Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

The holidays are here! This week for Wellness Wednesday we focus on some easy tips to help keep your diet and health on track while navigating all the holiday events and gatherings!

Tips for Indulging Sensibly:

  • Don't go to a party hungry- Cocktail parties and tonnes of apps are a common staple, but most apps won't be overly healthy and because they tend to be bite size, make it very hard to keep track of how much you are actually consuming. Eat a proper meal and have a few apps as a treat instead of going with the intention of making apps your dinner.
  • Don't stand next to the food table- This makes it way to easy to grab and eat mindlessly.
  • Use a plate and keep your proportions- Always use a plate. This allows you to keep track of the amount and what you are eating. Try to keep your plate to 2/3-3/4 filled with healthy, nutrient dense options (like veggies, meats, etc.) and save the rest of the space for indulgences.
  • Go easy on the dips- Dips are calorie pitfalls. Even seemingly healthy dips, like hummus, are not always the greatest choice. If it's a purchased hummus, it is usually made with unhealthy oils (like canola or soybean), high in sodium and contains preservatives. Even it if it homemade, hummus tends to be high in calories and high in starch with little protein so you don't want to over do it. Guacamole is similar- a great source of healthy fats, but also high in calories and can have extra sodium if store bought, so be mindful.
  • The Main Event- Similar rules apply when it comes to the main meal- try to keep your plate filled 2/3 to 3/4 filled with meat and veggies and save the rest of indulgences (like stuffing and cranberry sauce). Remember not all veggies are healthy options however. Green bean casserole made with cream soup is a common side dish but loaded with calories, unhealthy fats and sodium. Try sticking to roasted or steamed veggies if you have the option. Cranberry sauce is also pretty much just pure sugar so don't overdo it. However, by making your own you can at least control the amount of added sugar and type of sugar used. Homemade will also retain some of it's nutrients while the canned version is completely devoid. (Check out our recipes below).
Remember, it's fine to indulge once in a while, especially over the holidays but just because you indulge at an event one evening doesn't mean you need to continue that splurge into the next day. Stick to your normal, healthy diet the rest of the time and allow those splurges to be a treat in a healthy lifestyle.

Homemade Hummus Recipe

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water
Dash ground paprika, for serving
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy. 
  1. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended. 
  1. Open, drain, and rinse the chickpeas. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes. 
  1. Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until you reach the perfect consistency.

For a delicious twist on the classic hummus check out this Sundried Tomato Basil Hummus.

Homemade Guacamole

2-3 ripe avocados
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced

Cilantro, finely chopped - to taste
1/2  small red onion or 3 sprigs of Green onions, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut and remove avocados from peel. Place in bowl, mash avocados to desired consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix thoroughly. You can adjust the amounts to your taste. If you prefer a spicier guacamole, add a dash of cayenne pepper or 1 small jalapeno. 
Enjoy with corn tortillas or cut up vegetables such as cucumbers, celery or peppers.

Easy Roasted Green Beans

Green Beans
Cherry Tomatoes
(amounts can vary depending on preference and serving size desired)
Olive Oil

Remove ends of green beans and cut in half. Slice mushrooms and halve tomatoes. Toss everything in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 415F for about 15 minutes or until done. Stir half way through to help evenly roast.

Maple Cranberry Sauce

From Canadian Living
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken
pinch of ground cloves and pepper
In a saucepan, stir together cranberries, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and pepper; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 min.

On behalf of everyone here at the Coach House, we wish you and your families a wonderful and safe holiday season. We are so excited for the line up of Wellness Wednesday videos we have planned for you in 2017! 

Thank you so much for being part of our community! 

~The Coach House Team~

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