Monday, April 01, 2013
We, like many people, primarily celebrate holidays with food. For me, I most look forward to cooking with family and a house filled with the aromas of special foods that may be prepared only a few times a year. This year, however, I had to rethink how we were going to enjoy these attributes of the holiday without sabotaging our new lifestyle. This turned out to be a fairly easy task because a) we had only two guests, both of whom are healthy eaters and b) I was in charge of the food. We had a wonderful meal, we enjoyed preparing it together, and none of us to ate in excess. AND the meal adhered to our Primal pincipals.
How we pulled it off:
1) I planned the meal carefully. I resisted the urge to prepare 20 different holiday favorites, and instead I focused on putting together a meal that fit our celebration of spring. As I planned the meal, I used the recipe calculator to figure out the nutrition profile for each planned dish.
2) I planned the snacks just as carefully. Snacks on holidays are usually my downfall. I selected 3 or 4 snacks that people could munch while we waited for the main meal to cook. I actually compiled a data table that let me see a total nutrient profile (cal, carb, fat) for the meal and a serving size of every snack and dessert. I wanted to make sure that if everyone had a serving of every snack food available, a full dinner plate, and a serving of dessert, their overall intake of calories, fat, and carbohydrates would be low enough to leave room for an additional small meal and snack in addition to the food we served (i.e., their breakfasts and dinner).
3) We served the soup course when guests first arrived, while dinner still had a few hours to cook. This not only gave people a healthy, filling (and DELICIOUS) way to fill up for awhile without lots of snacking, but it also broke up the cleaning a bit since we could tidy up the kitchen and soup dishes while waiting for the entree. Cleaning and kitchen chatter are a wonderful part of the holiday!
3) When I found our fat (and cholesterol) content was going to be a bit on the higher side, I nixed deviled eggs from the snack menu and I DID NOT replace them. Deviled eggs are an Easter tradition, but it was also a high-cholesterol, high-fat item (we make them with avocado). Even though I truly agonized about "no deviled eggs on Easter!", no-one missed them.
4) Next to every snack bowl , I put a bright, spring-colored post-it note with the the nutrition information and corresponding serving size (again, we focused on the basic calories, fat, and carbohydrates). We did the same thing next to our two desserts. In addition, I listed the nutrition information for our dinner (this was also to help one of our guests, a diabetic, be aware of what the carbohydrate counts were).
5) I plated dinner. This means instead of passing dishes or eating "family style", I portioned food onto the plates and served them. Everyone was welcome to get seconds (though I only made enough for everyone to have small seconds if desired). This would be tough to do with a big crowd (it's also difficult to do with multiple hot dishes).
6) After dinner, we took a family walk. It was a way to burn off some extra calories as well as spend more time together. Hubby and I also took a bike ride later that night!
Our holiday menu was a fairly light and thoroughly delicious success:
Snacks: Hazelnuts, almonds, jello eggs (made from only 100% freshly squeezed juice and gelatin), paleo pumpkin muffins, toasted seaweed, and fresh pineapple.
Appetizer/First Course: Asparagus soup (no dairy, creams or milks; no flours of any kind)
Main Course: Turkey breast (brined and grilled; the brine allowed us to omit the addition of a fat to keep it moist), Salad (pears, walnuts, spinach, homemade dijon vinaigrette)
Dessert: Chocolate Cakes This is where most of our fat (avocados, nuts, coconut oil) and carbohydrates (dates, maple syrup) came from. We had two cakes. One was a raw food chocolate cake made from dates, walnuts, and cocoa with an avocado chocolate frosting. The other cake was a paleo chocolate cake made from coconut flour with a chocolate bacon ganache (made with coconut milk). Both cakes were served in very, very small portions. They were so rich and delicious, however, that these portions were filling.
Healthy Holiday Cooking=Conquered!!!