Holiday parties means holiday cocktail hours, but how do you navigate the bar when you’re committed to a healthy holiday season? These 7 tips will be your guide to wet your whistle without the dreaded holiday hangover.
1. Have a Plan: Decide how many drinks you will have before arriving to the party—and stick to it! Drinking 1-2 drinks throughout the entire party will feel much better the next day than 1-2 an hour.
2. Choose Wisely: Choosing wine, champagne, or a spritzer will mean less calories. Avoid heavy beers and cream-based drinks, and DO NOT order the martini!
3. Make sure to eat: Happy hours often carry over until dinner and can mean overindulging if you allow yourself to get too hungry. Make sure to eat something small before and/or during the party to keep the alcoholic effects at bay.
4.Hydrate! Drinking plenty of water between drinks will prevent you from inadvertently telling your boss what you really think, and will ensure you have a job to come back to!
5. Opt for a “Mocktail.” Forgo alcohol completely by choosing a non-alcoholic drink instead. Ask for sparkling water with lime and mint for a “mock mojito”.
Don’t miss these and other tips in my latest book A Small Guide to Losing Big!
With Thanksgiving comes the official start to the holiday season, and that means holiday parties are right around the corner. How will you navigate the smorgasbord of food without going overboard? If you are determined to stay on track throughout the holidays, there is only one way to approach celebrations: with a plan! These 5 tips will be your go-to for sticking to your health goals…even in the face of pumpkin pie!
1. Eat & Exercise Before You Arrive
As the holiday season gets under way, the invitations to parties start rolling in. How can you stick to your guns even before you arrive? Break a sweat! Make sure to get in a sweat session before the party and eat a small snack before leaving the house to ensure you do not overeat on fatty party foods. Like they say, if you fail to plan then you should plan to fail!
2. Stick to small bites
When faced with a long table of high calorie and high fat foods, it’s best to stick to smaller bites to avoid overeating. Don’t overload your plate and make sure to include a vegetable to round out richer dishes. Small sized appetizers will limit your intake and prevent unnecessary overindulgence.
One of the best ways to avoid the diet-busting dessert table? Mingling! Stand up and work the room, don’t hunker down in a corner with your plate. You will soon realize that one plate is enough to satisfy you when your mind is on interesting conversations—and not on seconds.
4. Watch beverages
Don’t be fooled, alcohol–yes even vodka and white wine–has calories. A 4oz serving of wine has about 100 calories, but do you remember the last time you were served only 4oz? Today’s serving sizes are sometimes double that, so it’s best to be mindful of libations going in. Also, alcohol has a pesky way of lowering your inhibitions—and your willpower to stay away from the dessert table!
5. Know when to indulge
While it’s important to stay mindful of diet bombs during the holidays, it is also important that you treat yourself from time to time. A mindful holiday partygoer will know what is worth the indulgence in the spirit of celebration. Your mother’s pumpkin pie or your annual glass of egg nog will not hinder your goals in the long run, but half the pie and 3 glasses will! Knowing what treats will satisfy you most and planning to enjoy them is part of becoming a more mindful eater overall. So go ahead, have your treat and enjoy!
We’ve all heard about the protective properties of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, but what exactly are they and what do they do? To understand this, first we must dig deep and do a little biology and chemistry lesson…it will be painless, I promise. Let’s get to it!
To understand antioxidants, first we must explain free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen molecules with one or more unpaired electrons (have I lost you yet?). Why is this a problem? The free radical with its unpaired electron zips around your body and tries to steal an electron from another molecule to neutralize its negative charge and once it does this, it creates another free radical from the molecule it stole from. This ongoing process results in damage referred to as oxidation or oxidative stress and can ultimately damage DNA, which in turn can cause mutations that inhibit protein production in your body and lead to cancer and other diseases.
