Can The Holidays Sabotage Your Weight Loss?

December 4, 2022

We are well into the holiday season and are attending parties, family get-togethers, and even work celebrations. With all the festivities from now until New Years, we are certainly faced with more food challenges. Many of our clients are asking, “how can I maintain my good eating habits so I don’t regain the weight I have lost?” Today we want to help you make a plan to get through the holidays with tips on how to prioritize your health and well-being while still enjoying yourself and maintaining your success.

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TERESA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Well, we are into the holiday season and ‘tis the season for parties, family get togethers and even work celebrations: all kinds of festivities, right Leah?

LEAH: Yes, it’s here.

TERESA: With Thanksgiving behind us, and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Year's all ahead, we are certainly faced with more food challenges this time of year than maybe other times of the year. What I hear from many of my clients is worry. They're thinking, how can I maintain these good eating habits I've been working so hard on, so I don't regain the weight I've lost or go backwards on the progress that I've made?

They don't want this fun holiday season to sabotage all those efforts. They also don't want to stay home avoiding all possibility of a run in with sugar or foods and drinks that could possibly cause that loss of progress like they're, they're worried about.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: What they want to know is, how do I manage, or how do I balance all of this? My name is Teresa Wagner and I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. You may see me pop up on the Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook page. Every once in a while I answer questions or sometimes I post short videos. And I would love to have you join me there. All you have to do is hop on Facebook, search Dishing Up Nutrition, and click the join button. It's a private group, so you just have to answer a few quick questions, you know, agree to the group rules, right? And basically it's just be kind and courteous. And then after you do that, all you do is click submit. That's all. Joining me today is Leah, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian.

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LEAH: Yeah. Good morning, Teresa. Good morning to our listeners out there. My name is Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and I see clients individually, host Dishing Up Nutrition here as, as you hear me on the radio. And I also teach many classes, both corporate classes and our in-house classes. And currently I am teaching our new series, our new Ongoing Support and Education series at our Woodbury office.

And Teresa, I love the introduction that you just did. I'm hearing the same thing both from my class members and from my clients of yep, this is, it's this time of year it can be tricky. There can be some kind of landmines that people have to sidestep. So, but I love that term balance of we still want to enjoy the holidays. We still want to be with our family and our friends, but how do we still take care of ourselves and make our wellness a priority?

So that is what we want to focus on today. We want to help you make a plan to thrive and, and still enjoy the holidays, while also acknowledging that there are some unique challenges that come around this time of year, and they just require some, maybe a little extra thought, some intentionality and some planning to go around them on, on how best for you as an individual to navigate them.

TERESA: Mm-Hmm. Well, does this scenario sound familiar? Maybe you just start losing a little bit of weight and then life happens, and it becomes difficult to resist those temptations. And at this time of year, they're coming around a little bit more. Or maybe you are the type of person who, when you lose a little bit of weight, you want to reward yourself and celebrate with maybe a little bit of a, a sweet treat or something like that.

Well, of course, during the holidays there are parties and happy hours and events and family gatherings, and they happen almost every week. So how do we resist that temptation or moderate that temptation so that we are able to have some fun and then also maintain our and, and progress on our goals?

Developing an attitude of wellness


LEAH: Yep. Yep. That is the million, maybe billion dollar question, isn't it? Yeah. So in starting to answer that question, I would love to invite you all, all of our listeners that are joining us this morning, and for those who are listening as a podcast later on, join us in, in just a little activity that we have all of our class members do each week. And that is, we challenge our members to develop an attitude of wellness or to really take those steps to develop an attitude of wellness. What does that really mean? What does having an attitude of wellness really mean?

So I had to look up the definition of attitude. It is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something. So if we translate that into what we're talking about in terms of nutrition and wellness, this is kind of your set way or your set feeling about your wellness and your health. And another way to maybe think about this is how do you make your health and wellness a priority, especially during this holiday season?

And so that set way of thinking, we need to start with a belief, a belief in ourselves that my health and wellness is worth my time and my effort, and it is worth trying to change some of these habits, or just choose different actions around the things that I do for the holidays. And again, it doesn't mean that you have to stay home under a blanket, but it means that we do need to have that belief that we are worth it and that we need to still protect our health and our wellness through the holiday season.

So, you know, Teresa, you, you teach these classes also. We have our clients go over a wellness checklist in many of these classes. And this is a way that people can check in with themselves, check in with how their bodies are doing, and just how their nutrition choices have been affecting them.

