Exercise to Burn Off Favorite Holiday FoodsExercise to Burn Off Favorite Holiday Foods

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Exercise to Burn Off Favorite Holiday Foods

There is nothing wrong with choosing a few special treats during the holidays, but going overboard can undo weeks of healthy eating and exercise. Before you make the decision to cave into a craving, use this guide as a reminder of how hard you will have to work to offset the extra calories.

Candied Sweet Potatoes (1/2 cup)

Calories: 210

Burn it off: Walking at 3.5 miles per hour for 60 minutes.

Lighten it up: Serve baked sweet potatoes topped with 5 mini-marshmallows. 172 calories

Gingerbread (1 slice)

Calories: 263

Burn it off: Fast ballroom dancing for 45 minutes.

Lighten it up: Choose 1 to 2 small gingerbread cookies instead. 150 to 200 calories

Peppermint Mocha (12 ounces, made with 2% milk and whipped cream)

Calories: 320

Burn it off: Weight training for 50 minutes.

Lighten it up: Ask for skim milk and no whipped cream. 220 calories

Eggnog (1 cup)

Calories: 342

Burn it off: Shoveling snow for 52 minutes.

Lighten it up: Choose light or low-fat eggnog and cut your serving to ½ cup. 140 calories

Homemade Pecan Pie (1 slice)

Calories: 502

Burn it off: Jogging 5.2 miles per hour for 48 minutes.

Lighten it up: Have only half a slice or choose a slice of pumpkin pie instead. 228 calories

*All calorie expenditures are based on a 150 pound female.

Apple Cinnamon Avocado Smoothie RecipeApple Cinnamon Avocado Smoothie

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Avocados give smoothies a creamy texture and a boost of heart-healthy fat. In this simple recipe, avocado is combined with applesauce and cinnamon for a delicious breakfast or refreshing afternoon snack that is naturally sweetened without added sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 smoothie
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16.3g
9%Saturated Fat 1.8g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 187mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.7g
Dietary Fiber 7.6g
Sugars 6.3g
Protein 2.7g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 1 smoothie

Preparation time: 5 minutes


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ to 1 cup ice


  1. Place all ingredients, except for the ice, in a blender. Cover and puree for 30 seconds.
  2. Add half of the ice and puree about 30 more seconds, until it is blended. Add more ice based on your desired thickness.
  3. Pour into a glass and serve right away.

7 Ways to Eat Healthy During Holiday Meals7 Ways to Eat Healthy During Holiday Meals

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Healthy Holiday Meals

Cook and bake in single servings.

Often it’s not the holiday foods, but the portions that send calorie intake through the roof. Instead of using large casserole dishes, use oven-safe ramekins that hold ½ to 1 cup of food. Fill them with baked side dishes like sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, or stuffing. When your servings are pre-measured, it eliminates the temptation to scoop large portions onto your plate.

Go heavy on the vegetables.

Adding extra vegetables is a good way to fill up and improve the nutrition of your meal with fewer calories. Add extras to salads like chopped broccoli, sliced bell peppers, and sliced cabbage. Add diced mushrooms or shredded carrots to stuffing, and mix finely chopped cauliflower into casseroles.

Limit your choices.

When there are too many choices, it is tempting to try a little of every dish. This results in an overflowing plate of generous bites. Plan a holiday meal like you would any other. Select two vegetables or fruits, a protein source, and a grain. Of course, these dishes may be dressed up for the holidays, but stick with only four to five separate dishes. You will be able to taste all of the options and still keep the portions and calories under control.

Take a water break.

Put the focus on the special food and skip the high calorie drinks. Sipping on water instead of sweet tea and soda can drastically reduce your calorie intake. Drinking water between courses and between cocktails can also help to fill you up and keep you hydrated, lessening the effects of the alcohol and excess sodium.

Don’t pass up true treats.

"Eat and enjoy" is advice not shared often enough during the holiday season. The holidays bring special foods that you eat only once a year. Pass on more common items like rolls and mashed potatoes. Take one serving of special holiday foods and enjoy every bite. Forcing yourself to pass up on true treats will only make you feel deprived and that is no way to spend a healthy holiday season.

Practice mindful eating.

