Healthy Holiday Survival Guide

Posted by Dr. Lucky Bennett, ND, CPT on Nov 24, 2020 2:29:39 PM

Research studies show that most adults gain some weight over the holidays. It doesn't have to be that way — this year can be different! Here are seven great ways to enjoy the holidays without adding pounds. From healthy eating to a healthy mind, some of these seven simple tips are guaranteed to contribute to your overall sense of well-being inside and out this holiday season!

Guide to Healthy Holiday Eating

1.  Focus on tradition and comfort foods. Even though you may not be spending the holidays together, if your family makes special foods for the holidays, make sure they are a part of this year’s celebration. If you can see if you can coordinate your own food preparation with other family members. You might not be in the same kitchen cooking, but you can still cook together. 

2.  Consider those who are struggling this holiday season. Consider donating non-perishable food to a food bank or working with your local food bank or church to donate a meal to a family that is struggling. You can also make a little extra of the dishes your own family will be enjoying to give to a neighbor who may not be able to see their own family this year. 

3.  Be aware of your sugar intake. Sugar is great comfort food that usually feels good as we’re eating it, but the satisfaction is short-lived. Too much sugar can negatively affect mood, energy, digestion, and immune function. 

4.  Make extra protein. Protein is the building block your body needs to maintain and build muscle, but it’s also important for immune and hormone function. Protein is also the macronutrient that many people under-eat. By making extra protein when you’re preparing your holiday meals, you’re giving yourself the gift of leftovers and you’ll be able to save time, effort, and clean-up in the days to come.      
5.  Find a new way to cook vegetables. Spend 10 minutes looking for a new vegetable recipe. See if you can find a vegetable dish that has at least three different vegetables in it. As with making extra protein, making extra vegetables will give you a break when it comes to feeding yourself and your family for a few days.                                                                                                                                               
6.  If you drink alcohol, consider limiting the number of drinks you consume this holiday season. Similar to sugar, alcohol can dramatically affect mood, energy, and immunity. Try an alternative like flavored sparkling water with cranberries or other fruit in it, or find a mocktail recipe online.

7.  Practice gratitude. This last recommendation isn’t strictly food-related, but it’s important nonetheless. For most people, this holiday season is like none in living memory. Document this time by photographing the meal and the people who are present to eat it. Keep a record of the recipes you used and who helped prepare the food. Ask your family, both in your home and afar, what they are grateful for and write it down. You can assemble the photos, recipes, and your family’s responses into a single document that can serve as a time capsule. 

Need more help with your nutrition plan this holiday season and beyond?LuckyBennett1_portrait (1)-1

Why not schedule a virtual nutrition consultation with our nutrition guru and certified personal trainer, Dr. Lucky Bennett? She can help guide you past the pitfalls of the holiday and set you up for success in the new year. With either 30 or 60 minute sessions available, working with Dr. Bennett could be the best present you give yourself this holiday season!

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please email:


Topics: nutrition advice for women, nutrition, healthy recipes, nutritional coaching for women

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Bites? OH YEAH!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 19, 2012 11:24:00 AM

Pumpkin, Pumpkin Everywhere

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches suddenly pumpkin is all around us. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin's EVERYWHERE! We decided to bring you a healthy and tasty twist on a Thanksgiving day classic. While you may not be willing to pass on grandma's pumpkin pie this Turkey Day but beyond the celebration, these little balls are bites of pure heaven, filled with nutritious deliciousness. If you love pumpkin pie recipes, you are gonna LOVE these Healthy Pumpkin Pie Bites!

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Protein Bites Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup + more if needed organic all-natural peanut butter (almond or any other nut butter is fine)Pumpkin Pie Protein Bites resized 600
  • 1/3 cup agave
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Place all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and stir until a sticky batter forms.  It should be wet enough to form into balls without falling apart.  Form into 24 bite-size balls and store in the fridge until ready to eat.  

This healthy Thanksgiving recipe is easier than pie! :)


Bonus Tip for Healthier Eating on Thanksgiving:

Don't waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long. Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods.



If you are "lightening up" your holiday menu we at The Women's Club would love to hear what you are making and how you're giving it a healthy twist. Drop your healthy Thanksgiving recipes into the comment box below. Women's Club blog readers LOVE it when you share!


Topics: healthy eating for women, healthy recipes

12 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 2, 2012 7:20:00 PM

Yup...You Read It Right!

