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Staying Healthy Over The Holidays🎄

Deidra Mangus, forever fit with a taste of faith, healthy cookbook, healthy holiday tips, staying healthy over the holidays, healthy 2021, weight loss journey, staying healthy during COVID, healthy military family, healthy holiday recipes, healthy appetizer recipes

It is so hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner! 2020 has gone by so fast! So many changes, lots of obstacles, set-backs, but also hopefully you have also seen some blessings along the way this year!!

I know there are trials, but blessings always follow and it’s important to find joy in all things!!

Many of us are not able to celebrate the holidays with ALL of our family, but hopefully we are still able to be with some of our loved ones! With that said, there may or may not be lots of food and treats along the way!

I have seen over the years and have been guilty myself of making the holidays about food and gifts. I know that is NOT the true meaning and I hope that as parents or adults, that we can share what Christmas is all about and that is Jesus! No amount of food or gifts could EVER give us the love, grace, forgiveness, compassion, and gifts that Jesus has for us!

With that said, I want to help you all to enjoy this week, enjoy the holidays, family, and to think about all the blessings in your life… and enjoy food in a healthy way!

I am all about eating in moderation and enjoying the foods we love!! I also love finding healthy alternatives to the food and treats we love! So I am going to give you some tips, along with recipes that I am preparing or that I have made in the past to keep you on track but enjoying food without the guilt or bloat when the holidays are over!

HEALTHY TIPS to STAY ON TRACK:

  • DRINK WATER 💦: Start your day early with drinking 12 ounces of warm water and then drink 10-12 ounces a little bit before each meal! Water is always the best option and is calorie and sugar free! It also acts as a cleanse to your body and keeps you fuller and prevents over eating!
  • 3 Bite Rule: I am ALL about eating the treats you like! And many of the foods we have over the holidays, we don’t eat often! Enjoy the food.. in moderation! If you have a ton of treats and unhealthy choices for dinner, pick your favorites, use the 3 bite rule, and move on!! This will help you to not over indulge and take in too many calories!
  • Healthy Alternatives: As I mentioned, I love choosing healthier options so I am still satisfying my cravings, but not feeling horrible when it’s all said and done!
  • CHEW CHEW CHEW: Part of the reason we overeat is because we are literally SHOVING food in our mouths and not even taking a break to see that we are full! If we TAKE OUR TIME and chew for 30 seconds and pause before the next bite, we wouldn’t eat have as much as we do!
  • WORKOUT first thing in the morning: If you do your workout before your busy day begins, you will not be able to use any excuse NOT to workout! You also feel better, have more energy, and will WANT to make healthier choices throughout the day!

Now…. for some healthy ideas for those meals over the holidays!! Although we aren’t suppose to revolve the holiday around food, we still love to enjoy eating a great meal together as a family! So I am going to share some of my favorites!

APPETIZERS:

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Photo Credit Jael Cheek IG @saycheekphotography

Guacamole Dip

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium avocados
  • 2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until well combined, but not pureed, so there is still a little texture.
  2. Serve and enjoy with whole wheat pita chips!

Notes: 

Squeeze 1 lime on top (will help keep its color longer).

If you want the dip to maintain it’s color longer, the less air that touches the avocado, the longer it will stay green.  You can cover the dip with a plastic wrap and refrigerate.

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Photo Credit Jael Cheek IG @saycheekphotography

Spinach Artichoke Dip

SERVES 12-14

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 10-oz package Spinach, frozen
  • 1 Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Directions:

  1. Drain and chop artichoke hearts. Thaw out spinach in the microwave (approx 30 seconds) and press out as much moisture as possible. 
  2. Add cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella into a medium to a large pot. Heat over medium until the cheese is melted. Make sure you stir often to prevent burning.
  3. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach, and garlic. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Cook for 5 minutes until the mixture is hot throughout. 
  5. Serve with your favorite whole-grain pita chips, crackers, or fresh veggies.

DISHES

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Photo Credit Jael Cheek @saycheekphotography

CAULIFLOWER MASHED POTATOES

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika 

Directions:

1. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil.

