The average American gains 5-10 lbs during the holiday season. This year it is especially a problem because many are carrying an extra 10-30 lbs of COVID weight.
There are promises to get back on track and start anew in 2022 but we are challenging you to enjoy the season without completely giving up. Take the time to exercise. Take time out for yourself to reset. It is your holiday too. Enjoy yourself during celebrations and special events but reign it in. More importantly, do not let the busy season be an excuse to poorly eat every other night. As our gift to you, we are including some healthy options to consider so that you can stay on track. Your friends and family will thank you for considering their health as well. All of these recipes are easy and most of all, nutrient-rich to keep you going until 2022!!!!
A fireside evening with friends and family…
Spiced and Herbed Nuts
- 3 T grass-fed butter or avocado oil
- 3 T Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 t salt
- 1⁄2 t cinnamon
- 1⁄4 t garlic powder
- 1⁄4 t cayenne pepper
- Dash Hot sauce
- 1 lb pecans or nut mixture of pecans, walnuts and cashews
Cannellini Bean and Pistachio Hummus
- 2 1⁄2 cups drained cannellini beans
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1⁄2 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 T champagne vinegar
- 2 T flat leaf parsley or 1 T dried organic parsley
- 1 T tahini
- 2 t lemon juice
- 1 t lemon zest
- 1 t cumin
- 1 1⁄2 t Himalayan salt
- In a food processor combine all ingredients on high until smooth. Add olive oil if needed
Spinach and Avocado Dip
- 5 cups of baby spinach
- 1 large avocado
- 1⁄2 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice of one lemon
- 1⁄2 t Himalayan salt
- 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Serve with vegetables, rice crackers or corn chips.
Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
- 5-7 slices of nitrate-free prosciutto
- 1 lb shrimp tail on
- 2 T grass-fed organic butter or avocado oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Cut prosciutto slices into 1 in by 4-5 in strips. Melt butter and add garlic powder and salt and pepper.
- Wrap each shrimp with prosciutto strips and baste with butter mixture. Bake in dish for 8-10 minutes or when prosciutto is crispy.
Farro and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Dried Tart Cherries
If you have never tried farro this recipe is a reason to give it a try. It has a nutty flavor and is a perfect pairing for kale and dried cherries.
- 1 c uncooked farro, rinsed
- 1 big bunch curly green kale, ribs removed
- and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1⁄2 c raw sliced almonds
- 1/3 c chopped dried tart cherries
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
- Cook farro according to package directions. While cooking combine ingredients for dressing and allow to sit. Place chopped kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and massage it with your hands. Toast almonds in the oven or in a skillet. Pour toasted almonds in a bowl with kale and combine.
- Once farro cooked and drained stir in chopped cherries and vinaigrette. Once farro is cooled to room temperature stir into kale mixture. Gently fold in goat cheese crumbles. Serve immediately. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The wasabi marinade will bring out the flavor of the grass-fed beef and also make it more tender. Make an effort to marinate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 8 hours. The anti-inflammatory additions to this marinade can help to reduce any negative effects of cooking or grilling but still make an effort to avoid burning or causing char.
- 1⁄4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 T soy sauce
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1⁄2 t freshly grated ginger
- 1 T powdered wasabi powder
- 3 lbs strip steak or filet, grass fed organic
- In bowl combine all ingredients until dissolved. Put steaks in a glass dish or stainless-steel pan (Not plastic!!!). Add marinate and coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or longer turning occasionally. Grill steaks but do not allow to char.
Halibut with Avocado Sauce
The simple avocado sauce makes the fish. You can use any white fish in place of the halibut.
- 1 medium ripe avocado
- 2 T lime juice
- 1⁄4 cup plain yogurt
- 1⁄4 t hot sauce
- 3-4 oz halibut filets Salt and pepper
- 1⁄4 cup diced red onion 1⁄4 cup diced tomato
- 4 T chopped cilantro
- 1 T white wine
- Preheat grill or broiler and cook fish for 3-5 minutes on each side. Combine avocado, lime juice, yogurt, hot sauce, and wine in a mixer and mix until smooth. Top each filet with 2 T avocado sauce and onion, tomato, and cilantro.
Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Tart Cherries
Who says being heart-healthy cannot be sweet? This bark is loaded with polyphenols from the chocolate as well as antioxidants from the cherries. Pistachios have been shown to lower BP and cholesterol.
Melt 5 oz of dark chocolate (70% or higher) in a microwave-safe glass bowl or on top of a double boiler. Add 1 t coconut oil. Mix well. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with 1⁄2 cup pistachios and 1/3 cup tart cherries. Chill one hour then break into 8 or fewer pieces.
Can substitute 1/3 cup tart dried cranberries.
Thrive Energy Balls
- 2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup of nut butter (almond, peanut or cashew)
- 2/3 c honey
- 1⁄2 cup of 2-3 of the following:
- Sunflower seeds
- Ground flaxseed
- Hemp seed
- Chopped dates
- Chocolate chips
- Coconut flakes
Mix all ingredients well. Roll into balls and freeze.
A quick healthy dinner before wrapping presents or trimming the tree….
Modified Caesar Salad
Don’t be put off by this Caesar alternative. The beans and nutritional yeast make an excellent alternative to the traditional dressing ingredients. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins too.
- 6 large Romaine, torn into pieces
- 2 T pureed anchovies
- 4 T lemon juice
- 2 t minced garlic
- 1 cup white beans, drained, rinsed, and pureed in processor.
- 4 T nutritional yeast (can use parmesan cheese when not on a detox or not dairy-free)
- 1⁄2 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 t black pepper (when not on the detox)
- 1⁄4 c cold water
Combine all ingredients, except greens, in food processor and process until smooth. Toss with greens. Can top with proteins like beans, grilled shrimp or salmon or seasoned chicken.
