10 Recommended Healthy Holiday Recipes

Options for Any Occasion During the Holidays

We all have our traditional favorite recipes that we have to have during the holidays – many of which may not be the healthiest. That, of course, is perfectly fine. It is the holidays after all! But if you’re trying to come up with at least a few ideas that are a little to a lot healthier or at least “healthy-ish,” you may feel stumped as far as where to get some ideas. That’s why I’ve put together this list of 10 recommended healthy holiday recipes. I’ve done the legwork for you with these, and I can vouch for how they turned out. I also offer notes on how to make many of them allergy-friendly if needed and many are already paleo, vegan, or vegetarian as is. You’re sure to find an option here to fit any way of eating and any occasion during the holidays.

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The Importance of Traditions

Tips for Beginning New Traditions

From marking birthdays, to Sunday dinners, to Fourth of July picnics, to any of the other ways we mark milestones, events or simply being together – our cultures are full of traditions. While these can be found in daily life or on special occasions, they’re extremely important during the holidays. Some of these traditions have a religious foundation, while others are centered around simply sharing a common experience that unifies and brings us together. Either way, they help to center and ground us and help to add meaning to the ordinary and the extraordinary. That’s why we’re going to explore why traditions are so important, as well as how to start new ones for you and your family.

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Intentional Gift Giving

Creative, Unique and Meaningful Gift Ideas

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of this time of year that sometimes we forget a very important aspect of what the holidays are all about. Giving. To others and for others. No wonder we can end up in the middle of all the hustle and bustle feeling deflated, depleted and broke. If our main objective is simply crossing off a list or filling a gift bag, we, as givers, get nothing from it and more than likely, the recipient doesn’t get much from it either. If, on the other hand, we put thought, energy and intention into the gifts we give, we’re not only giving joy, we’re creating it for ourselves as well.

Coming up with creative and meaningful gifts is something my family enjoys doing. That’s not to say that we don’t have crazy, busy years where we just check off a list, but those are the holiday seasons I enjoy the least because it means we’re too wrapped up in ourselves and the craziness of life. Intentional gift giving gets us out of ourselves and prompts us to stop and think about what would not only make others happy, but what would bring them joy. Here are some creative, unique and meaningful gift ideas to help get those juices flowing.

For it is in giving that we receive.

photo background by George Dolgikh from Pexels

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A Realistic Guide to Staying Healthy During the Holidays

How To Fit Good Nutrition and Exercise Into a Busy Holiday Schedule

As wonderful and exciting as the holidays are, let’s face it, they can also be busy and demanding. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does put even more constraints on our already packed schedules. Navigating them and all of the extra decadent food that’s sitting around without losing sight of our health and wellness can be tricky at best and overwhelming at worst. It’s tempting to say that we’re going to put all thoughts of exercise and eating healthy on the back burner until after the first of the year, but that’s really not doing us any favors and may actually take away from our enjoyment of the season.

Caring for ourselves while doing everything else that needs to be done and that we want to do is a fine line to walk. That’s why I asked American Council on Exercise (ACE) Director of Product Development and personal trainer Lauren Shroyer, MS, ATC,  for some advice that can help all of us. In this Q&A, she offers a realistic guide to staying healthy during the holidays as well as tips for fitting good nutrition and exercise into a busy holiday schedule. She even offers a sample workout that can be done quickly and with no equipment.

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Essential Oils: A Natural Alternative That Promotes Health and Healing

How They Work, How They Help and How To Get Started

If you’re tired of popping a pill every time you get a headache or looking for an alternative for that nightly glass of wine to help you unwind, or you’re tired of having a cabinet full of cleaning products that contain chemical ingredients you can’t even pronounce, essential oils might be something you’ll want to explore. While the science behind them is young, their use is not. We’ve come full circle to what our ancestors and indigenous people knew long ago. Essential oils are natural alternatives that promote health and healing, and we’re going to show you how they work, how they help and how to get started.

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Part 2: Phone Breakup

How We Can Move On

Cell phone use, especially smartphone use, is on the rise, and the way we live our lives is a reflection of that. Statistics released by the Pew Research Center earlier this year, show that 77 percent of Americans own smartphones – up from 35 percent in 2011. We’re no longer tied to computers or desks to get information. It’s at our fingertips whenever and wherever we need it. In fact, the same report shows that “Today one-in-five American adults are ‘smartphone-only’ internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.” While there are many good things about so many people being connected to information in this way, there are also many pitfalls. Mainly, as we become more connected to our phones, we run the risk of becoming less connected to each other and to the world around us.