TERESA: That's correct. We ask them to rate their energy levels. That's one of the, one of the markers on the checklist that we're looking for. Do you feel tired? Or do you have good energy and feeling great? The next question is, if you're currently eating for the purpose of having this great energy, what things might you be doing to sabotage your energy level or potentially go out and sabotage that energy level?

Here's one possibility. Perhaps this time of year you're more likely to meet your friends after work for a glass of wine or a cocktail. Maybe you have a holiday event, or maybe you have friends or family in from out of town. Then after having cocktails the next day you're feeling a little foggy. You might be craving sugar. You have low energy and maybe even feeling a little down and depressed. We know that, you know, part of the reason why alcohol is so fun is that, you know, it releases all these feel good chemicals.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And so the next day you wake up with a little less of those feel good chemicals.

LEAH: Yep. They kind of get spent the night before.

TERESA: Yes. Right. Right. It's that post party blues. When our clients have that attitude of wellness and they make their health a priority, they still meet their friends or go out and meet their family or go to the events, but maybe they order a sparkling water or a mocktail instead of a glass of wine. I have a client who she really likes cocktails and she doesn't like sweet things. A lot of mocktails are on the sweeter side of things. So for her, she couldn't really find an alternative for these situations that she liked. And what she actually landed on is she would take sparkling water and she would put a few dashes of cherry bitters in it. And so it wasn't sweet. It had more of a cocktail flavor to it.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: Last winter, I know when I was teaching a holiday habits class, we came up with a, with a mocktail that was not necessarily sweet either. It was a little bit more on the herbaceous side. It was sparkling water with some cranberry juice, just a little bit, and then garnishing it with it, garnishing it with a sprig of rosemary.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: And then some fresh cranberry, fresh cranberries.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: So it looked very holiday in the glass. And had that nice flavor to it too. That one might be a little bit more on the sweeter side with the cranberry, but just saving the amount of sugar that you would drink with wine or with cocktails maybe mixed with soda or things along that line it's, that those were…

LEAH: Yeah. I love both of those ideas because again, even if you save a little bit of sugar and you're doing something, you're doing something like that a couple of times over the course of the holiday season, those, those little changes do add up.

TERESA: Yes, they do. And they, and over time and also in the immediate, so if you're having a couple of these non-alcoholic drinks while you're at a party or yeah, I would say, you know, maybe in replacement of, or in addition to a glass of two or wine, you will feel so much different the next day.

LEAH: Absolutely.

TERESA: Rather than maybe drinking for that entire, that entire party, which, which is easy to do cause you get caught up in the holiday spirit. And it's, and it's, and it, and it can happen.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: Well, it's time for our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I am Teresa Wagner. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And our cohost today is Leah Kleinschrodt, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Our topic today is how the holidays can sabotage your weight and wellness goals.


Some healthier pizza alternatives


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. During the holidays, it is easy to take shortcuts and order a pizza. We're all busy. As Teresa mentioned, there's typically lots of events during the week and the weekend. So sometimes you just need the easy button. Usually a large pizza, including delivery is about $30. You know, take, give or take a few bucks. If you make a pizza on your own with organic vegetables, grass fed meats, a large high quality pizza would cost you more in the realm of $22.

So you would save about $8 and you have high quality healthy ingredients that help your body. If you want your pizza to be gluten free, use a cauliflower crust. The pizza you make at home will be free of some of those refined oils that we talk about, the soybean oils, the canola oils, and it will contain fewer chemicals and far less sugar. And you have control over it then. And actually there was something on our Instagram page. Just yesterday I saw it there. It was a, we, it was a reel that we had shared from another Instagram account, but it was a pizza frittata, which I thought was a fabulous idea and it might still be up there right now. It was shared on our story.

So if you're interested in this, you might need to get on there real quick and, and take a peek before it disappears. But it was basically, you take some of those vegetables that you would throw on a supreme pizza, so like your green peppers and your mushrooms and onions and things like that. And you sauté them in a pan. Then you beat up your eggs. I think the recipe was like 12 eggs. And then you mix in some tomato sauce into the eggs. You sprinkle, you put like some herbs, like some garlic, you put salt and pepper in there and like basil or oregano or like Italian spices in there. Put a little cheese in there if you can do some dairy. Pour that over the vegetables and then you bake it in the oven.

