Happy Tuesday all! With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d share one of my new favorite recipes with you. It’s not a traditional holiday recipe, but it’s delicious and nutritious nonetheless.
Lamb is one of my favorite meats when I can get my hands on some grass-fed or locally grown cuts – it’s flavorful and very versatile. I’ve recently discovered lentils and I must say, I’m very impressed with their nutritional profile – one cup of cooked lentils packs 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber! I’ve combined the two to create a simple, delicious dish – the perfect comfort food for chilly fall and winter evenings.
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it turned out and what you thought of it!
Herb Roasted Lamb with Lentils
2 lb boneless lamb shoulder (New Zealand recommended as it is more likely to be grass-fed)
1 cup lentils
1-2 yellow onions, cut into rings
3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
A few fresh sprigs of thyme
A few fresh sprigs of rosemary
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place lamb shoulder in center of crockpot and add 1 cup stock (homemade preferred but a combination of water and red wine or red wine vinegar will work too).
Surround lamb with lentils. Season with pepper and salt to taste.
Pluck thyme and rosemary to cover meat and lentils. Add crushed evenly. Top with onion rings.
Set crockpot to low for 6-8 hours.
Divide into 3-4 servings (8 ounces lamb per serving)
With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I’d put together a list of things you can do to stay healthy while still enjoying the holiday season. So, without further ado, here are the top 6 recommendations I would make:
Stick to your normal eating habits. Don’t try skipping meals or eating less as this may lead to over-consuming snack foods and holiday treats.
Build meals around protein and veggies while minimizing starchy or sugary carbs such as fruits, grains, legumes, and potatoes. Always opt for more vegetables and protein to feel full.
Avoid liquid calories such as juices, milk, and mixed drinks. Get your calories from whole foods!
Once you are full from your meal, then indulge in whatever holiday treat you like most. My favorite is chocolate peanut butter balls! It’s a lot easier to enjoy one or two treats, rather than a dozen, after filling up on healthy food during mealtime.
Exercise whenever possible! This will mitigate stress that occurs during the holidays and protect your body from the damage of the indulgences. Exercise can be as simple as sprinting up a flight of stairs, going for a walk after meals, or performing a few sets of body weight pushups and squats.
For those that plan to consume alcoholic beverages: drink on an empty stomach. When alcohol is ingested, all other calories are sent to fat storage so the body can break down the alcohol as fast as possible. Pick drinks lower in sugar such as dry wines, champagnes, and hard liquors. Forgo the prepackaged sugary mixers and try flavoring with a lime or lemon. My approach is to have a NorCal Margarita (2 shots tequila, juice from an entire lime, ice, and club soda) a few hours before dinner. Finally, make the following meal high in protein and healthy fat. This will help blood sugar levels, protein synthesis, and hormones return to normal.
I personally choose to consume a whey protein shake and digestive enzymes before any meal that is high in processed carbs and low in nutrients, such as pasta or pizza.
Finally, don’t stress about indulging! The holidays should be about family, relaxation, and a change in routine. Sure, under-consuming protein and vitamins while over-consuming sugar and anti-nutrients isn’t going to improve health – but allowing stress levels to increase will only exacerbate fat storage and skew hormone levels.
Make the best choices you can as often as possible, but plan to enjoy yourself and have some indulgences. Then jump right back into clean eating and living on in January.
Hope these tips help everyone enjoy their holidays while staying healthy. See you all next year!