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My Holiday Wish List

Picture me as the elf on your shelf with some insight to make your holidays bright. When it comes to holiday eating thoughts can be so defeating and too many people become their own worst enemy, engaging in self scolding instead of self soothing. This should not be the season of neglect but rather a season of self respect,  and taking charge of what you can with your eats, your movement and your stress management. Prioritizing self-health, being present, patient and purposeful is self-caring.

Sure the holiday season is about the meals, the cookies, and the festivities but honestly, do you really want to miss out on some of those family favs that you crave? I didn’t think so, so why should you? Instead, sit down, savor, take the time to enjoy that meal or treat. Should you modify your favorite holiday goodies? My answer would be no, but you could make them smaller, make fewer, put some out on a plate instead of the whole cookie tin. And why not put out some other foods in addition to the sweets? Boards are hot right now and a dessert board could have a few treats, some gorgeous fruit and even cheese all of which are sure to please.

Bring the sense-surround to your holiday table. Visual appeal, mouthwatering smells, texture, temperature and taste brings the yum instead of the ho-hum. I am a sucker for anything orange- as article of clothing or citrus. Talk about the original aromatheraphy! I just adore clementines, grapefruit or oranges on their own, or sliced in a citrus fennel salad, in cider, grated zest added to goat cheese, clementine wedges and pomegranate arils in a chopped kale salad.

And on the subject of boards, sure you can do a traditional charcuterie board or meat and cheese BUT why not add some produce to the plate? I had the opportunity to team up with Jen Saffron, owner of Sprezztura and she shared her insight on how to create tasty bites. Her tips included 1) cutting the cheese into thinner slices, and if you add meat, 2) use very thinly sliced salami or prosciutto AND don’t be afraid to showcase fruits and veggies! 3)roasted red peppers, green olives, pickles, carrot sticks, fig jam, a goat cheese ball rolled in pistachios, fennel leaves, orange zest, beautiful berries, thinly sliced apples and pears, cherry tomatoes and fig jam. Put out some toothpicks and let guests assemble their own skewers, or create a s’more with apple, goat cheese and fig jam. Nutrish and delish on every dish.

Tis the season for pairing and sharing, not despairing about what you should not be eating. #morejoylessoy. Happy Holidays!

Leslie Bonci

Leslie Bonci is a Pittsburgh-based registered dietitian, sports dietitian and owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie Bonci. She works with professional athletes ) surreal people) and real people to help them strategize, optimize and realize their goals. Leslie is an author, blogger and media expert. She and her husband Fred reside in Point Breeze and are the parents of two sons and grandparents to 3 little ones. 

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