All the Holiday Health Tips “Yule” Ever Need!

All the Holiday Health Tips "Yule" Ever NeedGuzzle before Goodies: Drink a big glass of water and, if the meal or party is going to start after a scheduled meal time, eat a protein bar or other small protein-rich snack (around 200 cal) to tide you over. Time after time, I’ve read “eat a meal before heading out” as this will fill you up so that will not be tempted to overindulge on drinks and goodies at a holiday party. Um, unless you have willpower of steel, this doesn’t work – at least not for me. I always end up giving in with the “what the heck, it’s only once a year mindset” and, while it’s okay to splurge every now and then, but having consumed a full dinner (even if deemed “healthy”) just means you’ve gotten a head start on over-eating.

The Gift of Protein: Make sure you are not just using your entire calorie budget on all the wonderful baked treats of the season at the expense of eating enough protein. While pancakes, homemade breads, cookies, pies and more deserve a little attention this time of year, you can’t fuel a healthy lifestyle without adequate protein. Aim to get at 25 to 30 grams at EVERY meal, starting with breakfast, and also a couple 10 gram-ish protein snacks if you’ve been active during the day. Research has shown that consuming adequately timed and spaced protein not only helps with muscle management, but can moderate hunger and help you avoid over-snacking later in the day or evening.

cutting-sheet-pan-maple-beef-sausageBy the way, you have to check out my new Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage recipe — it’s a less mess, less stress way to make a batch of protein for a holiday crowd. It tastes yummy and sure beats slinging bacon or links all morning.

Moderate your Mixology: Drink in moderation or, even better, don’t drink alcoholic beverages, heavy eggnogs or sugary punches at all. Wine, beer and other adult beverages are very high in carbs and calories, partying all night will take its toll in so many ways . . . I won’t preach. If and when I decide to have a drink, I limit myself to one and then turn to sparkling waters with a splash of juice or infused with fruit. I have also turned ONE drink, into two by halving the liquor or wine portion and topping off with a low-cal liquid.

Exercise Anywhere: Regardless whether stuck in a car travelling or in your mother-in-law’s lair, find a way to move about and sneak in a little exercise – even if just in 5 minute increments.  We always pull over every hour on the road (for potty stops) and to bust out some roadside jumping jacks and burpees – I’m not kidding.  When visiting relatives and out of your normal fitness routine, suggest that the group head out for a walk to see holiday lights or start up a friendly game of flag football. There are also lots of home workouts that need little or no equipment when snowed it. Also, check out my 40 Fitness Hacks for the Holidays or my Wrapping Paper Tube Workout  – a graphic below, but also a video (seriously)!

Wrapping Paper Roll Workout - TheFitFork.com

Let Go of the Guilt: Despite the tips, the biggest tip is to enjoy the season and the quality time with family and friends. Many of us striving to live in the healthiest way we know how, often forever deny some of our past pleasures. If you want a slice of chocolate cake, have it! If you want a steaming mug of strawberry honey white hot chocolate, have it! If you’ve missed a few days or even a week of  your normal workouts, fuggetabout it! We all deserve a break and time to recharge – a short time of splurging and relaxing over the holiday season isn’t going to set you significantly back (if at all).

What are your holiday plans?! What are you doing to stay active? What is your favorite splurge (mine is banana bread with absolutely no healthy modifications 😉 Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer  

Tidings of Comfort Food & Joy – Grilled Cheese Steak, Bacon Mac, Chicken Soup ‘n More

Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.

jen-and-jonathan-san-antonio-marathon-2016Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.

Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!

Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak SandwichBrazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich – This is what happens when a Philly Cheese Steak meets an American Grilled Cheese meets a Brazilian Bauru sandwich? You can thank me later. Recipe originally developed for my friends at BeefLovingTexans.com, and shared for you at bottom of post!

Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich ith Jalapeno Chimichurri is a delicious lunch or dinner that they whole family will love.

Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!

Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac

Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!

Comforting Chicken and Rice Soup

Simply the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – They are not sugar-free, calorie-free nor carb-free, but these buttery, chewy chippers are a treat worth treating yourself to!

jennifer fisher thefitfork best chocolate chip cookie

Root Beer Float Fudge –  Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.

2013_07 rootbeer float fudge

So, what is your go-to comfort food? Do you prefer sweet or savory? What are you making for dinner tonight?! Please share in the comments, XOXO- Jennifer 

Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich
Tidings of Comfort Food & Joy – Beefy Grilled Cheese, Bacon Mac, Chicken Soup ‘n More
Print Recipe
Brazilian Bauru meets Pilly Cheesesteak meets an American diner grilled cheese -- this easy pannini style sandwich makes a delicious lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich
Tidings of Comfort Food & Joy – Beefy Grilled Cheese, Bacon Mac, Chicken Soup ‘n More
Print Recipe
Brazilian Bauru meets Pilly Cheesesteak meets an American diner grilled cheese -- this easy pannini style sandwich makes a delicious lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
  2. Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
  3. n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
  4. Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
  5. Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
  6. Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
  7. To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
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Moreo Blondie Bars Loaded with Yum + Cookie Recipes

Moreo Kitchen Sink Blondies - TheFitFork.comIf MORE means “a greater or additional amount,” then my Moreo Blondie Bars have more MORE! This delicious treat is overflowing with a greater amount of good things than I typically eat at once – like Oreo cookies, M&Ms, chocolate chips, lots of butter and sugar.  Even though I preach clean eating most of the time, the holiday season is not the time to say “NO” to festive, frivolous and nourishment of dubious (yet delicious) quality – Halleluiah!  You HAVE to read on after the recipe to see my brother’s awesome idea of MORE – it’s a Cherblumpkin!

Moreo Blondie Bar Cookies with Oreos and Candy - TheFitFork.com

So, if you’re making Christmas cookies at home, these Moreo Blondie Bars are very easy to make – just mix up the ingredients and plop in the pan. I highly recommend lining the baking dish in foil before adding the batter. When baked and cooled, simply lift out the by the foil edges and then neatly slice into bars. If you don’t want to go whole hog, check out my recipe for The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie – it’s a classic.Moreo Blondie Cookie Bar with Milk - TheFitFork.com

Moreo Blondie Bar Recipe

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 15 double stuffed chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely broken
  • 1 cup broken pretzel pieces
  • ½ cup M & M candies
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl. Add sugars and stir until combined and then mix in eggs.
  3. Stir in baking soda, salt and flour until combined, but don’t over mix.
  4. Mix in crushed cookies, pretzels, candies and chocolate chips until evenly incorporated.
  5. Line 9” x 13” baking pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.
  6. Add dough to pan, patting down with fingers or spatula.
  7. Bake on center rack for 25 minutes or until edges and top turning light golden brown and center looks set.
  8. Let cool completely in pan.  Remove contents from pan by lifting foil. Peel sides of foil back and cut into 12 bars.

Cherblumpkin Cake - Cherry on Blueberry on Pumpkin

Here it is . . . .the Cherblumpkin! It’s a cherry pie stacked on a blueberry pie stacked on a pumpkin pie – frosted to look like a layer cake. The contest was for Cherpumpple (cherry-pumkin-apple),but my little brother shook up the system with his heart stopper of a pie-cake hybrid, so proud of him.

Cherblumpkin - Cherry Blueberry Pumpkin Pie Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual-Cookie-Exchange-recipes-galoreIf you need more holiday goodie ideas, the Fitfluential ambassadors having a Virtual Cookie & Treat Link Up. Lots of goodness here, recipes to suit both sensible and sinful cookie bakers!

What’s your favorite holiday baked item — please share?