Setting Up for Holiday Success!!


Knowing that the holidays happen every year, gives us the advantage of planning ahead. Here are some helpful tips that will set you up for success in sticking to your health and fitness goals during the holidays.

When it comes to your exercise routine, schedule your workouts ahead of time.  You know how much better you feel after you’ve worked out. Make it a priority to get your workouts in. This will not only help you stick to your goals, but will also help relieve stress during this busy time of year.

If your holidays include travel, bring your exercise clothes and shoes with you. See if your hotel has an exercise area, or if it is near a gym. Pretty much every gym that I know of offers a free trial.

Will your holidays be scheduled to the max with family activities?  Perhaps you only have 10-15 minutes to yourself to squeeze in a quick workout. If so, choose your top 5 favorite body weight exercises and perform each one for 60 seconds. Record the number of repetitions you’re able to complete in one minute. Then repeat these exercises and see if you can get the same number or more repetitions the second time around.

We know they’re coming—the holiday parties. Whether it’s an office party or a small get together with your friends plan ahead.  I like to eat a nutritious, balanced meal before I go.  Because, after all, this time of year is about friends and family—not food.  Speaking of which, make sure to move around the room and visit with other party guests. If you’re bringing something to share, bring a fresh veggie tray with hummus or a yogurt dip. You’ll have something that you can enjoy that won’t derail your goals and others will appreciate having some veggies too. It’s ok to enjoy some treats just pick two of your favorites and commit to only eat those once.  One last thing, choose low calorie beverages.  Some alcoholic drinks can rack up the calories. Take a look at the chart below to see how some popular beverages stack up:

80 calories—White Wine (4 oz) 160 calories—Beer (12 oz)
85 calories—Red Wine (4 oz) 205 calories—Eggnog (4 oz)
100 calories—Light Beer (12 oz) 225 calories—Daiquiri (4 oz)
120 calories—Wine Cooler (8 oz) 262 calories—Pina Colada (4 oz)
150 calories—Gin & Tonic (4 oz) 270 calories—Margarita (4 oz)


When the holiday family meals come around, enjoy yourself!! Focus on spending time with your family and friends; building relationships and making memories. When it comes time for dessert, help yourself to a small piece—a big one won’t be any more satisfying or taste any better.

Also, don’t forget to explore fun ways to get the family moving. Perhaps you can share what you’re thankful for on a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Maybe start a game of kickball, or soccer. Above all, plan ahead, keep your health and fitness goals priority, make mindful choices and you will successfully make it through the upcoming holiday season.

Delicious, Nutritious Holiday Sides


Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Mashed Potatoes


Serves: 8 Hands-on time: 10 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes



1 ½ lb Yukon gold potatoes (3 medium), quartered

2 whole cloves garlic

½ teaspoon sea salt (optional), plus additional, to taste

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

1 roasted red bell pepper, diced

½ cup low-fat feta cheese, crumbled

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

6 to 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste



  1. Place potatoes and garlic into a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and ½ teaspoon of salt, if desired, and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, drain water, then return potatoes and garlic to pot and mash until almost smooth with a potato masher or fork. (NOTE: Potatoes should still be slightly chunky). Fold in yogurt, red pepper, feta lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and black pepper and serve immediately.



Coconut Cardamom Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 10 Hands-on time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes



5 medium sweet potatoes (3 ½ to 4 lb), peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces

¾ cup light coconut milk

2 teaspoons cardamom, ground

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup unsalted pecan halves, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add sweet potatoes, return to boiling and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl and a hand-held electric mixer).
  2. Add coconut milk, cardamom, vanilla, salt, black pepper and cayenne to potatoes. Mix on medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Transfer to a 9 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle pecans evenly over sweet potato mixture.
  3. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. Cool on rack for 10 minutes and serve.



Randall Family Favorite Lemon-Rosemary Green Beans

Serves: 6



1 lb fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed

½ teaspoon of salt, divided

¼ cup sliced green onion

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 teaspoons of grated lemon rind



  1. Sprinkle the fresh green beans evenly with ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  2. Place green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water; cover and steam until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
  3. Plunge green beans into ice water to stop cooking process. Drain.
  4. In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, sauté green onions and rosemary until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add green beans, pecans, lemon rind and remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir until thoroughly heated and serve immediately.