The single biggest day of eating has come and gone so we can all breathe a sigh of relief, right? We indulged until we couldn’t handle another bite and then we fell asleep right on the floor.
If I had a dime for every time someone told be that they were “bad” as it relates to eating on holidays… Whether you’re worried about overeating, gaining weight, or feeling guilty, it is time for a new perspective on this season of indulgence. As the resident nutritionist for The Chopping Blog, I am here to tell you that it is possible to eat your way through the next month and still feel good mentally and physically.
First, release the concept of being “bad.”
Go to a party and eat what you want. Whether you are trying to lose weight or working on wellness, holiday time is about balanced eating. Don’t fuss over what or how much you consuming on the day of a special occasion. Experience the joy of food!
Next, be grateful for every bite.
When you sit down at the table to eat, take a moment of gratitude. It is easy to forget how important food is in our lives when we aren’t paying attention. Not only is it fuel for our bodies, but it also brings people together and connects us all around the world. A few simple moments before diving in can help cultivate a deeper and positive appreciation for your pile of grub.
Side note: The Chopping Block offers classes to connect you with cuisines from across the globe.
Then, be aware of eye hunger.
“Because it’s there and looks good” hunger. You feel full, but then you catch a glance of a beautiful Apple Upside Down Cake, and you immediately go for a slice. Eye hunger can easily override your feelings of satiety. Break the automatic habit by pausing before giving in and consciously make a decision to skip it or eat it. Is it going to be worth tipping your fullness scale a bit more?
Finally, focus on the non-holiday days to nourish with nutritious food.
There is a difference between your everyday and your every once in a while. The days in between special occasions are the ones that will keep you feeling good if you make the effort to fuel your body with healthy food. Satisfy your eye hunger by creating something colorful. You’ll find so many delicious and decadent recipes to make to bring to all special dinners and parties this season, like these Savory Hand Pies or a Butternut Squash Pie. Below you’ll find a recipe for those non-holiday days.
Asian-Inspired Colorful Quinoa Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: ¾ quinoa/vegetable mixture, ⅔ cup greens, 2½ TB dressing
Nutrition Facts (with dressing): Calories 485, Carb 38g, Protein 17g, Total Fat 32g (Saturated 4g, Monounsaturated 18g, Polyunsaturated 7g), Dietary Fiber 8g
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
¼ cup diced green onion
2 cups shelled edamame
½ cup cilantro, chopped
4 cups spring mix greens
½ cup honey-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 TB honey
1 TB fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of water and quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork.
In a jar with a lid, combine all ingredients for the dressing. Put the lid on the jar and shake to mix ingredients. Give the jar a shake again before serving.
Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Add cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, red and green onion, edamame, and cilantro to the bowl and mix until combined.
Add ⅔ cup spring mix greens in each serving container. Top greens with about ¾ cup quinoa and vegetables mixture and 1 ½ tablespoons of peanuts in each bowl. When ready to eat, add 2-2.5 tablespoons of the dressing per serving and a squeeze of a lime wedge. Enjoy!
Check out Chef Alia Dalal’s Omega-3 Fish demonstration class next Wednesday, December 5 at Lincoln Square. There's just two spots left! Our January calendar will be full of healthy options so stay tuned when those classes are released next Friday, December 7.