As the Jewish holidays roll around, every year I hear my friends, family, clients and myself saying, here comes the gluttony! If your family is anything like mine, we treasure delicious foods on the holidays particularly the sweets. And on Rosh Hashanah, our Jewish new year, we celebrate a “sweet new year” with sweets galore! But this year, as a quickly approaching October bride-to-be, I need to keep my sweets in check! Here’s to a sweet new year, Your Secret Ingredient style…
Why have you done a good thing?
As we have discussed before here at Your Secret Ingredient, everything in moderation! Particularly around the holidays, we celebrate life through great people, good conversation, and of course delicious foods. But when you are dieting for a big event or weight loss like I am right now, the holidays can be most difficult and it can be tempting to just forget the rules. But getting through the holidays successfully can be one of the best and rewarding challenges and a great self-esteem boost.
Here is how I make it through holidays, parties and social gatherings while dieting for the wedding:
1) I exercise that morning. If I workout that day with a good sweat, I don’t want to blow it away on one meal. Exercise keeps you focused.
2) I don’t go hungry. I stay lite and lean with all meals and snacks before I go out to save on calories but I never skip meals or snacks, eating every 2-3 hours in very small portions. I have high protein and vegetable-rich snacks before I go anywhere; this way I can make decisions with my brain, not my stomach. My go-to: rice cakes with peanut butter and carrot sticks.
3) I negotiate with myself. I read menus ahead of time or plan ahead what special treat I will have at the party. Will it be a bite or dessert or a glass of wine? What exactly am I going to order? Planning ahead makes all the difference in the world.
4) I bring the healthy option. If someone asks me to bring dessert, I bring a platter of fruit in addition to a homemade baked good. Everyone appreciates the healthy choice.
5) Out of sight out of mind. At parties, I stay far away from buffets and platters of foods. I try my best to surround myself with supportive friends and family who will help me make healthy decisions (thank you MR).
6) I keep my eye on the prize. I know that nothing will taste sweeter then looking fabulous in that wedding dress. Focus on your motivation. What is your ultimate goal?
Now enough diet talk. Let’s talk food! Here are some sweet new year treats that have been lightened up. Even if you are dieting you deserve some portion-controlled fun too!
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oatmeal
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp cold whipped butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
6-7 Braeburn apples, thinly sliced (with or without skin)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
½ cup 100% apple juice
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, walnuts, 1 tsp cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter and blend with a fork or pastry blender to form small pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, white sugar, corn starch, apple juice and lemon juice, and remaining cinnamon, stirring well.
Into a large pie pan sprayed with cooking spray, add apple mixture. Evenly top the apples with butter topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm.
Lightened Up Challah French Toast Casserole (for breakfast the next morning!)
1 raisin challah, cubed into 1 inch pieces
6 large eggs
6 additional egg whites
2 cups almond milk or skim milk
1 tbp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup slivered almonds
½ cup raisins
1 cup chopped apples (any variety you like!)
2 tbsp maple syrup
Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan. Add the apples, raisins and almonds on top evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight
The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Drizzle 2 tbsp of maple syrup over the casserole and serve.
Happy New Year!
--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN