Turkey and Football!

Welcome to the eating, food frenzy season of the year!  Now don’t get worried or stressed because that will not get you through this.  Just like the “big game” you need a plan!  You need to prepare every day and have your own game plan that will work for you.  This article will help you learn the real “Rules of Pre-gaming”.   You would never go out for a sporting event without preparing yourself first.  Think of football Sundays, Halloween and the coming holidays as a sport.   If you have a plan- this season will be a winning one for you!
Pre-Gaming Nutrition Tips:

·        Hydrate - Boost your fluids on days you know may be challenging
·        Plan - Decide the night before what your next day meals will be.  Healthy choices are always easier to make when you are not hungry and it is not the final quarter and you are pressed for time.  So, sit down and make your shopping list ahead of time. Heading out to a place you know will be filled with temptation?  Eat something before you go, so you are not hungry when you arrive.
·        Prepare - Take some time that works for you over the weekend to prepare your food for the beginning of the week.  You will start off feeling in control and ahead of the game.  The end of the week is a perfect time for leftovers and omelets filled with whatever may be left in the fridge. Prepare more than you need and freeze portions too for those days that you are in a rush.  
·        Exercise - Okay- you know you are going to a friend’s house Sunday for some football, wings and appetizers.  Throw in an extra exercise day that week so you feel that you got ready for what you know is coming.   Exercising regularly through the holiday season has proven to be the top way to stay in control.  
·        Sleep-  Sleep is underrated!  Research shows that people that get a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep a night can maintain a healthy weight long term.  Catch those zzz’s during this food frenzy time of year. It does the body good and will set you up for a better tomorrow. 
·        Rethink the Drink- The Easiest way to cut calories during the holiday season is to drink only calorie and sugar free beverages.  There are tons to choose from.  Some ideas are HINT, Crystal Light, Powerade Zero, Vitamin Water Zero, Decaf coffee and decaf tea.  Don’t drink your calories.
·        Keep your routine - Eat around the same time every day- even during the holidays to maintain control.  It is imperative that we keep a regimen and eat meals ~5-6 hours apart.  On a day where you may be having extra calories we want our metabolism running high to handle this change.  Don’t skip a meal to save calories for what will be coming later. We cannot “bank” calories for a later time!
·         Plan your splurges ahead of time - Be in control always.  Allow yourself to have two wings or a piece of something small.  Stick to the plan you made with yourself to remain in charge of what you are eating.  
·        You feel you have overdone it- One day and back on track mentality.  You have not “blown it”.  Power up on protein and vegetables for the next few days to get your head back in the game.  
·        Refocus and make a short term weekly goal for yourself to achieve.  Focus on the positives of the things you are doing right and you will be in the right mindset.
Mini Bell Pepper Nachos
Cooking spray
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
21 assorted mini bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, then lightly coat with cooking spray. Arrange pepper halves cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.
2. Spray a medium nonstick pan with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add onion and garlic
and saute for 2 minutes. Add turkey, salt, garlic powder and cumin and cook for about 5 minutes,
until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Raise heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Spoon some of the ground turkey mixture into each pepper half. Top with a sprinkle of shredded
cheese.  Scatter jalapeno slices on top (if using). Bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
4. Remove tray from oven. Top nachos with sliced black olives and enjoy.
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup low-fat or non-dairy milk
1/4 cup buffalo or hot sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and milk in a large bowl. Stir well. Add the
cauliflower florets to the bowl and toss to coat.
3. Spread the cauliflower out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway
through the cooking time.
4. In the meantime, combine the hot sauce, vegetable oil and honey in a small bowl. Stir well.
5. Remove cauliflower from oven and brush with the hot sauce mixture. Return to the oven and bake
for another 20 minutes.
6. Serve alongside carrot and celery sticks if desired.
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