Friendsgiving Recap and Five Healthy Tips for the Holidays

Soooo I threw my first Friendsgiving party last Friday and it was a blast! An evening full of great company, delicious food, beverages, laughter, and even a little crafting.


It was potluck style … with a slight twist…in that one person has a wheat allergy (Celiac), another is allergic to tree nuts, and I am vegan. So no wheat, meat, dairy, eggs, or tree nuts. If you thinking that there isn’t much to work with or that we only had salad – let me stop you there and tell you about the delicious dishes we had and that you could easily make too.



Pre-dinner snacks: Homemade guacamole, Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips, fresh salsa, & baby carrots.

guac          20141121_182642

Dinner: Green Bean Casserole, Pumpkin Risotto, Celery Root and Potato Puree, & Quinoa “Stuffing” with Roasted Butternut Squash, Granny Smith Apples, and Cranberries.

20141121_183558 20141121_183839


Dessert: Pumpkin Pie Truffles & Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


Lettuce not forget the RED, red WINE & Punch



After dinner we made Christmas ornaments. It is only fitting that a bunch of dietitians would make cupcake ornaments…. vegan-, gluten free-, tree nut free- cupcakes that is 😉

desserts and crafts

Friends-giving is definitely something I plan to make a tradition that gets bigger and better each year. It is essential to make time like this during the busy holiday season. Friends are the family that we choose and I couldn’t be more thankful for mine.


group shot

Now for some tips to keep you healthy this holiday season.

1) Get enough sleep. Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night. Sleep deprivation will not only increase fatigue but can lead to increased food cravings & weight gain. Studies have shown lack of sleep can cause increased levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and decreased levels leptin, satiety/fullness hormone. So get that beauty rest!

2) Eat a balanced breakfast containing whole grains, a healthy fat, and some protein. This is essential to keeping blood sugars balanced, energy levels high, and mood swings in check. Don’t skip breakfast in an attempt to “save” calories for later because all this does is cause an overly ravenous appetite which usually leads to overeating.

3) Fit in some physical activity. Stick to your normal exercise routine as much as possible. But for the days when that isn’t going to fly, plan to move your body some in way for 20-30 minutes: go for a walk, stretch, have a dance party. Fresh air and movement will leave you feeling refreshed and energized which we all need with shorter days and busy schedules.

4) Drink up… water that is. Staying hydrated is essential for optimal energy and appetite control. If you are drinking alcohol aim to have a glass of water before and after your beverage of choice. Add a slice of a citrus fruit, cucumber, or ginger to spruce things up.

5) Last but not least, enjoy your food and the people around you! When it comes to food, if you don’t love something, don’t put it on your plate. Remember the saying quality over quantity? Well this applies to the way we eat. I am not big into deprivation so I don’t have a list of specific foods or beverages to avoid like the plague. Why? Because healthy eating is flexible and it’s not the end of the world if you get off track a day or two. Pay attention to your satiety, appreciate your meals, and enjoy treats as desired. The holidays may be centered around delicious meals and beverages but keep in mind these are not the only things to embrace during the season. Holidays are about having fun, spending time with loved ones, and expressing gratitude.


Have a great holiday!



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