It seems like every holiday is surrounded by food. With Halloween today and the winter holidays quickly approaching, there is no shortage of "eat this, not that" tips in order to save calories, maintain/lose weight or curb cravings.
While working with athletes and fitness enthusiasts for the past few years, I developed a saying that will always stay with me...
"If you eat well most of the time you don't have to worry about the rest of the time"
The reason why I like this quote is that it speaks so loudly as to how we can all develop a healthy relationship with food. For there are 365 days in the year and a little over a dozen "American" holidays and common national observances to celebrate throughout the year. Although some holiday celebrations involve festive food that is enjoyed for more than one day, for the most part, holidays typically bring staple foods to be enjoyed on the respective day/holiday.
Rather than telling you the "healthiest" candies or 20 holiday snacks less than 250 calories, I'd like to share some recipes that you may find scrumptious on Halloween day.
My suggestion to you is if you are choosing to make Halloween an occasional indulgence, do so with balance in mind. Have a glass of milk with a piece of candy, better yet, have a piece of fruit and a glass of milk (or your choice of protein) with the piece of candy. Do not go into a meal starving (ex. going to a party) and do not excuse candy treats as a meal replacement. Eat as you normal would but focus on more nutrient-dense foods throughout the day in order to give a little wiggle room for the calorie dense foods. Focus on color from fruits and veggies - not just from skittles and M&M's and have a plan as to what, how much and when you will have your treats. Do not see this plan as strict and controlling but rather as a guide to help you feel in control of the foods that you put into your body. For having a plan and feeling "OK" to have 3 pieces of candy is very powerful, especially if you are use to "out of control" sweet eating, followed by feeling of guilt and body image obsession.
And most of all, do not beat yourself up for having a few hundred calories from "occasional" treats. What's one day in October, when there are 365 days in a year?
Chocolate and Peanut Butter-dipped pretzels
Butternut Squash with pumpkin seeds and cranberries
(From Nutrition Action Healthletter November issue 2011)
1 lb butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbs pomegranate juice or orange juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tbs dried cranberries
1. Steam the squash until tender, 3-5 minutes.
2. Drain any water
3. In large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, juice, salt and oil
4. Toss the squash in the bowl with the dressing
5. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and cranberries
Nutrition per serving (3/4 cup):
3 g fiber
150 mg sodium
Walnut raspberry chocolate tartlets
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal (ex. brown rice crispies-type cereal)
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
36 fresh raspberries (may use another fruit based on season - etc. pomegranate seeds)
6 sprigs of mint
1. Arrange six cupcake papers on a baking sheet or in a muffin pan, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine walnuts and rice cereal; mix well. Add them melted chocolate and stir until all is well coated.
3. Divide evenly among the 6-paper-lined cups and press gently with the back of a soup spoon to compact into a "crust". Arrange 6 raspberries on top gently pressing them into position while the chocolate is still warm.
4. Garnish with a sprig of the mind. Refrigerate until firm - 30 minutes.
5. Remove from the liners and place onto serving platter.
Spooky apple and peanut butter smoothie
1/2 large green apple
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 stalk celery
8-11 ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder (or 1 cup plain non fat yogurt)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Water - as needed
1. Mix together ingredients in blender.
2. Add more/less water to meet your consistency needs.
Feel free to share your Halloween recipes either in a comment or share your blog!