Pistachio Crusted Fish
This simple recipe works well with any firm white fish. Try cod, grouper, red snapper, or halibut.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a cup of shelled pistachios in a food processor and pulse until nuts just ground. Add a small handful of parsley and salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper, pulse once or twice more. Cut any hearty fish filet into large pieces and rub with olive oil; press the pistachio mixture on them to form a crust. Put in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with more olive oil. Cook until golden brown and done in the middle. ( 6-12 minutes depending on thickness )
Serve with lemon slices.
Sheet Pan Chicken with Pancetta, Brussel Sprouts and Shallots
Simple and filled with flavor. Sunchokes are great prebiotic food and will make your gut friends happy.
- 4 T olive oil
- 2 T fresh thyme, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 8 bone in organic chicken thighs
- 1 lb Brussel sprouts, halved
- 1⁄4 lb nitrate free pancetta, diced
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 5 Sunchokes sliced into 1 inch pieces
- Preheat oven to 475. In a large bowl combine vegetables, thyme, pancetta, white wine, lemon slices. Line pan with parchment. Layout thighs. Top with the mixture. Roast 20-25 minutes.
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms, gills removed
- Avocado pesto, see recipe under sauces
- 1⁄4 c grated mozzarella cheese
- Roma tomato sliced thin
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean out gills of mushrooms. Fill each mushroom with ample pesto to fill bottom. Layer tomatoes over pesto then top with cheese and seasonings. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and becomes bubbly.
A wholesome dinner after the Children’s Christmas Show…
Whip up the salad before you go and let the slow cooker prepare dinner so it will be ready when you return.
Slow Cooker Tikka Masala
Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods this easy prep dish can be served over brown rice or cauliflower rice. You can substitute the chicken with 2 cans of chickpeas for a vegetarian option.
- 1 1⁄2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 1 1⁄2 t salt
- 1/2T ghee
- 1⁄2 onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 6 T full fat coconut milk
- 1⁄4 cup fresh picked cilantro leaves
- Brown Rice
- 1 t grated fresh ginger 1⁄2 t turmeric
- 1⁄2 t garam masala
- 1 t ground coriander 1 t ground cumin
- 1⁄4 t cayenne pepper
- 1⁄4 t ground cardamom
- Cut chicken into cubes and place in an oiled slow cooker. Season wit salt. In a skillet melt ghee, add onion and garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cayenne and cardamom. Cook until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Transfer to a blender and add tomatoes. Blend until smooth then pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. When finished adding coconut milk and mix well. Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
Sardinia Minestrone (adapted recipe)
This recipe is adapted from the minestrone presented in the Blue Zones. It is packed with all of the good stuff and a hearty dinner. Make sure to pack some for lunch the following day.
- 1 can garbanzo beans, organic BPA free, drained and rinsed
- 1 can cannellini beans, organic BPA free, drained and rinsed
- 3 T extra virgin olive oil / 4 T olive oil for topping
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 2/3 cup)
- 2 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1⁄2 cup) [Can chop all vegetables in a food processor to save time]
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz can finely diced tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped and one fennel bulb chopped ( optional )
- 1⁄4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
- 2 T basil leaves chopped
- 1⁄2 t dried oregano leaves
- 1 cup Sardinia fregula, Israeli couscous or small gluten-free pasta
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup filtered water and additional if needed
- 1⁄2 t fresh ground pepper and 1⁄2 t salt and 1⁄4 t red pepper flakes
- 1⁄4 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
Warm 3 T olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celery and cook until soft but not browned. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, pasta, potatoes, fennel, parsley, and basil as well as drained beans and chickpeas. Add broth and tomato sauce and mix well. Add enough water to that everything is submerged by 1 inch Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until beans are tender, adding more water if necessary. Simmer time approximately 1 1⁄2 hours.
Stir in pasta, salt, and pepper. Add up to two additional cups of water or broth if soup is too dry with the addition of pasta. Simmer until tender, approximately 10 minutes.
Pour 1 T of olive oil in serving bowl then divide soup into serving bowls. Top with 1 T grated cheese.
Super Seven Salad with Chickpeas and Avocado Dressing
A Thrive original recipe that gets rave reviews. The chickpea addition is optional. Can also be topped with cooked chicken or shrimp. Packed with all the good stuff. The avocado dressing is a perfect match but we also found the Annie’s Poppy Seed dressing was great too.
- 3 cups green kale cut up
- 1 cup red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup dried organic cranberries
- 1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas or 1 1⁄2 cups cooked
- 1 avocado
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro or basil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup of water (or less)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- (Meat Condiment: Add chopped cooked shrimp or chicken to the salad. Be mindful of portions aiming for
no more than 2-3 oz)
Apple and Cranberry Crisp with Coconut Cashew Cream Topping
- 4 cups of cubed apples, skin on
- 1 cup fresh cranberries or 1⁄2 cup organic dried cranberries
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 2 T flour or arrowroot ( see substitutions for gluten-free)
- 1⁄2 t cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
- 2 T flour ( see substitutions for gluten-free)
- 1/2 t salt
- 4-5 T organic liquid coconut oil
- Coconut Cashew Cream 1⁄2 canned full fat coconut milk 1⁄2 cup raw whole cashews soaked for 4 hours then
drained 2 T maple syrup Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare fruit. Toss ingredients with fruit to coat. Put ingredients into an oiled casserole dish. Mix ingredients for topping. Scatter over fruit. Bake 35 minutes until bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes and serve with cashew cream.