How to Stick to Your Diet During the Holidays

Shannon Smyth

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Medifast. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How to stick to your #diet during the #holidays! Check out these delicious #recipes! via @agirlsgottaspa #sponsored #medifast #weightloss The holidays bring on the greatest tests of will power, especially when on you have been following a weight loss plan. Every chocolate dessert or new trendy coffee seem that much more tempting when you know they are forbidden. When choosing to jump on board Medifast Go, I was very much aware that I would be hitting every major holiday along the way. I kept feeling bouts of sadness that I wouldn't be able to partake in a cookie exchange or eat two helpings of my mom's famous chocolate trifle. What would I do when invited to a holiday party? It was completely stressing me out. And this is when any other time I'd fall off the wagon. You, too? But I chose to switch up my mindset and keep reminding myself that I am doing this to sustain the life of someone else (kidney donation if you haven't followed from the beginning) and so giving up is not an option. Someone's life depends on me. Then I remembered that Medifast has so many awesome Meal Makeovers in their Simply Well cookbook and on their blog. Below are a few holiday-themed recipes from Medifast that will not only keep you on track with your weight loss goals, but they taste soooo good! Pumpkin Spiced Latte 1 Medifast Meal | 2½ Condiments Yield: 1 serving Total Time: 5 minutes Ingredients ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree ½ cup strong brewed coffee 1 packet of Medifast® Gingerbread Softbake Directions Combine milk and pumpkin puree in a microwave-safe mug. Microwave for one minute, and stir. Add coffee and the Gingerbread Softbake, and stir until smooth. Serve immediately! #Holiday #recipes (like Gingerbread waffles) - and how to stick to your diet during the fall season! via @agirlsgottaspa #sponsored #medifast #yum Pumpkin Pie Whoopie Pies Yield: 4 servings (2 whoopie pies per serving) Per serving: 1 Medifast Meal | ½ Healthy Fat | 3 Condiments Ingredients 2 packets Medifast Spiced Pancakes 2 packet Medifast Gingerbread Soft Bake ½ tsp baking powder 6 Tbsp egg whites ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk 2 tsp vegetable oil ½ cup whipped topping ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice Cooking spray Directions Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine pancake mixture, soft bake mixture and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add egg whites, milk, and oil, and mix until a batter-like consistency. Divide batter evenly among eight slots of a lightly-greased muffin tin (should fill only a third of each slot). Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine whipped topping and pumpkin pie spice. Once cooled, slice each muffin in half horizontally. Spread one tablespoon of whipped topping on the bottom half of each muffin, and top with the remaining muffin halves. Cauliflower Rice Stuffing Yield: 2 servings Per serving: 3 Green | 2 Healthy Fats | 3 Condiments Ingredients 1 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 cup diced celery 1 cup diced mushrooms 1/3 cup diced yellow onion 2 oz chopped walnuts 4 cups riced cauliflower ½ cup chicken stock 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary ½ Tbsp poultry seasoning ½ tsp salt Directions Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, mushrooms, onion, and walnuts. Sauté for five minutes. Add cauliflower rice, sauté for an additional two minutes. Add stock and seasoning; mix well. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Frozen Pumpkin Shake Per serving: 1 Medifast Meal | 1 1/2 Condiments Ingredients 1 Medifast Vanilla Shake 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 1/4 tsp cinammon 1/2 cup cold water 1/2 cup ice Directions Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. The bottom line is that age old saying - everything in moderation. Adjust recipes to make them healthier, don't over-eat and eat smaller portion sizes. You'll thank yourself once the holidays are over and you may just find some really grest recipes that continue past the holidays and find their way into your everyday diet. Now for my 6 week stats – Starting: Weight: 183 lbs BMI: 35.7% (I’m 5′) Bust: 43″ Waist: 44″ Hips: 46″ Butt: 47″ Arm: 13″ Legs: 25″ Neck: 13.5″ Six week mark: Weight: 176.5 BMI: 34.5% Bust: 42″ Waist: 41″ Hips: 43″ Butt: 44″ Arm: 12″ Legs: 24″ Neck: 13.5″ TOTAL:  6.5 lbs lost, 1.2% BMI loss, and  12 inches lost. Follow my journey from the beginning: How to Lose Weight at Home What the First Few Weeks on Medifast are Really Like How Medifast Works If you’re interested in joining me on this journey, you can get 7 days of free Medifast meals + bonus gifts + free shipping on your the first order as part of the renewal plan. If you’ve already worked this weight loss program with success, I would love your encouragement and tips in the comments! *Average weight loss for Medifast Direct® customers using Medifast Go™ is 11 pounds. Medifast Direct customers are in weight loss, on average, for 8 weeks. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Ratatouille with Herbs de Provence Recipe