It IS possible to make a meal that not only healthy AND tasty but can be put on your plate in 12 minutes or less. This is awesome news as so often even the most well-intentioned woman can find herself with a burger in one hand and a soda in the other just because it is fast and convenient. we don't have to tell you that the latter is NOT an example of good nutrition advice for women or anyone else for that matter!

Make these yummy meals for yourself, for your family or for guests. Added don't have to be Julia Child to whip 'em just have to have a kitchen and 12 minutes (or less)!

For Breakfast

1.  Breakfast Quickie Cookie
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine ½ cup oats, ¼ cup liquid egg whites, 1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar, 1 ½ tbsp. all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. baking powder, 2 tbsp. raisins, and cinnamon to taste. Flatten half the mixture into the bottom of the bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Pop cookie out of the bowl and repeat with the second half of mixture.

2.  Sun-Dried Tomato Omelet
Coat a pan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Pour in 3 egg whites mixed with 1 tsp. water and salt and pepper (to taste). When eggs begin to set, top half with 

2 tbsp. goat cheese½ cup fresh spinach, and 2 tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Fold in half and cook 2 more minutes, or until egg whites are set, veggies are warmed through, and cheese is melted.


3.  Breakfast Taco
In a pan spritzed with cooking spray over medium-high heat, scramble 3 egg whites, a small handful of spinach leaves, and 1 tbsp. drained and rinsed black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap mixture in an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla and top with 1 tbsp. salsa

4.  Berry Yogurty Smoothie
Blend together ½ cup frozen strawberries½ cup frozen blueberries1 cup plain low-fat yogurt2 tsp. honey, and ¼ cup milk of choice.


For Lunch

5.  Taco Salad
For the dressing, combine 2 tbsp. salsa1 tbsp. low-fat Greek yogurt1 tsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. chili powder. Serve dressing over a salad with 2 cups baby spinach½ thinly sliced celery stalk1 chopped scallion1 tbsp. chopped black olives2 tbsp. corn and ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans. Optional: Add ½ lightly toasted tortilla cut into strips to each salad. 

6.  Low-Carb Roll-Up
On a plate, layer 1 slice low-sodium deli turkey and 1 slice provolone cheese. Spread the
cheese with 1 tsp. pesto (homemade or store-bought!) and top with 2 slices of avocado. Roll up the turkey and repeat 2 more times. 


7.  Curried Chicken Salad
Combine 2 tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt and ¼ tbsp. curry powder. Add ½ cup roasted chicken (diced)1/8 cup red onion (diced)¼ cup grapes (halved), and 1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped). Serve atop a large handful of mixed greens

8.  Loaded Sweet Potato
Prick 1 sweet potato with a fork 4 to 5 times. Microwave on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate for 4 to 5 minutes. Split open lengthwise and top with 2 tbsp. nonfat Greek yogurt1 tsp. honey2 tbsp. drained and rinsed black beans, and a pinch of paprika.


For Dinner

9.  Portobello Burgers
Preheat a grill or grill pan. Whisk together 1 clove garlic (minced)½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar1 tbsp. olive oil, and ½ tsp. fresh basil (finely chopped). Drizzle half the sauce over 1 Portobello mushroom cap. Grill the mushroom for 3 to 4 minutes per side, covered.


 Meanwhile, combine the remaining sauce with ½ tbsp. light mayo and spread on 1 whole-wheat bun (lightly toasted). Place the mushroom cap, 1 tomato slice, and 1 lettuce leaf on the bun. 

10.  From-Scratch Fish Sticks
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 1 6-oz. cod filet into 6 strips. Season with 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Bread each by dipping into 1 egg (scrambled) and then ½ cup seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place on a foil-lined
baking sheet, spritz fish strips with cooking spray, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Serve with a green salad (2 handfuls of spinach or mixed greens with a spritz of oil and vinegar) for a healthy dose of veggies! 

11.  Couscous with Chicken Sausage Ragu
Cook 1 serving couscous according to microwave instructions, about 7 to 10 minutes. While couscous is cooking, heat ½ tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Slice open 1 uncooked chicken sausage to remove the casing and add meat to the pan. Add ¼ cup onion (chopped)and sauté, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon. When the meat is no longer pink (about 4 to 5 minutes), add 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes1 garlic clove (minced)1/8 cup basil leaves (chopped), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes to warm through and toss with couscous.

12.  Superfood Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Prepare 1 serving angel hair pasta according to package instructions, about 10 minutes (including the time it takes to boil the water). Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and cook ½ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp seasoned with a pinch of salt for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove shrimp and add 1 tbsp. olives (chopped)1 tbsp. parsley (chopped), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 1 minute and add 1 cup fresh baby spinach½ cup halved cherry tomatoes¼ cup chicken broth, and 1/8 cup white wine. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp and serve with pasta


Even MORE 12-Minute Recipes from the


Share with the Class!