How does this process start? Well, sorry to say, but it’s a part of the normal aging process. As we breathe in oxygen, about 2% of it is said to make free radicals. Other lifestyle habits such as smoking, sunlight radiation, and pollution exacerbate this problem. Luckily our bodies have natural defenses against free radicals, but these processes slow with aging. Would you like to know another way to fight free radicals? Nutrition!
What Can You Do?
There are many foods, in particular fruits and vegetables, that are packed full of antioxidants. Antioxidants circulate in your body and donate their electrons to free radicals, which stops the damaging chain reactions that free radicals create. Some of the most important antioxidants from food are vitamins A, C, and E, minerals that support your body’s natural antioxidant defenses, and plants properties called phytochemicals that give fruits and veggies their vibrant colors.
So, the lesson of the day? Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are bright colors such as green, red, and orange.
What’s the best way to get a variety of antioxidants in one sitting? A smoothie! Smoothies, especially those packed with greens, can be the prescription you need to boost your body’s natural free radical defenses. Below is a recipe for a Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie, utilizing this fall’s seasonal produce for an antioxidant punch!
Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie
The Formula: Greens + Liquid + Fruit + Extras
Choose 1-2 cups of greens:
- Kale, spinach, chard, romaine, or any other green
Choose 2 cups of liquid:
- Water, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk
Choose 2-3 cups of fruit:
- Banana, apple, pear, persimmon, avocado, oranges, etc
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne, chia seeds, flax seeds, yogurt
Want to learn more about healthy aging? Check out my book, Positively Ageless!
This week officially kicked off holiday season on the blog, and I’ve featured a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Our final recipe is what everyone has waited for, the dessert! This pumpkin cheesecake is not only a healthier alternative, but it’s also pistachio powered!
I hope you have been inspired for the holidays and I’d love to if you tried any of this week’s recipes. Enjoy!
Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake
This can be made one day ahead of time and refrigerated.
Makes 16 thin slices
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) roasted unsalted pistachio kernels
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling
- 1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) plain pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek style yogurt
- 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- In the bowl of a food processor, chop nuts to very fine meal. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Mix in the agave and vanilla with a fork. The dough should be cohesive but not wet.
- With a rubber spatula, pat dough into a nonstick 9-inch spring form pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for about ten minutes, or until the edges just start to brown.
- Remove from oven. Add 2 cups hot water to a round or square cake pan. Place pan on lower oven shelf*.
- *The steam will minimize cracking of the top of the cheesecake
- In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, combine all of the filling ingredients.
- Process or blend just until smooth. Pour into crust.
- Spread out evenly and place in oven on shelf above the cake pan and water. (The steam will help to minimize cracking of the cheesecake top).
- Bake cheesecake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Turn off oven.
- Open oven door halfway and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven. (This will also help to minimize cracking top).
- Remove cheesecake from the oven. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving
Nutrition Analysis for one slice Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Calories 170
- Calories from Fat 70
- Total Fat 8g
- Sat Fat 2g
- Trans Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 70mg
- Total Carbohydrate 18g
- Fiber 2g
- Sugar 11g
- Protein 5g
- Vitamin A 4%
- Vitamin C 0%
- Calcium 4%
- Iron 4%
This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Today is everyone’s favorite, sweet potatoes–and this time it comes with a pistachio punch! Tis the season for wonderful food!
Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio Butter
This is a great make ahead dish as they actually taste better if allowed to refrigerate overnight before serving.
Yield: Eight ½ cup servings
- 2 pounds cleaned and trimmed sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons Pistachio Butter*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and prick with a fork. Bake until very tender when a fork or knife is inserted, approximately one hour. Remove from oven.
- When cool enough to handle, remove peel and place in bowl of a food processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.
- Transfer to ovenproof serving dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for up to two days).
- Bring to room temperature one hour before warming.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Place casserole in oven and heat just until warmed through, approximately 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and garnish with chopped pistachios if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield: Approximately 1 cup or 16 tablespoons
- 1 cup roasted unsalted pistachio kernels
- 2 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil
- Place pistachios and olive oil into food processor or blender
- Process or blend until pistachio butter is smooth and creamy.
