Let’s have a Happy Healthy Holiday

Yippeee… my favorite time of the year has come! For a lot of people the arrival of the Holidays means letting go of their clean eating habits and slacking on their training and cardio… Not for you, right?? Well this year it doesn’t have to be this way because I am going to show you how to make a variety of holiday meals, treats and snacks that are low in calories and fat, but high in protein & yummy goodness that will keep you feeling in the holiday spirit without increasing your waistline.

First thing I like to do is go to the grocery store and find out what vegetables and fruits are in season and utilize them in my cooking. Fall is all about earth vegetables, ie: Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower etc. I use a great website that shows what fruits and vegetables are in season by state during the current month. http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/seasonalingredientmap With so much delicious produce to choose from it should be easy for you to find something that you and your family will enjoy.

Over the course of the next month or so I will be sharing with you some recipes I have concocted that are both delicious and good for you without all the sugar and butter most holiday treats are loaded with! For this article, I’ve decided to start with one of my favorite ingredients and one I actually like to use year round: pumpkin.

Pumpkin is chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with minerals and seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. Which means.. great for post workout In about 1 cup of canned pumpkin you there’s only 83 calories, 20 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of fiber. One of the best properties of canned pumpkin is that the consistency of pumpkin allows you to use it as a substitute for a variety of things such as butter, cream and even starch. Add some protein in there and a little bit of spice and you have a healthy yet tasty meal!

Now that your mouth is watering, here are my newly created pumpkin treats:

  • Pumpkin peach protein pancakes (this can also be used to make protein bars or cupcakes!)
  • Pumpkin puree soup
  • Hearty pumpkin and beef skillet

Pumpkin peach protein pancakes/ bars/ cake:

I made this yummy one as a cake most recently, and it turned out great!

• 4 scoops of 1st Phorm Level-1 Vanilla Ice Cream
• 3 cups of egg whites
• 3/4 cup of powdered stevia
• 2 tbsp vanilla
• 1 cup of sliced peaches
• 1/2 can pumpkin
• 1/2 cup of fat free Greek yogurt
• 2 cups of oat bran
• 2 tbsp of baking soda
• 1 tsp of ginger
• Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon

Topping: 1/2 cup of chopped peaches, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup stevia

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and PAM your baking pan or frying pan.
Blend egg whites, stevia, vanilla, protein powder, yogurt, peaches and pumpkin together. In a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients, slowly stir in wet ingredients with the dry. Pour into pan or baking pan.
If baking – Bake at 325 for about 40 min. Enjoy.

Pumpkin puree’:

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 kg pumpkin flesh, chopped
• 1 carrot
• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 4 cups low sodium chicken stock or 4 cups vegetable stock
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 cup fat free greek yogurt

Saute’ chopped carrots, pumpkin, onions and garlic on low heat in a deep pan with a tsp of olive oil,add chicken stock, boil until pumpkin is soft. Mix contents in pan and Greek yogurt in blender, and pour back into the pot. add rosemary and simmer for about 20 more minutes. Garnish with fresh bay leaves and serve.

Pumpkin and beef skillet:

• 1 pound lean ground beef (93% lean)
• 1/4 cup chopped onion
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium beef broth
• 1/2 can plain pumpkin
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup of pumpkin flesh, chopped
• 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
• 1 small zucchini, chopped
• 1 cup barley
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 tsp allspice

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add the broth, pumpkin and water; bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until barley is tender. Yields: 4 servings.

I hope you all enjoy these yummy new recipes, and remember to watch your portion sizes over the holidays.