In October we celebrated my best friend’s wedding with a two-day feast that left me feeling full for days. Six days later I hosted Thanksgiving for 23 people, and we dined on leftover turkey, pie, and carrot cake for another week. Shortly after that we took my in-laws out for dinner to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary, and the week after that was Halloween. I think it goes without saying that food was the main focus of so many events last month, and we’re all left feeling a little bloated and full as a result.
A quick look at the calendar tells me that my first holiday party is three weeks from this Friday, which means it’s time to buckle down and focus on having an incredibly nutritious November in an effort to prepare for the food and fun that’s sure to come down the pipe next month.
My family is partially on board with this idea. I suggested to my husband that he give up wine for the month, and he looked at me in the same way he would have if I had suggested he binge watch The Mindy Project with me. So, I’m letting him keep his wine, but the chips and chocolate are out the window, and we’re eating lots of soups and salads, getting to bed early, drinking plenty of water, and challenging ourselves to move for 30 minutes everyday for 30 days. Care to join us?
Here are a few ways I’m preparing for a nutritious November this month:
- Use the Slow Cooker: I find that I cook with less fat, sugar, and pretty much ever other less-than-desirable ingredient when I bust out the slow cooker for making dinner. So far this week I’ve made pork ragu, shredded Tex-Mex chicken for turning into whole-wheat burritos and taco salad, and this soup, which is definitely a family favourite.
- Stock the Fridge with Salad Friendly Ingredients: I’m buying a few bunches of kale every couple of days and turning it into salads or using it in as many dinners as possible. Slaws are also an excellent fall salad idea and my whole family is down with this rainbow variation, which looks so pretty on the plate and tastes fantastic.
- Swap Traditional Snack Foods with Healthier Variations: My kids love popcorn and they’ve been snacking on a chili cheese variety that uses no butter or vegetable oil. The kernels pop in a small amount of warmed coconut oil, and the popcorn is garnished with finely grated Parmesan cheese and chilli powder. They, and their friends, seem to love it, and I feel good serving it to them.
- Roast Those Veggies: This time of year, I love nothing more than roasted root vegetables, and I fill the fridge with a few containers to last us through the week. Everything from Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, to carrots and grapes (yes, grapes’use them in a salad with goat cheese’delish!) gets chopped, seasoned with some olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon zest and/or fresh herbs, and lightly blistered under high heat until golden and crisp. When it comes time for dinner, I just reheat them, add them to a salad or plop them in a pot, add some onion and stock and turn them into a quick and easy soup for supper.
- Fill the Fridge with Assorted Waters: We have no trouble drinking water, but it does occasionally become a little boring. I’ve been filling the fridge with flat, sparkling, and flavoured waters, and keeping slices of lemon and lime close by for when we need a little extra something special in the glass.
Tell us, how are you eating healthy this month?