2. Add cauliflower, cover, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Then remove from heat.

4. Transfer half the cauliflower to a food processor, cover and blend on high.

5. Add remaining cauliflower, blend until creamy.

6. Blend in garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper.

7. Top with parsley and paprika (optional).

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Photo credit Jael Cheek @saycheekphotography

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts stem trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons liquid aminos (I use Bragg’s Liquid Amino or coconut aminos)
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce (I use Sriracha brand)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss Brussel sprouts in olive oil to coat evenly.

Pour sprouts onto a baking pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them halfway to cook through. *You can also use the air-fryer for 5 minutes, turn halfway and cook for 3 more for this phase.

Remove sprouts and turn the oven on broil to high.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over sprouts, mixing to coat evenly.

Broil for 5 min or until the sauce is caramelized. If using an air-fryer, fry at 400 for 3 more minutes.

Remove and serve when cooled off a little!

MAIN DISHES:

BAKED HAM with PINEAPPLE and CHERRIES: With this recipe, I use raw honey and light brown sugar!

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Photo Credit Jael Cheek IG@Saycheekphotography

SERVES 6

Ingredients:

  • 1lb peeled shrimp (I use the large/jumbo size shrimp)
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • Spray Olive oil (extra virgin)

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 cup  raw Honey
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup Rice vinegar
  • 3 4 cup water + 2 tbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spray the baking sheet with Extra Virgin Olive oil.
  3. In one bowl, combine Whole wheat Panko, coconut, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
  4. In another bowel, add the egg white
  5. Dip each shrimp into the egg and then into the bread coconut mixture. Layer the strips so they are not overlapping each other and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the coconut is slightly browned on top.

Air-fryer Directions:

  1. Follow steps 3-5, but instead of using a baking sheet, place the shrimp in the air-fryer and cook at 350 for 10 minutes. This may take 2 different rounds of cooking in the air-fryer to get through all the shrimp.
  2. Remove with tongs gently and place air-fried shrimp on a plate. 
  3. Let cool before eating.

Directions for Sauce:

  1. In a small pot, add raw honey, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, garlic, and ¾ cup water. Whisk and combine over medium heat, bringing quickly to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 2 TBSP of water.
  3. Lower heat, pour cornstarch mix into pot and continue whisking. Bring back to a boil, stirring while the sauce thickens. Cook for 1 minute or until thick and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
  4. Pour 2 tbsp of sauce over meal or set aside as dipping sauce. 
  5. Place remainder sauce into a sealed container. Refrigerate and store up to 2 months.  

Shrimp and sauce can be served over Spaghetti squash or zoodles.

DESSERTS

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Photo credit: Jael Cheek IG@saycheekphotography

Makes approximately 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • Mini peanut butter cups or Reese’s pieces to make the cookie loaded (optional) 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl

Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough and roll into a ball.

Place the ball on a parchment baking sheet or non-stick pan about 2 “ apart.

Use the back of a fork in a cross pattern and press into the cookies to flatten them.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Allow cooling prior to eating.

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Photo credit Jael Cheek IG@saycheekphotography

SERVES 12

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 6 oz. low fat plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c raw honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 8×8 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Place all of the ingredients except for the peanut butter into a blender or food processor. For easier blending, place the liquid ingredients into the blender first. Blend until the mix is smooth and oats are ground up. You will have to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Batter will be thin. Microwave peanut butter for about 30 seconds. Drop melted peanut butter by spoonfuls onto the batter, swirling gently with a knife to create a marbled effect. (Try not to over mix!)

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Brownies will be extra fudgy, so be sure to wait until COMPLETELY cooled – I stuck mine in the refrigerator for 2 hours, which allowed them to be cut very easily. 

Cut into 12 squares and enjoy!


Many of these recipes are straight from my cookbook that just released in October! My husband even helped make our book extra special by adding a 30 day devotional that you can find throughout the book!

Deidra Mangus, forever fit with a taste of faith, healthy cookbook, healthy holiday tips, staying healthy over the holidays, healthy 2021, weight loss journey, staying healthy during COVID, healthy military family, healthy holiday recipes

XOXO, DEIDRA

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