Nutrition Analysis for one 1/2 cup serving of Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio Butter
- Calories 140
- Calories from Fat 15
- Total Fat 1.5g
- Sat Fat 0g
- Trans Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0g
- Sodium 270mg
- Total Carbohydrate 30g
- Fiber 4g
- Sugar 6g
- Protein 3g
- Vitamin A 380%
- Vitamin C 25%
- Calcium 2%
- Iron 2%
This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Today we focus on the main event, the Turkey Roast with Sausage, Fruit, & Pistachio Dressing. Tis the season for wonderful food!
Serves 8 (Two slices per serving)
- 1/2 boneless, skinless turkey breast, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 1 1/2 cups Sausage Fruit and Pistachio Dressing
- Kitchen twine
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1 Tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 °Fahrenheit.
- Place large piece of plastic wrap on countertop. Place turkey breast half on plastic and cover. Cover with additional plastic wrap.
- Using meat mallet, pound turkey to rectangle about 9-10 X 6 inches, about 1/4-inch thick.
- Remove plastic wrap from top of turkey and spread 1 ½ cups of the dressing evenly lengthwise over surface, almost to edge.
- Roll turkey lengthwise. With kitchen twine, tie roast lengthwise once and in several places across turkey. Discard plastic wrap.
- In small bowl, mix together spices.
- Rub oil over all surfaces of roast; rub spice blend evenly over roast.
- Place turkey roast in shallow roasting pan, then place in preheated oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until internal temperature measured with an instant-read thermometer reads 155 °F.
- Remove roast from oven and let rest 15 minutes before carefully removing twine and slicing into 16 half-inch slices.
Nutrition Analysis – per two-slice serving
- Calories: 190
- Calories from Fat: 70
- Total Fat: 7g
- Sat Fat: 1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 40mg
- Sodium: 230mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 9g
- Fiber: 1g
- Sugar: 2g
- Protein: 23g
- Vitamin A: 8%
- Vitamin C: 2%
- Calcium: 2%
- Iron: 10%
This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. We continue our succulent side dishes with this Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Dried Fruit, and Pistachios. Tis the season for wonderful food!
Yield: Sixteen ½ cup servings (8 cups)
- 6 cups dried cornbread cubes (or dried whole wheat bread cubes)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 8 ounces lean turkey sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled (2 links)
- 1/2 – 1 cup diced dried fruit (apples, apricots, cranberries, raisins, figs or pears)
- 2 cups fat free chicken broth, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
- 3/4 cup roasted salted pistachio kernels, chopped (3.25 ounces)
- Place cornbread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
- In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onions, celery and carrot; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, but don’t allow garlic to brown.
- Add cooked sausage, fruit, herbs and 1⁄3 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture to the cornbread. Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Just before roasting turkey, add parsley and pistachios to the dressing; stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Whisk together egg and 1 cup broth and pour over cornbread mixture, tossing well. Mixture should just hold together but should not be wet. Add extra 2/3 cup broth if necessary.
- Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking oil spray (use larger baking dish if not reserving dressing for Turkey Roast) and transfer all but 1 1/2 cups of dressing to baking dish. Cover dish with foil and set aside.
- After Turkey Roast has been in oven 30 minutes, place covered baking dish of remaining dressing in oven.
- After 15 minutes (or when internal temperature of roast, measured with instant-read thermometer, is 155 °F), remove roast from oven.
- Remove foil from baking dish with dressing. Continue baking dressing for about 15 minutes or until top begins to brown. Serve hot.
Nutrition Analysis for one – 1/2 cup serving
- Calories: 210
- Calories from Fat: 110
- Total Fat: 12g
- Sat Fat: 2g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 20mg
- Sodium: 310mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 23g
- Fiber: 4g
- Sugar: 6g
- Protein: 6g
- Vitamin A: 15%
- Vitamin C: 8%
- Calcium: 4%
- Iron: 15%
This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Let’s start the week out with a healthy green bean side dish, sure to rival any traditional green bean casserole out there. Tis the season for wonderful food!