We would love to pass along some of your fast and healthy favorites! Drop your name and a link into the comments section so we all can add some delish new dishes to our repertoire!


If you need a little help coming up with some convenient and healthy options and you live in the Chantilly area, we have a brilliant nutritionist on staff as well as our nationally recognized Nutritional Coaching for Women program that can help guide you on your way. Contact Us for more details.

Source: Recipes from

Topics: nutrition advice for women, healthy eating for women, healthy recipes

Healthy Recipes for Women: 3 Thanksgiving Classics Lightened Up!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 21, 2011 12:30:00 PM

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, your mouth is probably already starting to water thinking of all of those delicious holiday classics. You are probably also thinking about what your favorite Turkey Day treats will do to your diet or healthy living plan...but fear not! This ultimate eater's holiday does not have to mean sacrificing your healthy diet OR sacrificing the taste bud-tingling pleasure that comes with eating our holiday favorites. We have scoured the net for the best "healthier" options and present to you our top 3 just as delicious, but much more nutritious versions of some of your faves!

Green Bean Casserole

This recipe from SHAPE Magazine  who is famous for sharing the best in healthy eating for women, has all of the creaminess and the crunch of the classic version but with only 90 calories per 3/4 cup serving!

4c  fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cooking spray

2  shallots, slicedhealthy thanksgiving recipe green bean casserole

8oz  baby bella mushrooms (or any mushrooms), sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

2c  plus 2 tablespoons rice milk, divided

2T  cornstarch

10  wonton wrappers

Fill a 2-quart saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Place green beans in water and cook just until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and spritz with cooking spray. Sauté shallots until translucent and just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are soft and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Use a bit more cooking spray if necessary to prevent the mushrooms from burning or drying out.

Shake rice milk thoroughly to thicken it, and add 2 cups to the pan with the mushrooms; bring to a boil. As the mixture is boiling, combine cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons of rice milk in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to rice milk in the pan; bring to a boil again. Whisk frequently until the sauce is thickened, then reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut wontons into thin strips. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 minutes. Stir, then bake until golden brown (another 2 to 3 minutes), monitoring carefully to prevent burning. Set aside to cool. (Don't turn off oven.) Add green beans to rice milk mixture, stir to coat evenly, and place in a 2-quart casserole dish greased with cooking spray; cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the rice milk mixture is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven; top with the crisp wontons. Serve immediately, family-style.

Stuffing with Celery and Thyme

With a little revision, Women's Health Magazine made this once-a-year favorite a low-calorie food that you can eat year-round at just 93 calories per serving!

4 cups cubed reduced-sodium whole-wheat bread

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 stalks celery, minced

1 cup chopped onions

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups frozen defatted chicken stock, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 12" x 8" baking dish with no-stick spray.  Coat a large baking sheet with no-stick spray. Place the bread on the baking sheet and mist with no-stick spray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

Coat a 10" no-stick skillet with no-stick spray and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil, celery, onions, poultry seasoning, thyme, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not browned.  Add the stock to the bread cubes in the bowl. Toss to mix. Add the onion mixture and mix well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Makes 8 servings.

Graham Cracker Pumpkin Pie

Swapping a pre-made or homemade dough crust for a graham cracker one can actually be healthier! Sugar substitutes and swapping tofu for milk and eggs help this recipe from Eating Well get even healthier, giving the pie a delicious, super-silky texture that's done in 2/3 the time.

healthy thanksgiving recipe pumpkin pie1 can (16 ounces) pureed pumpkin

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup Splenda sweetener

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 tbs. cornstarch to firm up the pie filling

1 package (10-12 ounces) silken/soft tofu

1 9-inch graham cracker crust pie shell 


Preheat oven to 425° F.

Mix the pumpkin and sugar. Add salt, spices, cornstarch and tofu, mix thoroughly.

Lower heat to 350° F and bake for another 60 minutes. Chill and serve.

Have a great, healthy Thanksgiving recipe? Share it in our comment section below!


Recipes from:

Women's Health Magazine's Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes 

SHAPE Magazine's Top 5 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

More recipes and healthy holiday tips, check out the article:

Thanksgiving Day 2011: Top Easy, Healthy Recipes for Your Holiday Menu




Topics: nutrition advice for women, healthy eating for women, healthy recipes

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