And it was actually even the person said, you know, it's a great breakfast, but also can be a nice lunch or a nice dinner. Especially if you're just looking for a little bit of that pizza flavor pizza fix. So I'm always a fan of breakfast for dinner, so that really, that one really kind of piqued my interest and I think I'm going to have to try that one.

TERESA: Yeah, it sounds really interesting. I, I put tomatoes in eggs, so I guess tomato sauce, that's a very interesting idea. And a lot of times with eggs they’re very versatile where…

LEAH: Absolutely.

TERESA: Where it can take on that…

LEAH: Yeah. Just take on different flavor profiles depending on what you're going for.

TERESA: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well before break we were talking about alcohol and how so at parties and things, obviously it's around and, and maybe having some alternatives would be a good idea to continue with that attitude of wellness we've been talking about. So maybe we should consider how we develop our own attitude of wellness and how Leah had described it to that attitude of wellness being that settled way or that decided way, a feeling about making choices that promote good health and wellbeing.

Perform a wellness check


So it's already decided. It's not like you're spending time hemming and hawing about it. Should I do this? Should I not do this? Should I do this? You know, it's, it's, you've decided. Perhaps you measure your wellness by your energy levels. Do you feel tired? Do you have just enough energy to make it through the day? Or do you feel great? Your energy level, that is a measure of your wellness.

LEAH: Yeah. I'll often ask my clients or even share my personal experiences on that measure. Or I, I'll use the term barometer. Like, what's that barometer of your wellness? Or how do you know how you're doing with that? And for me, I'll share this a little bit later, but like my knees, and I know I've shared this before, but like I, I have knee pain. When I have more of that inflammation, that's just that area in the body that sets it up for me, so I know how I'm doing based on how my knees are doing. And that's my barometer, that's my measure of how I'm doing.

TERESA: That's interesting. Cause I feel like one of my measures of energy is how do I react to my family at the end of the day?

LEAH: Oh yes.

TERESA: What's my patience level like?

LEAH: How much is leftover by the end of the day, right?

TERESA: Yeah. I've used it up, it's all gone.

Why is alcohol detrimental to our health?


LEAH: That's funny. I love that example too. Yeah. I mean, and there's, that just means there's so many different ways and it's different for everybody. So like you just find that one thing for you that maybe matters the most to you, or like it's the most noticeable and you use that as your barometer, your measure. So many of my clients will ask kind of back on the alcohol conversation, like, what's wrong with just a couple of glasses of wine? Or like those two beers going out to the microbreweries or whatever.

TERESA: It's good for you, right?

LEAH: Yeah, exactly. Like there's got to be some health benefits to this. Right?

TERESA: Right. We always latch onto that.

LEAH: Like that one little thing. Yep. So, but research from the Mayo Clinic found that drinking alcohol, it's associated with a bigger waist size. So I mean, counterproductive to what most of our clients are kind of going for. And why is that? So and you know what, guess what? Your liver has also adopted an attitude of wellness. Your liver, when you drink that alcohol, your liver, it prioritizes getting that alcohol out of your system as quickly as possible.

And that means it does that at the expense of other less vital functions that we say like breaking down your body fat and losing weight. In order to lose weight, your liver needs to break down and process out that body fat. And so the less distractions it has, the better. Now let's look at a actually another side to that alcohol coin. Alcohol for many people often, often, excuse me, leads to poor sleep.

So often clients they'll report waking up at 3:00 AM or, and or they, they just have very restless sleep that night. And poor sleep, even just one night of poor sleep leads to low energy. You just don't regulate your blood sugar very well the next day and maybe even the day after. And it sets you up to have some of those sugar cravings or craving foods that you just normally wouldn't even give a second thought to.

Now, a couple of glasses of wine once in a while is okay for most people, but not necessarily for everyone. So as part of your attitude of wellness listeners, you may have to have that honest evaluation of your tendencies and ask yourself, am I one of these people where I can have one or two every now and again and stop and not have any major ramifications? Or is it better or easier for me if I just don't start in the first place?

TERESA: It's a sad but a simple truth. The consistent habit of having two glasses of wine regularly slows weight loss and can result in weight gain around the midsection where we really hate it, right? When we gain weight there, that's just a really awful place to gain weight. And it's also the most dangerous area of the body to put on body weight.

