3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1 1/2 qt. vegetable broth
    2 TB chopped parsley or cilantro

    In a soup pot heat oil. Add onions and cumin and sauté 3-4 min. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup 20-25 min. Puree soup with 1 1/2 cups yogurt and parsley or cilantro. Serve each portion of soup with a dollop of remaining yogurt.

  5. I don't know if this counts as a substitution, but I like to add flaxseed to most anything-I've added it to spaghetti sauce, muffins, cookies (don't tell my kids) or just sprinkle it on salad. It doesn't change the flavor and it adds protein, fiber and Omega 3 fatty acid which is so good for you, and especially for those kids' developing brains.
    And here is my healthy recipe contribution:
    Vegetable Dressing/Stuffing
    2 T butter
    2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
    2 carrots, peeled and diced
    1 onion, chopped
    1 ¾ cup vegetable stock (no or low salt is best)
    1 can water chestnuts, sliced
    2 cups fresh spinach, torn
    ¼ cup parsley, chopped
    ¼ t pepper
    2 t chopped garlic
    1 t sage
    1 t thyme
    4 cups dried cubed bread (or stuffing mix)
    Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the carrots until they start to become tender. Add the mushrooms and onions and continue to sauté (don’t forget to stir!) until the mushrooms soften and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the stock, water chestnuts, spinach, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in the bread cubes. You can just put the lid on and allow it to steam until the bread is soft or put it in a casserole and heat it up later i! n the oven. If it seems dry, just stir in a few tablespoons of stock.
    So much better for you than traditional stuffing with all those veggies in there. You could also substitute the butter for Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make it even more healthy.

  6. I thought I should post my family's favorite fall/winter recipe...
    Thanks for all the great comments so far!

    Veggie Chili

    Cooks in 30 mins
    Serves can freeze and save for later.

    1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped carrots
    1 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    2 tbsp chili powder
    1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (i left these out)
    1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped ( or you can get the already chopped kind)
    1 (15 oz) can black beans
    1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
    1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
    1 tbsp cumin
    1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
    1 1/2 tbsp dried basil
    1/2 tbsp garlic powder

    Heat butter or coconut oil in a large pot over med. heat. Cook and stir the garlic, onion, and carrots in the pot until tender. Mix green bell pepper and red bell pepper. Season with chili powder. Continue cooking 5 mins, or until peppers are tender. Mix in mushrooms into the pot. Stir in the tomatoes with liquid, black bean with liquid, kidney beans with liquid, and pinto beans with liquid. Season with cumin, oregano, basil, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med. and cover. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally

    We bake some chicken breasts and chop them up to add for protein :) SO YUMMY!

  7. We enjoy slicing up an apple and put it in a baggie with cinnamon and a little stevia, shake it up and enjoy!

  8. Great tips & recipes! One of my family's absolute favorites is:
    Fiesta Wheat & Bean Salad
    1 green bell pepper, diced
    1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
    1 small red onion, diced
    1 jalapeno, diced
    1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
    juice of 1 lime
    3 cups cooked wheat berries
    1 can corn, drained (16 oz.)
    1 can black beans, drained (15 oz.)
    2 tsp. chili powder
    2 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    1 T. sugar (stevia)
    1 tsp. sea salt
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    *combine all ingredients in a large bowl and let chill for at least 1 hour. great with taco salad or as a snack with some tortilla chips!

  9. I also use applesauce and yogurt as substitutes. I love to drink water with a half-lime in it when I would like a little fruity flavor instead of juice. Thanks for all the great recipes! Can't wait to try them!

    I have 2 recipes to share:

    Strawberry Spinach Salad

    2 Tbls sesame seeds
    1 Tbls poppy seeds
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 olive oil
    1/4 c distilled white vinegar
    1/4 tsp paprika
    1/4 tsp worchestershire sauce
    1 Tbls minced onion
    10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried, and torn into bite size pieces
    1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled, and sliced
    1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

    Whisk together all ingreadients but spinach, strawberries and almonds, chill and let marinate for 1 hour. In large bowl combine spinach, strawberries, and almonds. Pour dressing over and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

    Raisin and Orange Salad with Ginger Dressing

    2 Tbls olive oil
    2 Tbls seasoned rice vinegar
    2 Tbls minced green onion
    1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
    1/4 tsp grated orange peel
    1 small clove garlic, minced

    6-8 cups torn butter lettuce leaves
    1 cup raisins or craisins
    2 oranges, peeled, quartered, and sliced
    1 avocado, peeled and sliced
    1/4 cup sunflower seeds, divided

    In small bowl combine dressing ingredients. Place lettuce leaves, raisins or craisins in bowl and pour dressing over. Top with orange slices, avocado slices, and sunflower seeds.


Thanks for your participation!