I survived our family’s first-annual Healthy Thanksgiving cooking marathon, which included 10+ hours of cooking and 6+ hours of driving (all packed into 2 days). Needless to say, I was exhausted by Thursday night, but it was more than worth it. Spending time with my family and starting a tradition of healthier holidays was incredible.
My almost 91-year-old grandpa (whom I haven’t seen since August) came to town for the holiday, and I was pumped to see him. He isn’t one to show much emotion, and I wasn’t sure if the changes I’ve made would even be acknowledged. Seeing his jaw drop was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced. “You’re blonde! And skinny! What happened?! Are you sick?!” It was priceless. What was even better: hearing him say that he was “so proud” of me on Thursday after the cooking and eating was done. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say that to anyone. Ever. At that point, I knew without a doubt that the past year of busting my ass completely paid off. I might have teared up a little bit.
In addition to good ol’ G-Pa Bob’s unexpected words of praise, my dad, brother, and sister-in-law’s side of the family were all quite complimentary. My sister-in-law’s grandma walked straight past me because she literally didn’t recognize me. I was (and still am) overwhelmed by how much of an impact just hearing family members recognize my hard work immediately had on me. Talking to them about the changes I’ve made was some serious positive reinforcement. I was even more motivated to make good choices in what I ate throughout the holiday week and much less nervous about feeding people mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
The food turned out better than I could have ever dreamed. The Ezekiel bread stuffing (no butter!) and Goat Cheese Brussels Sprouts totally stole the show, so I’ll be posting both of those recipes before Christmas. If you don’t try them out for your next holiday meal, you’ll be sorry. I only used refined sugar in ONE dish (which most people didn’t eat), and everything aside from that dish was made with whole, clean foods. Dessert consisted of fruit dipped in dark chocolate and a reduced-fat Coconut Cream Pie that my sister-in-law made. People, it was amazing. It took some work and forethought, but it was one of the best Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever had. I’ve never been asked “When are you opening a restaurant?” so many times in one day.
Comparing our food to the standard Thanksgiving meal, ours was WAY less in simple carbohydrates, sugar, and fat. (Yes, I calculated the nutrition facts for everything that I made and tracked it all on MFP, including the wine.) The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day alone. Nobody come close to that with our menu. I’d say it was a HUGE success.
I finished the week with a little bit (okay… a LOT) of Black Friday shopping. Turns out it’s even more fun when you feel confident and amazing in everything that you try on, which makes it easier to overspend. :/ Oh well. The worst part of the whole thing was figuring out that not only has my pant size dropped — my bra size also went down 2 full cup sizes. (Womp womp.) Bras are entirely too expensive. Thank goodness forVS’s buy one get one half off sale.
Getting Back Into the Routine
I didn’t get to squeeze in a workout on Turkey Day like I’d originally planned, but I added one on Sunday instead and still managed to fit in all 6 of my sweat sessions last week. I totally overate on Thursday, so I did my best to keep my nutrition in check over the weekend and planned/prepped all of this week’s meals on Saturday. The most important thing following a holiday “diet break” is to make sure you get back on track right after it’s over. Don’t make excuses this week. Use it as a time to get back into it with full force!
There’s a reason people tend to gain weight during this time of year. Worse news: people who are already overweight tend to proportionally gain even MORE weight over the holidays. I believe it’s because we see December as a month-long eating extravaganza when it should be just 2 big holiday meals (and maybe a few parties in between). By the end of the month, everyone seems to simultaneously notice that they’re only comfortable when wearing elastic-waist sweat pants, so we all make a New Year’s resolution to lose the weight that we’ve gained from 4 straight weeks of bad choices. We spend an entire month developing unhealthy habits, neglecting the gym because we’re “too busy,” and reaching for the Christmas cookies when we know we probably should just leave them on the plate, and then we expect to magically fix it on January 1. By doing all of this, we ultimately set ourselves up for failure.
I’m not against indulging on a big family meal during holidays, but why sabotage yourself by not eating healthily for the entire month? Thanksgiving has passed, the leftovers are (probably) gone, and you’ve got a full 3 weeks until the next big holiday. Don’t waste them. Don’t turn December into a setback month.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox. :o) If you need a little more inspiration for eating healthily this week, here’s what I’ve got on the menu:
Chocolate-Frosted Strawberry Protein Doughnuts
I REALLY wanted to go to IHOP or Kerbey Lane on Sunday morning. It was bad. All the carbs from Thursday made me want more. I randomly bought a doughnut pan at Garden Ridge on Saturday, so I decided to put it to use instead of going out for breakfast. I feel like I’ve outdone the chocolate-peanut butter flavor combo… So, out with the PB and in with the fruit! All things considered, these are actually healthier than the waffles from my last post and have less clean-up involved, but both are great breakfast options.
Nutritional Overview (per doughnut, including frosting)
Serves: 12 (1 serving = 1 doughnut)
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 cup egg whites
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup granulated Stevia
- 2-3 tsp strawberry extract (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 50g protein powder (I used 1.5 scoops of Cellucor Vanilla Creme)
- Pink gel food coloring
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup granulated Stevia
- 2 tbsp fat free, sugar free Jello chocolate pudding mix
- 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup fat free Cool Whip
- Rainbow sprinkles (optional, but 100% recommended)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Whip egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. (For some reason, mine wouldn’t peak on Sunday, so don’t worry if yours are still liquidy)
- Add all other doughnut ingredients to egg whites except both flours, protein powder, and food coloring. Mix well.
- Mix in remaining dry ingredients until batter is smooth (should be cake-like) and add in food coloring until you like the color
- Test the sweetness of your batter; add more Stevia and/or strawberry extract if needed.
- Coat your doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray and fill with batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- While doughnuts are baking, mix all frosting ingredients (except sprinkles) in a small bowl until combined. The final product should have a slightly airy texture, and it should retain its shape when spread on top of your doughnuts (not super liquidy, but not as stiff as traditional frosting)
- Top with sprinkles and serve.