LEAH: Yes. Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: So having that wine, it sets up for weight gain around the middle and it also sets us up for sugar cravings. Think about when you have alcohol. Does it lead you to making food choices you wouldn't normally make? I mean, hello, late night munchies.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: If you're at a holiday party, do you find yourself gravitating towards that food table and snacking on crackers and chips and all the munchies? And the next day a lot of times the cravings for sugar really ramp up or maybe fried foods are really strong. Maybe consider if the desire to lose weight and maintain your wellness is stronger than the desire for drinking wine. So do you desire to lose weight more than you desire those glasses of wine?

LEAH: Right.

TERESA: Well it's time for our second break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you are planning to get back on track with your weight and wellness goals, I encourage you to save your spot in our Nutrition for Weight loss series of classes. These classes are available in a Zoom format or in person at each of our locations. We welcome you back and look forward to seeing you. Call 651-699-3438 or go online and sign up. Make your decision today so you have a plan for your weight and wellness goals.

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Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to share an article that I just, I just kind of have filed in the back of my brain that I bring out and I'll talk to, talk about with clients or I'll bring it up in a class that I teach. And the title of the article is called Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements May Slow the Biological Effect of Aging. So that's kind of a mouthful. But one of the main takeaways from this article was that omega three fatty acid supplements lower inflammation. I think that's probably one of the biggest things those omega threes are known for. Right? You think omega threes, think anti-inflammatory or lowering inflammation.

And it's that excess inflammation that's involved with every chronic disease you can think of: heart disease, type two diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, just all of these diseases of aging really. I often recommend taking three softgels of omega threes daily to help reduce inflammation. So for most brands out there, that's about 3,000 milligrams of omega threes. And if somebody already has a lot of inflammation, I may go up to 4,000 or 6,000 milligrams of those omega threes just depending on the person in front of me.

Now I love our Omega-3 1000 from Nutrikey because they are just, they're so fresh, they're free of contaminants, they are really tested for and screened for so many different things. And for my clients who come to me and they say like, I can't do the fish oil. I burp them up. I get that fish taste in my mouth still, that does not happen with these omega threes. They are fresh, it's not rancid, and they go down really well. And so many of my clients who have had bad experiences before actually do really well with, with these with these omega threes.

TERESA: Yes, it's been my experience as well.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. So think about those omega threes and maybe that's part of your attitude of wellness is like, how do I get that inflammation out of my body? Now, we've, I want to segue us away from the alcohol a little bit. You know, we, we've, we've talked about that enough, kind of bashed on the alcohol and that's not the only thing that gets us in trouble during the holidays. It does tend to be a big one.

More on practicing an attitude of wellness


So let's talk about how you develop a mindset that your health and your weight goals are more important, not just for the, in terms of, not more important than the wine habit, but think about the cookie habit or the eggnog traditions that come out this time of year or the peppermint mochas that come out, you know, just for a couple of weeks out of the year.

And I just wanted to share actually a personal story of mine, of, of some of my mindset or how I kind of developed this little corner of my mindset. So I want to use chocolate. Chocolate is my thing. Not so much the alcohol, but I love a good dark chocolate. And dark chocolate certainly has its benefits, right? I have to be mindful of because too much chocolate still means too much sugar. And for me, I ever since I had kids, I'm much more sensitive to caffeine. And so if, especially if I'm doing chocolate in the evening, I need to be very careful. So I don't like accidentally over caffeinate myself and, and wreck my sleep that night.

So not only can it affect my body that night in terms of getting me a poor night's sleep, but if I do it say too many nights in a row or I'm like kind of on a streak of one or two weeks of doing this, especially in the evening, then I start to notice when I'm going down the stairs in my house or if I'm walking down the hill in my backyard that my knees are kind of quacking at me a little bit more than they usually do.

So again, I said earlier in the show, my knees are my barometer, one of my big barometers, and I know when I have more inflammation, it's going to show up in my knees. So my attitude of wellness or just my mindset that I've had to develop is, you know, the knee pain for me is just not worth those five extra bites of chocolate, or especially with having little kids at home, even one bad night of sleep that I do to myself really sets me up to have not a great day the next day. And did I develop this mindset overnight? Did I do it just one time and say like, oh, I'm never doing that ever again.