Holiday Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) trimmed green beans, cut in 2 to 3 inch pieces, blanched*
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (red, yellow or white)
- 4 slices turkey bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
- 2 roasted yellow or red Bell peppers, peeled, seeded and cut in matchsticks
- 1/4 cup Pistachio Pesto (recipe below)
Heat oil in large nonstick sauté pan. Add onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and just beginning to brown. Add bacon and cook one minute longer. Add beans and bell pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until beans are tender but still bright green. Crumble the pesto over the beans and toss evenly to distribute. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Analysis for one serving
- Calories: 100
- Calories from Fat: 50
- Total Fat: 6g
- Sat Fat: 1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 5mg
- Sodium: 85mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 10g
- Fiber: 3g
- Sugar: 5g
- Protein: 3g
- Vitamin A: 15%
- Vitamin C: 70%
- Calcium: 6%
- Iron: 6%
* I used 1 24 oz. pkg TJ’s frozen green beans FYI – thawed but not blanched
In addition to the Holiday Green Bean recipe, this pesto is fabulous on pasta or bruschetta too.
Yield: ~ 2 cups or 32 tablespoons
- 1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted pistachio kernels (6.5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup grapeseed (or olive) oil
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
In the bowl of a food processor, chop the pistachios. Add the oil, basil, garlic and pulse til mixture is somewhat smooth but slightly chunky. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add cheese, salt, pepper and transfer to covered container. Refrigerate.
Nutrition Analysis for 1 tablespoon Pistachio Pesto
- Calories: 70
- Calories from Fat: 60
- Total Fat: 7g
- Sat Fat: 1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 90mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 2g
- Fiber: 1g
- Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 2g
- Vitamin A: 0 %
- Vitamin C: 0%
- Calcium: 2%
- Iron: 2%
Turn up the volume on your immune system to combat colds before they knock you out! Here are some potent cold-busting foods to top your next shopping list.
Cold Busting Shopping List
Chicken Soup – the most requested food of cold sufferers. Though its medicinal role isn’t clearly defined, a slew of doctors agree this all-time favorite has a certain je ne sais quoi that seems to work wonders. It may be the steaming broth acting as a decongestant, or a combination of some of the ingredients that elicit an anti-inflammatory response to the respiratory system. Either way, few foods offer the same soothing combo of savory comfort and old-fashioned memories
Citrus fruits  contain a myriad of antioxidants including the star power of Vitamin C. But it’s not all in the juice. Most of the vitamin C in oranges is actually found in the peel (53 percent), while lesser amounts are found in the juice (23 percent) and the pulp and rind (21 percent). Be sure to zest your fruit and stir it into your juice or your favorite recipe.
Garlic – has a distinctive role in enhancing immune function among its many health benefits. It has also shown promise in moderating healthy cholesterol levels, antitumor activity and antioxidant properties.
Ginger – contains several phytochemicals, including shogaol and zingerone which have anti-tussive and anti-inflammatory properties. This means they bring relief for cough and congestion from a cold or the flu.
Zinc- rich foods – zinc is a potent supporter of several different immune functions. Zinc- rich foods include mushrooms, fresh parsley, lean beef, low fat dairy and sesame seeds.
Additional Guidelines for Prevention
- Wash hands frequently – this is the number one form of cold transmission
- Avoid nutrient-poor foods which are processed, refined, fried, including sugar, excess fat & salt
- Get plenty of rest
- Moderate exercise (or lay off for a couple days if you’re feeling hammered)
- Minimize stress
- Optimal hydration; – drink plenty of fluids; especially if you have a fever
Whether you’re trying to stay at the top of your game, or you’re already in the throes of a nasty cold, here are some recipes to tickle your palate while they chase away the chill.