Shannon Smyth
Recipe: Ratatouille with Herbs de Provence from @lodgeatwoodloch via @agirlsgottaspa If you ever have the chance to visit The Lodge at Woodloch either for a Pocono getaway, or locally for a spa day, you won't want to miss the chance to eat at TREE. Woodloch's TREE is literally a delight to your tastebuds. Everything comes fresh from their garden and/or locally sourced farmers. It's always healthy and absolutely delicious. Below is the recipe for their mouth-watering Ratatouille with Herbs de Provence. I think you'll love it! Ingredients 2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1- inch cubes 2 ½ pounds tomatoes, seeded, and cut into 1/4- inch cubes 1 ½ pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced 1 ½ pounds bell pepper, assorted colors, cut into 1- inch pieces 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 cup (approximately) extra virgin olive oil 1 ½ tablespoons herbs de Provence, dried, if using fresh herbs triple the amount 1 pound zucchini, cut into ¾ - inch half moons (remove seeds from larger zucchinis) 1 pound yellow squash, seeded, cut into ¾ - inch pieces 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons kosher salt Directions Toss eggplant in 1/2 teaspoon salt and place in a colander. Let stand in the sink for 30 minutes. Pour eggplant onto several paper towels and blot to remove excess moisture. In a heavy-bottomed, 5-quart pot over medium heat, add onions and approximately 4 tablespoons of oil. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 4 minutes until onions are soft, stirring occasionally. Add peppers and cook for another 4-8 minutes, adding enough oil to keep mixture quite moist. Add garlic, cook for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, herbs de Provence* and about a 1/3 cup oil. Cover partially to allow steam to escape. Cook for 30 minutes until tomato starts to break down, stirring occasionally. Put eggplant into simmering mixture along with enough remaining oil so vegetables are quite moist, but not swimming. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place zucchini and yellow squash in mixture and cook until they are just soft, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add pepper. Check seasoning. May be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Improves when refrigerated overnight and reheated. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Tomato Herb Stuffed Pork Recipe and Black Bean Fusion

Courtney Smith BSN

Tomato and Herb Stuffed Pork and Black Bean Fusion (This dish is naturally gluten/casein free)

Tomato Herb Stuffed Pork & Black Bean Fusion #recipe #foodie #cooking #howto

Ingredients Stuffed Pork Pork Loin Halved 2 Tomatoes Sliced 4 Garlic Cloves Sliced 1 Bunch of Cilantro Chopped 2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice ¼ cup White Wine (if following a gluten-free diet, be sure the brand is such) ½ Tsp salt ½ Tsp paprika ½ Tsp dried Italian seasoning herb mix 1 Tbsp Avocado oil Black Beans 6 cherry tomatoes halved Cilantro Several sprigs of Cilantro 1 Can Goya Black Beans Cooking Instructions *Health tip: Trim the fat off the pork before diving in to ensure the least amount of saturated fat for this dish. Preheat oven 375 f

Tomato Herb Stuffed Pork #Recipe #howto #cooking

Tomato and Herb Stuffed Pork Halve the pork loin, cover the bottom half with sliced tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, and cilantro. Place the other half of the loin over top, poke holes in the top of the loin then stuff with pieces of fresh garlic, and sprinkle on the dried Italian herbs, paprika, and salt. Drizzle a small amount of avocado oil over top and a small amount in the bottom of the pan, add lemon juice and wine to the bottom of the pan along with the stuffed loin. You're ready to put your pork masterpiece in the oven. Cooking time will vary according to the weight, but a good rule of thumb is to cook it 15-20 minutes per pound. Note: About 2-3 times through the cooking process take some of the juice at the bottom of the pan and pour it over the top of the loin (it helps to add flavor.)

