Happy Healthy Holidays!

Here we are! November has come, Thanksgiving is close with Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner! The weather has cooled, or gotten downright chilly in places! I have a cousin in Alaska who loves to run, and has already had to run in snow! Brrrrr!

With all the holidays, parties, family gatherings, and more, there is usually tons of food around. That plus the cold weather usually leads to the dreaded holiday weight gain! NO!!!! Don’t let it happen to you! Every year I fight with this! Plus, I have a special event in late January coming soon! Less than three months that I want to look good for! I don’t want to gain more weight!

So, how do we avoid the winter weight gain? Here’s several tips, both in general and specifically for the winter! With a few easy things, staying fit this holiday season can be a breeze!

First, with all these parties that you are going to, do just a couple things. Don’t go hungry, and do things in moderation. If you eat something, especially something healthy, before you go somewhere you won’t be as tempted to overindulge on sweets at a party. Plus, think of moderation as you fill your plate. Feel free to have a little of what you love, but don’t overload your plate with too much. Too much of anything will cause your body to be out of balance, cause you not to feel good, and when I don’t feel good, I tend to be less careful with what I eat. Have a treat, but not ten!

Keep exercising! Get yourself a cute workout outfit for the outdoors and keep going! Layer well so you can keep your body at a healthy temperature- not too cold but not too hot! Get a routine going that will help you keep on track, and stick to it! This is one area I really struggle in, but going to get it going! Include some variety so you don’t get bored by the same exercises all the time. And winter is a great time to add ice skating, skiing, and snow-shoeing to your routine, all great workouts!

Adapt some of your seasonal favorites to be a little healthier. Eat some superfoods along with that pumpkin pie! Some great seasonal foods include squashes, apples and popcorn! Just make sure you aren’t adding too much sugar to them- light sprinkles instead of clumps. Many dishes can be changed just a little to be much healthier for you. I make homemade mac n cheese instead of the store bought that is still fantastic, but so much better for us.

Drink water! Just because it isn’t hot outside doesn’t mean you can stop drinking water. It helps with digestion, helps you feel fuller, plus is just great for you! Skip the sugar drinks and just have plain water instead. I personally tend to be more dehydrated during the winter than any other time of year.

When you do choose to indulge, choose one or two things to eat and then stop! Just stop! Or share a piece of pie with someone else- you get the taste, but not all the calories!

Have a happy, healthy holiday season!

Speaking of indulging, try the Peanut Butter Brownie cookies! Naturally gluten free, super rich, you only need one to hit the spot!

Super Rich Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

These cookies are extra rich, but a small batch, so you get just enough! While it's quick to mix together, the dough does need to chill before baking, so plan ahead!

Serves: 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 cookies

1 1/4 cups peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

I highly recommend a stand mixer for this recipe! Mixing by hand takes forever and it's too thick for hand mixers. Also a quick note, I recommend just normal peanut butter- not natural or homemade which result in thinner, flatter cookies instead of the thick cookies we want.

To begin, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla in a bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium high speed until well combined and no longer gritty, about five minutes. Scrape the bowl as necessary.

Add the cocoa and baking powder. Beat until incorporated. Dough may be a bit crumbly. If too dry, add a little more peanut butter, about 1-2 tablespoons. It should stick together when squeezed together.

Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough, press together and place it on a plate. Press gently down with a fork to create grid pattern on top. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours, and up to 5 days. Do not try to bake warm dough! The cookies spread out and do not end up all thick and rich!

After chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your pans with either parchment or spray. Place cold dough on pans, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are set. Don't overbake! Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temp for up to a week. Enjoy!

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    Brenda Lower
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2015
    Email the author! brenda@dvo.com

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