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Holiday Hacks

Here are some holiday hacks for speeding things up in the kitchen without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most chaotic! We get to celebrate with loved ones and attend holiday parties, gatherings, gift-giving celebrations, and vacations which can be a ton of fun or exhausting!

This year, give yourself the gift of taking some shortcuts and incorporating these holiday hacks to take the pressure off your daily life so you can enjoy and be merry!

Go Semi-Homemade

Although I am pro-cooking, shortcuts sometimes transform a potential take-out night into a winning kitchen experience. For example:

  • You can add high-quality protein to soups and chilis by incorporating rotisserie chicken, or stuff lettuce leaves with the shredded chicken, squeeze some fresh lime on top,, and have a fast and easy lunch.

  • Grab a bag of frozen cauliflower, a container of pre-cut peppers, and onion at the market. Sautee the onion in olive oil or butter, and add the diced bell peppers and the cauliflower. Season with your favorite seasonings, and you have a quick and filling side dish. Combine with a protein and make it a meal!

  • When it comes to pre-chopped veggies, pick up the ones that are hard to manage and time-sensitive to prepare, like squash. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for a side dish or added to salads during the week.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Whatever the time of year, batch cooking is an efficient way to maintain a healthy diet. It involves cooking more than you need at the moment, so you can use all of your cooking tools (read: it's more efficient!). Unlike leftovers, batch cooking is usually about repurposing one component. For instance:

  • Need rice or quinoa for your Monday night meal? Make a large batch to easily incorporate it in salads and grain bowls all week long.

  • Making hard-boiled eggs? It takes the same time to make six as it takes to make two. Enjoy as a snack, crumble into salads, or mash with some avocado.

  • Baking sweet potatoes? Make a few more than you need, and you'll have the base for an easy, customizable lunch ready. You can also purée or mash the flesh for baked goods and use it in place of pumpkin in a recipe.

Sheet Pan and One Pot Meals

Raise your hand if your least favorite part of cooking is the cleanup. I feel you! Make it easier on yourself by searching for one-dish meals to reduce the time spent doing the dishes. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Create baking pockets by lining foil with parchment, then crimping for perfectly roasted fish that stays juicy, never dry.

  • Roasting your favorite protein with seasonal produce is a tasty no-fuss way to incorporate a few servings of vegetables into a meal.

  • Still haven't learned how to use your Instant Pot? Now would be a good time! You can get frozen proteins to the table fast with this safe and simple pressure cooker. A simple 12-minute recipe: frozen protein [like chicken thighs] + favorite jarred tomato sauce + a jar of olives = yummy cacciatore that will have everyone running to the table for dinner. If you use plant-based protein, like dried chickpeas, soak the dried beans overnight and be sure they are covered with fluid [jarred sauce + some broth] before cooking in Instant Pot.

If you are looking for holiday recipes, strategies and support, join my private Facebook group. Not only do I share recipes but strategies and hacks to help you improve your insulin resistance and manage your disease.


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