No, absolutely not. It took a while. Maybe I'm a slow learner, I don't know. But you know, sometimes it just takes several of those episodes or those events or it, it takes a little bit of a learning curve to actually develop that mindset or develop that attitude that it's just not worth it to feel like this later on. Even if in the moment it might feel good.

TERESA: Yeah. Like you always want to test it, right? We were talking on the break where it's, well, sometimes this happens, but sometimes it doesn't. And you always want to bank on the fact that it's not going to be this time, this time the chocolate's not going to keep me up. Right? And I just wonder, Leah, how many people had a light bulb moment there where they're like, oh, so if I eat chocolate before bed, I might, it might affect my sleep. Because a lot of times we forget that it's, you know, it has caffeine in it.

LEAH: Yep. Yeah. And everyone has their, that difference and, and that, that, as I mentioned, that sensitivity for me changed with some other life events. So just because it's one way this year doesn't mean like next year or in five years that it doesn't change also. So it it, it is, it does what am I trying to say? It's, it's helpful to reevaluate.

TERESA: Right. We're constantly, I feel like we're always trying something new, right? It's not like we just, I mean, I think like we feel like we have some things figured out, but we're always trying something new. This works now or something different’s happening. What can I change in order that I have a more a better experience? Whatever that is. Or if something's not going right, well how can I fix that? And we're, that's not like it's just done.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: It's a constant progress.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: We're a work in progress.

LEAH: Yeah. Oh yeah, there you go. I think that's maybe the summary right there. We're all a work in progress. We're all working on something.


LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: Well let's get back to that wellness checklist we were talking about. And I think Leah, you know, we were talking about energy being one of those things that we can put on the checklist. And Leah, you had mentioned that your knees are a part of your wellness checklist.

LEAH: Pain or knees or your back or whatever.

TERESA: Yep. And daily we're confronted with the increasing number of people with mental health problems. More and more people of all ages are experiencing anxiety and depression. Think about your own mental health. How are your moods? Are you in a bad mood? Maybe you're feeling just meh or maybe you're feeling good. If you've been eating real food and are feeling great, do you want to sabotage that feeling by overeating cookies you take from the cookie exchanges that are so popular at this time of year?

I just talked with a client very recently and she just had a cookie exchange and she didn't even want to go in the first place because I always, I don't always say this, but I would say that our past is a very good indicator of our future. Right? And so she had that feeling like, I know what happens here. I know what's going to happen. Even though she doesn't want it to happen, it's easier said than done. Right?

It's, even though you may have all, all the intentions in the world to not eat those cookies while you're there and not bring any home, it can go differently. And so she just was kind of filled with dread for this cookie exchange and with good reason. She went to the cookie exchange because it is a tradition and she wanted to honor that tradition.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: So part of her plan was to make a certain type of bar that she didn't necessarily care for, but she ate it anyway and found as she was eating it, she was thinking to herself, I don't really like this and yet why can't I stop? And she couldn't stop and she ate too much and she didn't feel well. And then of course after the cookie exchange is over, she had to take some of the, you know, take, there's some of them leftover afterwards.

You know, you kind of get a, a part of everybody's. And she had an even harder time at home. So finally out of desperation she threw them away. And I know that that's like many people are like, throw it away?

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: But for her, if we think about this situation, she felt physically awful. She felt mentally wrecked by this what supposed to be a wonderful tradition of the holiday. And it was just really causing heartache for her. And so it's tricky. These types of situations that come up at this time of year are tricky. And so we're not necessarily saying don't go to the cookie exchange, although for her maybe that would've been the solution for her.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: But it's learning to manage these situations. So learning to manage the cookie exchange.

LEAH: Yep. Yeah. I love, I love that word, manage. How do you manage the cookie exchange habit? And that this exact scenario came up in one of those, one of our Ongoing Support and Education classes too. So again, I think some of this is on people's minds. And maybe, maybe you first again, check in with yourself. Am I baking for my friends and family or are these cookies, at least some of them, are they going to be reserved for me? Or maybe another question is asking yourself, do I, do I need all that sugar?

TERESA: The answer's probably no.

LEAH: Yeah. The answer's probably no.

TERESA: For many us, for many of us, one cookie leads to another, leads to another. Right? We can eat them like popcorn. They're so good. And they're so hard to, it's so hard to stop. Once you get that taste in your mouth, it's so hard to stop. Last year a client told me that she had 24 dozen Christmas cookies hiding in her garage ready to sabotage her weight loss goals. That's 288 cookies ready to be eaten half frozen, which when they're kind of half frozen is really extra good I feel like.

