christmas dinner

Tips To Stay Healthy During The Holidays And Clean Eating Recipes

It's the most wonderful time of the year with the holidays arriving in full-force! A time for friends and family to gather together for tradition and celebration. But, with all of the holiday parties and gatherings comes challenges of staying healthy during the season. That’s why we want to give you some ideas on how to stay healthy in the midst of all your holiday parties this year and clean eating holiday recipe suggestions!

In Our Favorite Clean Eating Thanksgiving Tips and Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes blog post, we suggested some tips to cleaning up your menu for the holidays (or any time of year). Substituting fresh or frozen for canned veggies, using full fat dairy and healthier fats and oils, and other tips on clean eating are all discussed in the post; however, staying healthy during the holidays can be more involved and challenging than substituting ingredients for cleaner versions. 

Most likely, the majority of the parties you have this holiday season will be hosted by another individual which means you won’t have control over what’s served. What you can control, however, is what you choose to eat and how you choose to eat it! If the party is set up buffet-style, start out by using a small plate and serving yourself the cleanest, healthiest options available, preferably the vegetable and protein dishes that are offered. After you finish your first plate, give yourself 10-20 minutes before diving into the next. This is about how long it takes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full. If you’re at a dinner party where the meal is served in courses, just remember to eat slowly and give your brain time to process your fullness levels.

Fixing plates at holiday dinner party

What many people might want to do during the holiday season is to avoid eating before a party to make sure they’ve saved room and calories for all of the delicious food; however, it would be better practice to eat a small, nutritious meal or snack before the party. This can help to ease your appetite and prevent you from overeating the less than healthy treats often found at holiday parties. If you need an easy way to get a nutritious snack before a holiday party try out one of our Frozen Garden products! We have Smoothies and Delites that are quick and easy to blend up, and our Garden Bowls are a fast midday, pre-party meal.

All of these holiday parties often add up to a super busy schedule which makes the holiday season a very stressful time of year, and stress can often lead to unhealthy eating habits. One way to help relieve some of that stress is to be sure to set aside time to focus on getting exercise. Exercise provides natural feel-good endorphins and can help reduce stress levels significantly. Staying active during the holidays doesn't have to mean spending hours in the gym every day; even just 10-15 minutes a day can make all the difference! Going for a brisk walk, stretching, or doing yoga are all excellent ways to get your endorphin fix while also staying mindful of yourself and your body.

Brisk Winter Walk

Another way to relieve holiday stress, and thereby avoid unhealthy eating habits, is to ensure you’re getting plenty of restful sleep. Getting quality sleep during this hectic season will help your body recover from the physical and mental stressors that come with celebrating. A good night’s sleep can help you wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle your long list of holiday to-dos, instead of being overwhelmed and stressed by that ever-growing list of things that need to be done.

Restful Christmas sleep

After following these tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, all that’s left is to find clean Christmas recipes to add to your menu! Our recipe suggestions will not only allow you to stay healthy during the season, but will also keep your diet clean.

Clean Eating Holiday Recipes

Clean Appetizers

Looking for a salad course for your Christmas dinner party? Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad is the perfect, festive-looking blend of sweet and savory to get your meal started off right! Not only is this a delicious AND clean dish, but it’s also super simple to make. If you’re wanting something a little bit different from the traditional salad, this Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Orange is a delicious twist on the cran-orange flavor combination. It’s sure to be a bright and fresh addition to your clean holiday menu.

Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad
Image from Cooking Classy​​
Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Orange
Image from Family ​​Spice

If you need a clean and healthy appetizer idea, try this Cranberry and Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash. This dish is the perfect taste of Christmas with all of the layers of flavor it offers. It has sweetness from the caramelized squash, tartness from the cranberries, and all of the Christmas vibes from the cloves and rosemary.

Christmas Stuffed Acorn Squash
Image from Stricly ​​Delicious

An easy dish that you can offer as an appetizer, or that you can make as part of a holiday party buffet is this Lemon-Garlic Marinated Shrimp. This clean, low-cal app is super simple to throw together ahead of time and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Image from EatingWell​​

Clean Main Course

Wanting to change up your menu with a new delicious and healthy main course to serve your guests at your holiday party? This Pork Loin Roast with Butternut Fontina Stuffing is the perfect clean eating option. Not only is it incredibly flavorful and savory, but it also provides all of the nutritional benefits that come from clean eating. This dish is a great way to get everyone into the spirit of the season without sacrificing health or taste. The pork loin roast is irresistibly tender and juicy, and, on top of that, it's filled with a scrumptious stuffing made up of butternut squash, shallots, fontina cheese, whole-wheat panko bread crumbs and herbs - all which add an amazing depth of flavor. This recipe will become an instant favorite on your holiday table!

Pork Loin Roast with Butternut Fontina Stuffing
Image f​​rom Clean Eating Magazine

Clean Sides

Now that you know what you’re doing for your salad and main courses. What are you going to offer as side dishes?! No need to worry because we have ideas for that too! Potatoes in any and every form are always a favorite as holiday meals, but this year you may want to try something new and different for your potato dish. These Hasselback Potatoes are the perfect way to switch it up from your typical mashed or baked potatoes.

Hasselback potatoes
Image f​​rom Clean Cuisine

Have a side of roasted veggies with this recipe for Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate. It’s a super easy and flavorful side dish that will make a great addition to your holiday meal spread. Just toss butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and an onion with some spices, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and whatever else makes your heart happy! Roast it in the oven, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, and voila! A delicious side dish your family and/or guests are sure to enjoy!

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate
Image f​​rom Spoonful of Flavor

Clean Desserts

What would Christmas be without the sweet treats?! Just because you’re staying healthy and keeping your menu clean this holiday season doesn’t mean you need to forgo the sweets! You just have to be sure to use the right ingredients. These Gingerbread Muffins, for example, are bursting with the flavors of the season, and they’re dairy-free, gluten-free, and keto and paleo friendly! The perfect sweet treat to have as breakfast, a snack, or dessert! Or try these paleo friendly gluten- and grain-free Lemon Bars to add a burst of bright flavor to your holiday menu.

Gingerbread muffins
Image from Lexi's Clean Kitchen​​
Lemon Bars
Image from The Clean Eating Couple​​

Clean and healthy eating during the holiday season can seem like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be! All you have to do is stay mindful of what you’re putting in your body, stay active for at least 10 minutes, and get plenty of rest. Add in some of our recipe suggestions for your holiday parties, and you’re as good as golden! And don’t forget to check out our Frozen Garden goodies to drink or snack on in between your big holiday meals, especially our winter seasonal products available for a limited time each year for a taste of the holiday season!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our Frozen Garden community! We are so grateful for each and every one of you!

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