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Enjoy the Holidays – Without Guilt
By Cheryl Forberg, RD

With Thanksgiving comes the official start to the holiday season, and that means holiday parties are right around the corner. How will you navigate the smorgasbord of food without going overboard? If you are determined to stay on track throughout the holidays, there is only one way to approach celebrations: with a plan! These 5 tips will be your go-to for sticking to your health goals…even in the face of pumpkin pie!

  1. Eat & Exercise Before You Arrive
    As the holiday season gets under way, the invitations to parties start rolling in. How can you stick to your guns even before you arrive? Break a sweat! Make sure to get in a sweat session before the party and eat a small snack before leaving the house to ensure you do not overeat on fatty party foods. Like they say, if you fail to plan then you should plan to fail!

  2. Stick to Small Bites
    When faced with a long table of high calorie and high fat foods, it’s best to stick to smaller bites to avoid overeating. Don’t overload your plate and make sure to include a vegetable to round out richer dishes. Small sized appetizers will limit your intake and prevent unnecessary overindulgence.

  3. Mingle!
    One of the best ways to avoid the diet-busting dessert table? Mingling! Stand up and work the room, don’t hunker down in a corner with your plate. You will soon realize that one plate is enough to satisfy you when your mind is on interesting conversations—and not on seconds.

  4. Watch Beverages
    Don’t be fooled, alcohol–yes even vodka and white wine–has calories. A 4 oz. serving of wine has about 100 calories, but do you remember the last time you were served only 4 oz.? Today’s serving sizes are sometimes double that, so it’s best to be mindful of libations going in. Also, alcohol has a pesky way of lowering your inhibitions—and your willpower to stay away from the dessert table!

  5. Know When to Indulge
    While it’s important to stay mindful of diet bombs during the holidays, it is also important that you treat yourself from time to time. A mindful holiday partygoer will know what is worth the indulgence in the spirit of celebration. Your mother’s pumpkin pie or your annual glass of egg nog will not hinder your goals in the long run, but half the pie and 3 glasses will! Knowing what treats will satisfy you most and planning to enjoy them is part of becoming a more mindful eater overall. So, go ahead, have your treat and enjoy!

Asian Crab Cakes

There are lots of reasons to love this recipe. Not only are they scrumptious, they’re gluten-free, can be made in advance and can be formed in different sizes depending on whether you’re using them for an hors’doeuvres or entrée. Buy fresh crab if you can.

Yield: 16

1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup dry white quinoa
2 cups (16 ounces) lump crabmeat, picked over
¼ cup dried (unsweetened) shredded or flaked coconut
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons quinoa flour
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely diced red or yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ seeded jalapeño, finely minced (optional)
1 tablespoon minced shallot or onion
1 teaspoon gluten-free fish sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 limes quartered lengthwise, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Coconut, for garnish


In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a simmer and add the quinoa. Return to a simmer and cover. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to steam for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Uncover the quinoa and allow it to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the crabmeat, the remaining ingredients (except for the garnishes), and the cooled, cooked quinoa. The mixture should just hold together; if it’s too moist, add another tablespoon of quinoa flour. You should have about 4 cups of crab cake mixture.

Using a 4-ounce (1⁄4 cup) scoop, form the crab mixture into 16 cakes, each about 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter and about 1⁄2 inch thick.

Arrange the cakes in rows on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Midway through cooking, turn the cakes over once. When they’re done, the cakes will be crispy and golden brown on both sides.

Serve the crab cakes hot with lime wedges and a sprinkling of the cilantro and coconut.

Per crab cake:

Calories 70 (From Fat 43)
Fat 5g
Saturated 2g
Cholesterol 28mg
Sodium 258mg
Carbohydrate 6g
Fiber 1g
Protein 6g