LEAH: Oh my goodness. Yes.

TERESA: Right. And for maybe for those of you that don't live in the frozen tundra, in the winter, our garages, they also double as refrigerators and freezers just kind of depending on what the temperature is outside.

LEAH: Yeah. So you've literally times 50 your storage capacity for these things. Right?

TERESA: Absolutely. Yep. And you know, and that is actually a decent strategy if you're one of those out sight out of mind kind of people: keeping the cookies out of the house. Maybe a strategy that could work for you.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: But for her, it was calling to her. She could hear the cookies calling from the garage.

LEAH: Yep. Yep. So that wasn't, yeah. For her it just wasn't, it wasn't enough space between her and, and those cookies.

TERESA: Right.

LEAH: Yeah. So yeah. So how do you, how do you manage that cookie exchange habit? I mean, you mentioned for some people throwing it away, you know, as, as hard as that is for some, that might be an answer for others or maybe you find a different activity. You know, maybe if you have a group of close friends and you want to do something different, something that doesn't focus around cookies or the sugar, you volunteer at a food shelf. Or maybe you make soups instead. Like you're still making something and sharing food is a some people's love language. But sharing that stuff.

TERESA: Maybe you could do a soup exchange.

LEAH: Yes. Yep.

TERESA: Everybody makes a different soup and then you put it in like two cup servings and…

LEAH: Yeah. I, yeah, exactly. That's still great. And soup, especially like you said, frozen tundra. We appreciate good soups here in Minnesota.

TERESA: Yes we do. Well you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many of you listen to Dishing Up Nutrition weekly and have been listeners for years. And we thank you. Next week Mel and Britni will be sharing their expertise about how to support your immune system during the holidays. Yes, covid and the flu are still with us. And then Mel and Kelly on December 17th, will discuss what to eat to maintain your strength during cancer treatments. If you appreciate our shows and our podcasts, let us know. We work hard to provide life changing information. Tell us if we are making a difference in your life.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you swing through a coffee house, drive through and get a coffee mocha or a creme brulee latte, it will cost you somewhere in the realm of $6 to $8. It will also contain at least 35 grams of sugar or nine to 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Now, vice versa, you could make your own coffee at home using organic coffee beans and regular heavy cream. Put a scoop of our Key Greens chocolate in there and if you're feeling extra fancy, take a little peppermint extract. Put a drop or two of that peppermint extract into that coffee mixture. And now you've made your own kind of peppermint mocha; festive, but it saves you $2 to $3. And there's no sugar or other mystery ingredients going into that coffee drink. You have organic cream and coffee, no artificial additives. Then you're also getting a great boost of some antioxidants from those Key Greens. It's better for your health and better for your budget.

More ideas on how to tackle a cookie exchange


All right. So you know, before we went to break we were talking about actually just how might you tackle that cookie exchange; giving you some ideas or some alternatives. Teresa threw out the idea of actually doing a soup exchange, which I love. We've done that with friends before in the past and everyone appreciates having some different soups in the fridge, especially if you need some meal ideas for the week.

Another idea: we have this this recipe on our website is doing some slow roasted nuts and then you can put them in fancy little jars and dress them up. But the recipe that we have is called Crispy Nuts. So it's actually in our Weight and Wellness cookbook and it's also on our website. So if you go to, we have a whole recipes tab and you can search for it there.

TERESA: Yeah. It's such a great recipe. I actually do make this every holiday season. I should make it more. But I definitely do make it this holiday season. And I do put it in kind of fun jars and give it out as gifts because it is really yummy. And it's a very simple process. It's time intensive, but it's simple.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: So you just take raw nuts. I like to do pecans. I feel like they work the best. That's my preferences is raw pecans. I do a whole bunch of them. I put them in a big bowl, cover them with water and put a bunch of salt in the water.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And let them sit overnight. So you want it to let sit for about seven hours.

LEAH: Sure.

TERESA: And then the next day drain it in a colander, rinse, rinse it with water, and then spread them out in a single layer on a, on a sheet pan. And then you bake them in your oven on the lowest temperature your oven will go. So if your oven has a dehydrate mode or a drying mode, use that. Otherwise somewhere in the 150 as low as that, as as your oven will go. And then you just let them roast for 12 to 24 hours.

