The holiday season evokes thoughts of delicious, hearty and festive meals. Whether planning a family feast or flitting among gatherings, you may find it harder than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep your weight management goals on track. However, with the right approach, you can still enjoy many of your holiday favorites and serve foods your guests will appreciate as much as your waistline does. The key is managing your carbohydrate and sugar intake.
If you’re looking to lose or maintain weight, you know the importance of relying on a lifestyle with proven results – without feeling deprived. A low carb approach is backed by more than 80 scientific studies and still allows you to enjoy a wide variety of delicious foods. When you control your carbohydrate intake, you start burning stored fat as your fuel source instead of carbohydrates. A longterm, well-balanced, low carb eating plan such as Atkins encourages reduced levels of refined carbohy- drates and added sugars, while optimizing levels of protein, high fiber carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
This wide range of foods makes it easy to find delicious ways to celebrate the holidays without feeling restricted. Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., offers several tips to help stay on track this season: Leading up to the big meal or holiday party, snack on proteins that contain healthy fats such as nuts or grab some cubes of cheese. When crafting a holiday menu, identify a savory main dish that offers a healthy serving of protein, such as this Low Carb Cranberry-Ginger Pork Roast. Finish off the meal with a Low Carb Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake, and you and your taste buds will be very satisfied. When alcoholic beverages are being served, confine yourself to a glass (or two at most) of wine or one glass of spirits. Just be sure to have your spirits with club soda and a slice of lemon or lime, or a mixer made without sugar. And make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. For step-by-step instructions for this tasty, low carb holiday roast, watch the video and find more recipes at Atkins.com.
Low Carb Cranberry-Ginger
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
2 pounds pork chops or roast
(center rib, bone-in)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black
pepper, plus additional for
1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 cup cranberries
1/8 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup chicken broth, bouillon or
1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
1/8 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Prepare skillet with small amount of oil
over medium-high heat. Season chops
or roast with salt and pepper then place
into skillet and brown each side for about
1 minute, 4 minutes total, to help seal in
moisture and give it color. Set aside on
plate to cool slightly.
Finely dice chipotle pepper and chop
cranberries, if desired.
In small bowl, combine syrup, diced
chipotle, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt and
1/8 teaspoon pepper. Rub mixture onto
roast then place it into slow cooker.
Add cranberries and pour chicken broth
down side of pan (avoiding rinsing rub
Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.
Remove roast and set on serving
platter covered with tent of aluminum
foil; reserving liquid.
Keep slow cooker on low and add
water and guar gum or xanthan gum to
reserved mixture, whisking to combine.
Continue to cook on low heat until sauce
thickens slightly. Once thick, enrich
sauce, if desired, with butter, adding
additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve sauce over pork roast.
Tip: While it is not necessary to
chop cranberries (they will break
down while cooking), chopping
them makes sauce smoother.
Low Carb Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
2/3 cup halved pecan
2/3 cup sucralose-based
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 tablespoon unsalted
1/2 large egg white
9 2/3 ounces cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping
6 ounces canned
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin
1 1/4 large eggs
To make crust: Heat oven to
In food processor, combine
pecans, 1 tablespoon sugar
substitute and cinnamon.
Process until finely ground.
Toss with butter and egg
white; press onto bottom
of 9-inch springform pan,
rounding up to cover pan
seam. Bake until golden
and set, 8-10 minutes. Cool
completely on wire rack.
To make filling: Reduce
oven heat to 325 F.
In large bowl, combine
cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar
substitute and cream. With
electric mixer at medium
speed, beat until smooth.
Add pumpkin puree, vanilla
and pumpkin pie spice,
mixing to combine. Beat
in eggs, one at a time, until
Pour batter over crust.
Bake until just set, 45-50
minutes. Turn off oven and
let stand 10 minutes; transfer
to wire rack and cool
Cover and refrigerate until
chilled, 4 hours or overnight.
Slice and serve.
Low Carb Browned Pumpkin with Maple and Sage
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes
1/ 2 tablespoon unsalted butter stick 1/ 2 pound pumpkin 1/ 8 cup chopped shallots salt freshly ground black pepper 1/ 4 cup bouillon vegetable broth 1/ 16 cup sugar- free maple syrup 1/ 8 teaspoon sage, ground
In medium skillet over medium- high heat, heat butter. Cube pumpkin into 3/ 4- inch chunks. Add pumpkin and shallots to pan; season with salt and pepper. Saute until pumpkin is lightly browned and shallots are translucent, approximately 5- 6 minutes. Turn heat to low, add vegetable broth and simmer, covered, 8- 10 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Add maple syrup and sage, toss ing to combine. Serve immediately.
Tip: Use fresh sage (7- 8 leaves), if possible.