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Surviving the Holidays | Holiday Nutrition Tips to stay on track this Holiday Season

When I think of the holidays, family and food are the first two things that come to mind. This season can be stressful, especially if you’ve committed to a specific nutritional regimen for health or performance. But, with some planning and determination, you can maintain your nutrition goals amidst the festivities.

Staying On Track During the Holidays

Time Management

November and December are packed with work events, parties, and shopping sprees. Still, these distractions don’t mean abandoning your nutritional goals. Adjust your focus, plan, and stay positive. Remember, you always have control over your choices.

Meal Prep Solutions

If you’re swamped and can’t prepare meals, consider meal prep services like Eat Fit Go, Evolve, Trifecta, Ice Age Meals, and Icon Meals. They provide quality meals tailored to your macro goals and deliver right to your doorstep.

Emergency Food Bag

Keep an emergency food bag in your car for unplanned delays. Pack it with RXBars, mixed nuts, veggies, fruits, protein powder, and hard-boiled eggs. Being prepared beats skipping a meal.

Holiday Parties & Dinners

Attending events is inevitable during this season. Enjoy them, but keep your goals in mind. If you’re strict with your nutrition during weekdays, allow some leeway during weekend events. Remember to be conscious of portion sizes and not treat it as an excuse to overindulge.

If you’re eyeing the dessert table, distract yourself by mingling. If you indulge, pick a few favorites and limit your portions. Total restriction can lead to loss of control, so find a balance.

Alcoholic Beverages

Watch your drink choices. Avoid calorie-loaded drinks. Opt for light beers, Prosecco, or Champagne, or mix clear liquors like vodka with water or sparkling water. These choices can keep your calorie count low.

Bring Your Food

Contribute a healthy dish to gatherings. It ensures you have a nutritious option and might help someone with similar goals.

Major Holidays: Thanksgiving & Christmas

These holidays are about gratitude, friends, and family. If you’re committed to a nutrition regimen, they might also bring anxiety. Here are some tips for enjoying the holidays guilt-free:

  • Stay Active: Keep up with your training sessions.
  • Adjust Your Diet: Consider lower carb intake around the holidays to accommodate festive meals.
  • Opt For Healthier Alternatives: Revamp traditional dishes with healthier ingredients. I’ve listed some of my favorites below.
  • Mind Your Portions: Listen to your fullness cues. Using a smaller plate can help.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water can prevent excess water retention from unfamiliar foods.

Remember, occasional weight fluctuations after holidays are normal. The key is to return to your regimen afterward.

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Cauliflower Stuffing

Makes six servings.

2 TB Coconut Oil (could use 3TB Butter or Ghee instead)
1 Sweet Onion, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 Large Carrots, chopped 
1 Small Head of Cauliflower, chopped (or one bag of frozen Riced Cauliflower)
1/4c Fresh Parsley chopped 
2 TB Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 TB Fresh Sage, chopped 
1/2c Bone Broth (vegan can use vegetable broth)
Black Pepper
Sea Salt


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add in the onion, carrot and celery. Saute until everything is soft.
  2. Add in cauliflower, and season with pepper and salt to taste. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, about 5-10 min. 
  3. Add the parsley, rosemary, sage and bone broth.  Cook until everything is completely tender and the broth is absorbed—roughly another 10 min.

Sweet Potato Mash

2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk 
2 tablespoons Kerrygold butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tbsp Cinnamon (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Carefully add the sweet potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
  2. Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, shaking to remove all of the water. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add 1/4 cup almond milk, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Use a potato masher or hand blender and mash the potatoes until smooth. Add additional almond milk if necessary. Serve warm.

Protein Pumpkin Cheesecake

Makes 8 Servings

16 oz Greek yogurt cream cheese (Franklin Foods @HyVee)
10 oz Triple Zero Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or plain is ok)
Three large eggs
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond or Coconut Milk 
Three scoops Ascent Whey Protein Vanilla
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
15 oz can of canned 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie)
1 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or you can do 1 tbsp Cinnamon, 1.5 tsp Ginger, ¾ tsp Cloves in place of Pumpkin Pie Spice)


  1. Let the cream cheese, yogurt, & eggs sit out until they reach room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the Greek yogurt to the cream cheese & mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the protein powder slowly to the mixture & mix until well combined.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients one by one & let mix; you want it thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour into a greased round glass pie dish.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes; AFTER 25 min, turn the oven down to 180 degrees and allow it to bake another 30-35 min.
  9. Let the cheesecake cool on the counter for about 20 minutes, then move it to the refrigerator to cool completely.
  10. Cut into eight pieces & serve.

Green Bean Casserole

Makes about 6, 1c servings

For the Green Beans:

2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed

For the Crispy Onion Topping:
1 tbsp olive oil
One large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt

For the Mushroom Sauce:
1 tbsp coconut oil or avocado 
8-10 medium cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Four cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 cup chicken bone broth
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional or can use almond cheese)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and grease a 9×13 or larger glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and then set aside.
  2. Add the green beans to the boiling water for 4-5 minutes or until almost tender but still slightly crisp. Drain the cooked green beans, then transfer to a bowl filled with ice water to stop them from cooking more.
  3. Heat coconut or avocado oil in a large skillet pan over medium-high heat until hot to make the crispy onion topping.
  4. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until they are tender and starting to brown. Remove the onions, place into a medium bowl, and set aside.
  5. Add the almond meal to the pan you used to cook the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until the almond meal turns lightly golden. Careful not to burn.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer the toasted almond meal to the bowl with the onions. Stir in the 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese and sea salt, then toss the mixture until combined. Set aside.
  7. Heat more coconut/avocado oil in the same skillet pan until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  9. Sprinkle the chickpea flour over the mushrooms and stir to combine.
  10. Slowly add the chicken bone broth, whisking to combine until smooth.
  11. Whisk in the almond milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
  12. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup parmesan cheese or almond cheese, sea salt, and pepper until the cheese is melted.
  13. Transfer the cooked, chilled green beans into the pan with the mushroom sauce and toss until combined.
  14. Pour the green bean mixture into the prepared glass dish and then evenly top with the crispy onion topping.
  15. Place in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.