As someone who has not always been a healthy eater, I still struggle everyday, every meal, with making the right choices. Recently, I have come to view food in a whole new light. I have tried to stop looking at food as a social excuse. For example, in the past, if I was meeting friends at a Mexican restaurant for dinner, the first thing I would have thought of (besides that I am excited to see my friends), is how much I am looking forward to eating chips and salsa, nachos with cheese and drinking margaritas. Wrong. I should have just been looking forward to seeing my friends and then I should have thought about what healthy foods I will eat. The reason for a night out should not always be the food, sometimes, yes. Sometimes food is the focal point of the night or the reason why people are getting together, but it should not be the norm.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that lacks religious meaning, yet the message about giving thanks and being grateful for what we have is clear. And yes, the food is part of the spirit of the holiday; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes- are part of the tradition, along with watching football on t.v. We go out with friends, dates, acquaintances, to see people, to connect, to socialize. The food we will eat should not be a priority of the night. I am a very social person and I love going out with my husband and friends and eating and drinking. But I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter if I eat cheese quesadillas with sour cream or a salad with grilled chicken. What matters when I socialize is that I am spending time with people I care about and enjoying their company. It will not make the night better or worse if I end it with a piece of chocolate cake. Yes- sometimes that will make the night better, but it should not be the normal course of events. With a little planning, before I go to a restaurant, I can stick to eating healthy. Sometimes I will order that chocolate mousse for dessert but it will be a calculated choice and not an impulsive decision. For those times when I crave something sweet at home, I’ve created a quick and easy recipe for low calorie chocolate chip meringue cookies.
Paleo Meringue Cookies
3 egg whites- room temperature (must be clear of any yolk)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon honey
8 drops French vanilla stevia extract
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (Paleo approved)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking sheets with baking parchment paper. Combine all ingredients, except chips, in a deep mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Ingredients should form a peak when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter with a heaping teaspoon onto baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until honey brown. Store in airtight container. Makes 36 cookies.
A variation of this recipe with nutritional information can be found in a fabulous Paleo cookbook, “500 Paleo Recipes” by Dana Carpender.
If you are like me, then this holiday season, try to make your gatherings be about thepeople or the event and not about the food.