Planning, tending to guests, and bustling conversations can be distracting. When it is time to join the table, keep mindful eating high on your priority list. Eat slowly and focus on the flavor of the food. Put your fork down between bites and take sips of water. These small changes will slow your eating, help you enjoy your meal, and keep you aware of your hunger level.

Take on new traditions.

Special family recipes will always be part of the holidays, but making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle may mean that it's time to start a few new traditions. Delicious food doesn't have to be loaded with calories, fat, and sodium. While the average Thanksgiving meal contains 4,500 calories, the 3-course healthy holiday meal listed below is under 710 calories. It also has a fraction of the fat and sodium of a typical holiday meal, but with all of the traditional flavor.


Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Feta (166 calories)

Main Course:

Almond Dijon Turkey Cutlets (206 calories)

Side Dishes:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pomegranate (84 calories)

Carrot, Chickpea, and Farro Salad with Thyme (157 calories)


Spiced Crustless Pumpkin Pie (96 calories)

10-minute Circuit Workout10-minute Circuit Workout

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

10-minute Circuit Workout

When you are short on time even a small amount of exercise will boost your energy and ease stress. This quick, but challenging workout can be squeezed into any busy day. March in place to warm up a few minutes before you begin and cool down with some light stretching. When time allows, repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times for a full 20 to 30 minute workout.

Cardio Shuffle (90 seconds)

Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend the knees slightly, lowering into an easy squat. Quickly shuffle your feet while staying in place. The faster you shuffle the more challenging the move.

Squats with a Knee Raise (60 seconds)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower into a full squat (sit back and keep your knees behind your toes). Return to the starting position and raise your right knee high, towards your chest as you contract your abs. Return the foot to the floor, squat and repeat with your left knee.

Side-to-Side Shuffle (90 seconds)

Repeat the Cardio Shuffle, but this time shuffle to your right for 4 counts and back to your left for 4 counts, moving your feet as quickly as possible. Continue side-to-side for the full 90 seconds.

Jumping Lunges (60 seconds)

Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge position. Lower the left knee to the ground and bend the right knee, being sure that it doesn’t shift forward past your toes. Push yourself up with an explosive movement, jumping into the air. As you jump, switch your legs so your left foot is forward and your right foot back. Lower into a lunge, jump and repeat.

Alternating Toe Touches (90 seconds)

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and with your arms extended out to each side at shoulder level. Keeping your leg straight, kick your right leg out in front of you, raising it to waist level. At the same time, reach your left hand towards your toes, rotating the torso. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Alternating Side Planks (60 seconds)

Get into plank position on your toes with straight arms and hands directly below the shoulders (as if you were preparing to do a standard push-up). Shift your weight to your right hand as you rotate to the left. Turn your right foot so that the outside is in contact with the floor and your left foot is stacked on top of it. Support yourself with your right arm and the outside of the right foot. Extend your left arm up into the air so that there is a straight line from your right hand, across your shoulders, to your left hand in the air. Return to the starting position and rotate to your right to repeat on the other side.

Mountain Climbers (90 seconds)

Stay in plank position. Pull your right knee towards your chest and rest your right toes on the floor. Jump slightly to switch your feet and land with your left knee in and toes on the floor. Continue to jump and alternate the legs.

Push-ups (60 seconds)

Stay in plank position and move your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. You can perform the exercise on your toes or on your knees. Lower your chin to the ground, keeping your abs tight and your body in a straight line from head to heels (or knees). Push back up to the starting position.

Spicy Fish Stew RecipeSpicy Fish Stew

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Spicy Fish Stew Recipe

This stew helps you break out of a boring lunch routine by providing a new way to increase your intake of protein-rich fish. It is also loaded with filling, nutritious vegetables. If you don't like spicy foods, you can easily adjust the heat level by using less cayenne pepper or by substituting a mild chili powder.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/6 recipe
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3.1g
2%Saturated Fat 0.3g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 33mg
Sodium 328mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.8g
Dietary Fiber 3.2g
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 14.5g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (15 oz.) can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 12 oz. cod (or other firm white fish), cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a 4 to 5 quart soup pot. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and onions. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the paprika, cayenne, and coriander. Add the bay leaf.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and the vegetable stock. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil.
  4. Add the fish. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for 5 to 7 minutes, until the fish begins to flake. Discard the bay leaf.
  5. Stir in the salt and pepper. Serve warm.
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