And you just kind of, every, whenever you think of it, just give them a stir and then the and you can, I always sample them as I go. And then when they get to the crispiness you like they're done. So they are fantastic and what I can say too is if you want to sweeten them up just a little bit, if you make an egg wash, so just get some egg whites and then put the, put those crispy nuts in that egg wash and then spread them out again on that pan and sprinkle it with a little cinnamon and sugar and just a touch of salt, it'll bring out that sweetness and then you can have more of a sweet nut that's much lower in sugar because you can control the amount on that.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: And it has that little touch of sweet and that could be something that you could bring to a cookie exchange as well. So that there's, you know, it's, it's got that sweet, that sweetness to it.

LEAH: Right. Still festive and still again, I don't know anybody that I've met who would not appreciate something like that so.

TERESA: Right. Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of nice to have that alternative.

LEAH: Yeah. You know, something savory or, or something less sweet. Right. Yes, definitely. No, I love that idea. And let's just look at, as we're wrapping up our show for the last couple of minutes, you know, let's look at just a couple other wellness habits that you can practice during these holidays so you can protect your health and protect some of those weight loss efforts.

Wellness habits to practice during the holidays


So I'd say the first one, we've talked a little bit about this on the show now, but avoiding the high sugar coffee drinks. So you avoid the high sugar coffee drinks, especially the ones that just invoke sugar in the name like iced sugar cookie almond milk latte. Like that just screams extra sugar and probably is not going to help your waistline. So if we can avoid the high sugar drinks there, it's good for your waistline and also good for your budget. So maybe instead you order the black coffee, you ask for heavy cream, the half and half or I like, I'll just even bring a little bit of canned coconut milk, like the full fat canned coconut milk. I just need it a little creamy, put a dollop of that in there and good to go.

TERESA: I was at my favorite coffee place and I noticed they were advertising a candy cane mocha and because it's a chain, it has to advertise how many calories is in it. So I didn't look up the sugar, but it was 400 calories for a medium. And I was thinking to myself 400 calories, well it's not quite a meal and if I would drink this, it wouldn't replace the meal. So this is really just in addition to everything else I'm probably going to eat for the day if I would choose to have this. And yeah. It wouldn't fill me up at all. Right? I mean maybe for, maybe for a half hour, 45 minutes.

LEAH: Yeah. You feel good for a little bit but then, but then you're ready to eat again.

TERESA: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So it would just be in addition and, and honestly with those coffee drinks, I feel like treating it like a dessert. Because that's what they are. They're desserts. So every time you go to the coffee house and you get a candy cane mocha or a whatever we were talking about, it's dessert. This is not coffee. It is dessert.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: So off of coffee but into going to holiday events, that can be really challenging. And, and the holiday parties and navigating the food that's there. Before going to the party, I don't really like to go to the parties really hungry cause I never, you never really know what's going to be there and is there going to be foods that I can have that are going to be on goal with what I like to do?

Don't get me wrong, I love to sample everything that I can sample. I love it, I love it all. But to just sort of safeguard myself away from overeating all those foods that I love, I like to eat a mini meal of some sort of a, a meat or protein, have some veggies, get that good fiber in there and then also having some natural fats to help all of that stick. Like just to slow down that digestion so that when I arrive to that party I'm not hungry. My blood sugar is nice and balanced. I'm not looking for that wine to balance it out.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: Or, or the cookies or whatever. And then I don't go right to the chips either or nibble my way through like all the food that's there.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And I, I did something like that oh a couple of weeks ago and, and actually and what I had available in my fridge, because again I was just kind of pulled open the fridge. What is there? I actually had some cooked shrimp that was already in there. So I just did a couple of pieces of shrimp, did some baby carrots and had just a, a small guacamole cup. So like a little protein, some kind of vegetable carbs, a little bit of fat. Good to go. And again, like then you're not, you don't arrive to the party with eyes on the table already.


LEAH: Yeah. And then one of the last, one of the last ones that I'll say is just in terms of drinking water, I always have a water bottle. I usually have like three that I've got in my various places. But making sure that you are staying hydrated throughout the day, that is one way it can help you avoid some of the alcohol, but also then you don't mistake some of that thirst for actual like hunger. And then again, you arrive to these places that have that decadent and food and, and you overeat.

TERESA: Yes. Well our goal at Dishing Up Nutrition and Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us and have a happy holiday.

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