healthy holiday dinner ideas

Here’s some food for thought…

If you dream of your holiday dinner, you’re not alone. Eating definitely takes center stage during the holidays. Between the stuffing and the homemade pumpkin pies, it can be easy to overeat and make unhealthy choices. You know what we’re talking about – That all too familiar “food coma” or “food baby” joke that goes around the table!

The good news is, there are small but effective things we can do to upgrade our dinner plate over the holidays:

1. Upgrade your gravy

For many people, gluten creates inflammation in our body and is difficult to digest. It can be hidden in many Thanksgiving goodies, even gravy! Gravy packets are full of kryptonite ingredients like MSG, GMO wheat gluten, GMO cornstarch and are so high in table salt. To upgrade your gravy add arrowroot starch, organic corn starch or gluten free-flour to thicken your gravy in lieu of wheat flour or gravy packets. Add coloured salt like pink or grey salt instead of table salt. These mineral-rich salts are excellent for our bones and teeth!

2. Eat your potatoes cooled

You don’t have to ditch the carbs altogether! Eating hot potatoes can spike your blood sugar, but allowing them to cool gives the starches time to gel into a resistant starch. Resistant starches cannot be broken down by us, which means they become food (a prebiotic) for the good bacteria in our gut. Limit/ditch the refined carbs like the stuffing and pie, as over indulging in these will feed the bad bacteria and spike your blood sugar.

3. Limit alcohol intake

It’s all in good fun to have a cocktail every down and then, especially on a special occasion like a holiday. What’s not fun, however, is the nasty headache and hit to our metabolism that often follows. If you are going to indulge, avoid drinking while you eat as this can disrupt your body’s digestive processes.

4. Eat with intention

To avoid overeating, we can incorporate some mindful and intuitive practices during dinner. Focus on the pace in which you eat and paying attention to the actual eating experience, rather than just the food itself. Try to think about the relationships and connections with the loved ones you are spending the holiday with, put away your phone, sit down while you eat and take in your food with all of your senses so that you eat with purpose & intention.

5. Make your own cranberry sauce

Cranberries are actually one of the healthiest foods. They are known to prevent UTIs, certain cancers, decrease blood pressure and boost immunity. Canned, store-bought cranberry sauce, however, is packed with unnecessary sugars and chemicals. Making cranberry sauce is actually super easy and it’s a great hostess gift! Buy fresh cranberries, bring them to a boil with grated orange or lemon zest, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add monk fruit sweetener to taste, throw it in a cute mason jar with a bow and voila!

6. Save your turkey bones and make your own bone broth!

Bone broth is more than just a trendy health food – It is a superfood for your fascia! Research shows that bone broth is a gut-healing remedy that comes with a wide variety of benefits including protection of the the gut lining, feeding good bacteria, bolstering immunity, reducing joint pain/inflammation and can even be calming to the mind. Throw the bones (and any giblets) into a slow-cooker or instant pot with water and your favourite veggies, herbs and spices.

Above everything, don’t overthink it! Stick to your nutrition plan as best as you can and make sure to enjoy the special time you have with your loved ones. Afterall, that’s what’s most important over the holidays!

About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.