Recipe: Spiced Chicken Soup
Yield: 2 quarts
No noodles here — a fragrant blend of spices punctuates this robust soup. For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with garbanzo beans or cubes of firm tofu.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped. peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes or 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 (12-ounce) sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, without stems
- Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add ginger and garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not brown garlic.
- Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add spices and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in sweet potato and simmer for about 4 minutes. Add chicken and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with cilantro
 “Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro” Rennard, B, Ronald F. Ertl, BS; Gail L. Gossman, BS; Richard A. Robbins, MD, FCCP and Stephen I. Rennard, MD, FCCP Chest. 2000;118:1150-1157
 With permission from Stop the Clock! Cooking: Defy Aging – Eat the Foods You Love, Penguin Group, 2003
 ” Garlic – A Natural Source of Cancer Preventive Compounds” Das, S. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2002;3(4):305-311
 “Garlic and aging: new insights into an old remedy” Rahman, K Aging Res Rev. 2003 Jan;2(1):39-56
 Pharmacological studies on ginger. I. Pharmacological actions of pungent constituents, (6)-gingerol and (6)-shogaol Suekawa M, Ishige A, Yuasa K, Sudo K, Aburada M, Hosoya E. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1984 Nov; 7(11):836-48.
 “Recipe adapted from Stop the Clock! Cooking: Defy Aging – Eat the Foods You Love, Penguin Group, 2003
It’s that time of year again! Yes, it’s fall and the holidays are upon us–but it’s also that time of year that pesky colds can keep you from enjoying this festival season. Besides getting your flu shot, how can you help build your body’s defenses stay strong? Below are 5 lifestyle habits that are proven to help fight flu-like symptoms to keep you healthy and happy for the holidays.
Catch Some Zzzzz’s
Getting enough sleep is proven to help fight infection, by allowing your body to focus on repair and recovery. Harvard University says that in sleep studies looking at amount of sleep and recovery rate, those who slept more had shorter symptom times than those who didn’t. Getting your zzzz’s is not just important during a time of sickness, it’s best used to prevent the cold or flu altogether! Studies suggest that regularly getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is one of the best ways to keep your immune system recharged and ready for action
Break a Sweat
I know, you’ve heard it all before–but that’s because exercise really does help keep your body in tip-top shape, including your immune system. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, but in this busy time of year a little can go a long way. Doing just 10 minutes of exercise three times throughout the day can meet your goal, so take a short walk on your break, put a little more elbow grease into cleaning the house, and do a little dancing in the living room with your family. That leads us to the next habit to stay healthy….
Laughter Really is the Best Medicine
They’re not kidding, happiness and laughter keep you healthy. In a study looking at optimism and changes in immunity, it was found that happiness and an optimistic outlook may protect health by counteracting stress-induced increases in inflammation. A positive outlook on life can increase overall well being, whether it be mental or physical. So enjoy family and friends, and have a chuckle…for your health.
Hydrate for Health
Staying hydrated is an important part of backing up your immune system’s natural defenses. Your body is 60% water and even slight dehydration can result in lowered body function. Staying hydrated throughout the day can help your body’s natural immunity stay strong throughout the cold and flu season. Aim for 8 or more glasses of water a day, and spice up your agua with a little lemon or apple cider vinegar for an extra immunity punch!
Food as Flu Defense
So we all know that the foundation for keeping a healthy body, and immune system, is a healthy diet. But what foods should you choose when you feel those flu symptoms coming on? Getting a variety of fruits and vegetables helps your body meet its vitamin and mineral needs, and chicken soup has been proven to be anti-inflammatory–showing that there is some truth to old wives’ tales. Lemon can help break down mucus, and ginger and garlic may help alleviate symptoms. But steer clear of juice and dairy–the high sugar in juice feeds infection and dairy has been shown to increase mucus in some people. Overall, eat a balance of protein, complex carbs, and fill up on vegetables and fresh fruits. The best defense is a good offense!
To find out more tips to stay healthy and happy, check out my book Positively Ageless!
© Cheryl Forberg 2015