I am a believer in the 80% rule. As in, eat healthily 80% of the time and you may indulge a bit the other 20%. Another 80% rule to keep in mind over the holidays is the Japanese principle of hara hachi bu, which roughly translates to eating until you are 80% full.
One indulgent meal is unlikely to have a lasting effect on weight or fat mass. While you may notice an extra pound or two on the scale the next morning, this is typically due to water retention as a result of a higher than usual intake of carbohydrate and sodium-rich foods. And it will resolve itself within the next day or so. Unless, of course, you continue to eat carbohydrate and sodium-rich meals.
Which is what we often do during the holidays. Sometimes this is due to the “what-the-hell-effect” (i.e., I’ve already blown my healthy eating pattern out of the water so why stop now?). But often it’s because we have copious quantities of food left over which we feel we must consume as quickly as possible.
One way to avoid this is to send leftovers home with your guests. Another is to simply make less food in the first place. The pandemic has meant smaller gatherings for many of us. So this month I’ve offered up a Festive Feast for Four. Not only is cooking a turkey breast simpler and faster than a whole bird, it means far fewer leftovers.
I hope you enjoy this flurry of festive foods, flavours and colours!
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Festive Feast for Four
Nibbles: Prosciutto Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese (these are sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy bundles of yumminess)
Salad: Pomegranate & Beet Salad (this mix of greens and jewel-red beets and pomegranate arils topped with a flurry of feta makes for a truly festive first course; you can also serve the beets raw if they are very thinly sliced with a mandoline)
Main: Citrus Herb Roasted Turkey Breast (in keeping with my tradition, I serve turkey with French green beans, steamed and drizzled with my finest olive oil and topped with toasted slivered almonds for crunch; feel free to choose your own favourite green vegetable)
Side: Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Stuffing (this recipe is half the original, hence the 1-1/2 eggs called for as a binder; you could use the other half-egg as an egg wash for pastry if you are making a pie, or you could use 1 large or 2 small eggs instead)
Dessert: No Bake Maple Pecan Bars (I love these bars as they are easier to portion-control than pie and can be made several days ahead; just be sure not to gobble them up before the big day!)
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A few healthy holiday tips …
Fill half your plate with vegetables
Fill at least half your plate with vegetables. The more colours the better. And eat them first!
Veggies are full of healthy fibre which will fill you up, so you are less likely to overeat. And all those colours signify different health-promoting phytonutrients that will help your body repair from the damaging effects of sugar and alcohol. 😉
Take a post-prandial stroll
A short stroll after meals helps with digestion, lowers blood pressure and improves blood sugar management and weight control.
This is a particularly useful strategy after dinner as your body’s ability to manage blood sugar is at its weakest in the evening. And you will sleep better too! This should be a light stroll, not a hard walk. Even 10 minutes will be beneficial.
I invite you to revisit my December 2019 blog post for more tips about how to Feast Festively Without Piling on the Pounds.
Cooking your own food is the single most impactful step you can take to improve your health and energy!
I hope you enjoy my Festive Feast for Four. Sign up here to receive the download link for this latest Menu of the Month. And if you want to cook more of your own food but don’t know what to make or have the time to organize your own menus and shopping lists, The Nutritional Reset offers a meal planning service. It makes preparing tasty, nutritious meals a snap. Click here to find out more.