Although this has been a very different year, somehow October still brought Halloween candy into the house, Thanksgiving came along with an exuberance of food and Christmas baking has begun. Sugar and temptation will keep coming all the way into the New Year. What to do? Here are my time-proven strategies for avoiding monumental weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Remove Temptation From the Pantry and Kitchen
- Processed snacks (chips, goldfish, graham crackers etc.)
- Baked goods (bread, bagels, store-bought muffins etc.) and granola bars (most have as much sugar as candy bars do)
- Homemade Christmas cookies go in a tin out of sight
Stick to a Meal Plan: Have a Breakfast and Dinner Rotation
- Sunday: Nutrient-rich pancakes or muffins and sausage or bacon (freeze extra
- Monday: Granola and whole-milk Greek yogurt parfait with seasonal fruit
- Tuesday: Pancakes and sausage
- Wednesday: Granola and whole-milk Greek yogurt, seasonal fruit
- Thursday: Baked oatmeal, seasonal fruit
- Friday: Baked oatmeal leftovers
- Saturday: Something egg (frittata, egg casserole/egg muffins) or breakfast tacos (freeze extra)
Here are some of my breakfast staples
- Sunday: “Anchor dinner” (meatloaf, pork tenderloin, chili)
- Monday: Vegetarian
- Tuesday: Repurpose Sunday’s dinner
- Wednesday: Fish
- Thursday: Poultry
- Friday: Leftovers
- Saturday: Order out
Notice How We Eat
- Make sure to hydrate, drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Eat only at mealtimes
- Keeping food (especially snacks and “goodies” like cookies or even granola bars) out of sight reduces the likelihood of “grazing” throughout the day. After mealtimes, put the remainder away.
- Eat mindfully – no TV, computer or reading the news on digital device
Keep “Smart Kitchen” Staples
Staples are basic, versatile ingredients used frequently, are usually fairly inexpensive, and have a long shelf life with which we can make an easy dinner. My staples are
Canned beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, salmon/sardines, whole-wheat pasta or soba noodles, oils (extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil), vinegars (apple cider, balsamic), soy sauce and chicken broth, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and spices
Ground meat, chicken breasts, sweet potato (or potato) hash browns, shelled edamame, peas, broccoli, spinach, seasonal fruit (right now cranberries)
Stock Healthy Snack Options
The key here is to allocate specific snack times. In our house mid-afternoon.
Dried fruit – alternate cranberries, raising, apricots – (ensure there’s no added sugar)
Blue corn chips, pita chips OR pretzels – I alternate
Rice cakes (no added sugar)
Seed crackers (Nut Thins or Marys Gone Crackers)
What your favorite healthy snacks?
Have Favorite Quick Pantry Dinner Recipes on Hand
Here are a couple of resources for pantry dinners. Do you have any favorites?