It’s your truly, The Clean Eating Coach, with a simple idea to help you practice clean eating during the holidays and not eat everything in sight only to regret it come January when you’ve gained weight: bring a healthy, clean eating dish to your upcoming holiday gathering that you can enjoy without all the January guilt and extra pounds.
Have you ever had the experience of walking into a party, seeing a spread of food and diving in without any notion of how many calories or grams of fat you were consuming? If you’ve been there before, I totally understand – I’ve definitely overindulged that way in the past too. But these days, especially as we get older, eating everything in site with reckless abandon may taste great going down, but isn’t so good once the new year rolls around.
Instead of feeling like you don’t have a lot of healthy options at your next gathering, why not bring a dish you know is healthy that you and others can enjoy? Focus on healthy, low fat clean eating ingredients such as beans, greens, whole grains and lean meat. Substitute olive oil for butter and Greek yogurt for mayonnaise.
One of my favorite dishes to bring to a potluck during the holidays, or any time of year for that matter, is super simple and absolutely delicious. It features high fiber, gluten-free quinoa, chick peas and spinach. A liberal amount of orange zest plus raisins and cinnamon add fantastic flavor. It seems like every time I make this, it’s a bit hit, as I discussed on Good Morning Connecticut yesterday morning:
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy and share at your next event.
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
½ tsp. sea salt
zest from two oranges
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup raisins
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or canned organic chickpeas)
6 cups washed and chopped spinach leaves
salt to taste
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
1 orange, cut into wedges
Rinse the quinoa well and drain in a fine-mesh sieve. Combine water and orange juice and bring to a boil in a 1-½ or 2 quart saucepan. Add the salt, orange zest, and the rinsed quinoa. Return to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 10 minutes to fluff up.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the onions and sauté over medium-high heat for 10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add raisins, chickpeas and spinach. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Adjust heat if necessary. Drain any excess water after cooking the spinach. Season to taste with salt.
Combine the vegetables into the quinoa. Stir in cinnamon. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and orange wedges.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
What’s your favorite healthy, clean eating dish to take to bring to a party that you know others will love? How do you avoid holiday overindulgence?