As I told you in Part 1: Breaking Up With My Cellphone, I started seeing this in my own life. A completely unhealthy, dependent relationship with my phone had emerged, and something needed to change. I needed a breakup. Part 1 was about how I came to this realization and how I relied on How To Break Up With Your Phone author Catherine Price and  Good Morning America’s #phonebreakup Challenge to help lead me through the process. Now, I’m sharing what the seven-day breakup was like, how I’m moving on with a new relationship with my phone and how you can too.

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Breaking Up with My Cellphone

Why We Aren’t Saying Goodbye, But We Are Seeing Other People

I can’t say it was love at first sight. In fact, I was fairly intimidated going from my flip phone to this mini-computer that fit in my hand. I was awkward, self-conscious and all the things you normally feel when you’re first getting to know each other. But as soon as I found out everything this magical piece of technology known as a “smart phone” could actually do, I was over the moon. It wasn’t too long though before our healthy love affair became a one-sided obsession.

Now, if I accidentally leave it at home or walk from one room to another without it, it feels as if I’m missing a part of myself. Considering I have a wonderful husband, two sons and a dog who’s only wish in life is to be petted, this in no way shape or form could be classified as a healthy relationship with my cellphone. That’s why, when I saw a segment on Good Morning America with ABC anchor Dan Harris and How To Break Up With Your Phone author Catherine Price about how she helped him to break up with his phone, I knew I had to do the same. I’m a health and wellness writer for heaven’s sake! I know this isn’t healthy, and it’s certainly not good for my overall wellbeing. With the help of GMA’s #phonebreakup Challenge, I’m breaking up with my cellphone. While we’re not saying goodbye, we’re definitely seeing other people – and at least for me, that’s a good thing! After reading this, you may want to evaluate whether you’re in need of a phone breakup as well.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

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Safe Food Storage Containers

Addressing the concerns over plastic, what to use instead and how to use plastic correctly

Food storage containers are like socks and underwear. For most of us, there are so many more fun and exciting things we’d rather buy. The fact of the matter though is that these containers are some of the most used, most important parts of our kitchen and our everyday lives. If we don’t give them the thought they deserve, they could be causing us a lot of harm. How? Because the plastic storage containers, baggies and plastic wraps that most of us grew up with might be leaching chemicals that are proven endocrine-disruptorsinto our food if not used exactly right, and let’s face it, most of us aren’t using them exactly right.

This is a topic I don’t take lightly because I know I’m behind the curve in addressing this issue in my own kitchen. While we are transitioning to safer products, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. That’s why I turned to the mountains of research available out there and to chef, nutritionist and award-winning cookbook author Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN for guidance for us all. As a topic that she’s well-versed in, she steers us in the right direction when it comes to safe food storage containers, and if we do use plastic, how to use it correctly.

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Financial Stress to Prosperity: How to Improve Overall Wellness

Steps to Take Toward Financial Wellness and a Healthier You

How do finances fit into a conversation about health and wellness? The answer is, very well! They’re as much a part of the equation as what we eat, what our mental state is and how our body feels. Remember, everything we do is connected to everything else, and while many things have an impact on our overall wellbeing, there are very few that have the far-reaching effects that financial stress or financial wellness do. That’s why we have to think about our finances in holistic terms and why this is such an important topic to cover in the health and wellness space. It’s also why I went to best-selling author, money expert, and speaker Ellen Rogin to find out how shifting our mindset can shift our reality when it comes to financial wellness.  She explains how that happens and shares steps we can take that will move us from financial stress to prosperity and overall wellness.

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Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP

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Breast Cancer Awareness Part 2: One Survivor’s Life-Saving Warning to All Women

Breast Cancer Detection Advice and Resources

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and there’s no better way to learn about breast cancer than to hear from someone who’s been there. In Breast Cancer Awareness Part 1: One Survivor’s Life-Saving Warning to All Women, we met survivor Susan Leonard. We heard her story of detection, diagnosis and treatment in her own words, and we learned that she was only 44 years old with no family history and no genetic markers for the disease when she was diagnosed in 2016. Her story is scary but inspiring, and she has an important message for all women – especially those under the age of 50. “You can get breast cancer when you’re young.”

That’s why she wants to make sure that as many women as possible hear that warning, as well as her potentially life-saving breast cancer detection advice. At the end, you’ll find plenty of resources to help you learn more about this potentially deadly disease and the next steps you can take to be your own best advocate. Thank you Susan for being willing to share your story.

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Susan Leonard – October 2016 (Left) and November 2017 (Right)

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