Tomato Herb Stuff Pork #howto #cookingguide #recipe

Black Beans Place the can of black beans in a pot over medium heat for approx. 3-5 minutes, (start cooking the beans approx. 15 min before pork loin is ready.) Add halved cherry tomatoes and cilantro, let simmer on low for approx. another 5 minutes, then cover to keep warm.

Tomato Herb Stuffed Pork #Recipe #foodie #cooking

Nutritional Scoop 1 serving (3.5 oz of meat, ½ cup Black Beans) Herb Stuffed Pork contains 130 calories, 22g of protein, 5g of fat, 0g fiber Black Beans contains 90 calories, 7g of protein, 0.5g of fat, 6g of fiber Interesting nutritional information According to www.nutritonadata.self.com pork is good source of Riboflavin, Potassium and Zinc, and a very good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Selenium. It is an awesome source of protein and is also has a good fullness factor. Cilantro is a good source of Thiamin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Garlic is also a good source of Calcium, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. It also has a strong anti-inflammatory property. Addtionally, according to www.whfoods.com garlic has cardio-protective benefits, may improve iron absorption, and there is some recent research (still in the early phase) that suggests that it helps to regulate the number of fat cells that get formed in our bodies. It also has anti-bacterial/viral properties, and cancer prevention qualities. (Besides the taste, now you know why I use it in almost all my recipes.) Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese. According to www.whfoods.com the phytonutrients contained in tomatoes are also fantastic for women’s bone health, and state that, “Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood - a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis.” Black beans are a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber and Folate. Great for digestive health, blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular health, and overall contains a good number of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant phytonutrients. My hope is that you find the Faccia Bella Recipes delicious, informative, and use them as a tool to enhance your health and beauty! Post a comment, we’d love to hear from you! Read more healthy recipes and health tips. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooCourtney on G+.

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Healthy Stuffed Eggplant Recipe with Cracked Freekeh

Courtney Smith BSN
Next up on the Faccia Bella Recipe Series for beautiful skin and a healthy heart is my HEALTHY stuffed eggplant recipe. Growing up, my mom would bake up her mouth watering stuffed eggplant that my taste buds would give a standing ovation, but suffice it to say that my waistline did not. I decided to take this tasty lunch or dinner recipe and revise it to meet healthy standards, while maintaining the taste! When you're messing with a favorite family recipe it makes one a little nervous, well it made me a little nervous anyway, but I am super excited to report that it did NOT disappoint and I will likely pass this version down to my kiddos (BTW, my seven and ten year old indulged with me and gave it a thumbs up!)

Healthy Stuffed Eggplant #recipe with Cracked Freekeh

Healthy Stuffed Eggplant with Cracked Freekeh (Gluten Free, Casein Free options included)

Ingredients (4 servings) 2 tablespoon of Cento Extra Virgin Olive Oil ½ pound of Butterball Ground Turkey (it’s gluten free) Salt to taste (don’t over do this as Eggplant is a natural source of sodium) 3 Garlic cloves minced 1 red pepper medium diced 3 scallions finely chopped 5 Basil leaves finely chopped 1 tablespoons of fresh Oregano finely chopped 2 tablespoons of Parmesan (replace with Daiya ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, which is gluten, casein, and soy free) ½ cup of dry Organic Cracked Freekeh Natures Earthly Choice (Brown rice for Gluten free option)

Healthy Stuffed Eggplant with Organic Cracked Freekeh. Gluten and casein free options included. #Recipe #healthyliving

Cooking Instructions Start boiling 1 ¼ cup of water for the Cracked Freekeh Half the eggplant, slice up and across the inner portion creating cubes, then scoop out, BUT be sure to leave enough meat inside the plant to hold the stuffing and its shape. Add ½ cup Cracked Freekeh to boiling water, cover with lid, lower heat, and simmer for about 7-10-minutes (if you use brown rice for gluten free option follow boxed directions for type chosen, but I recommend using instant for quickness.) Mix the eggplant cubes, red bell peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, basil, oregano, salt to taste, and scallions, then sauté with olive oil for about 3-5 minutes, remove from pan, but leave a remnant of oil and juice. In this same pan add the ground turkey to the oil/juice remnant, cooking until lightly browned (NO PINK.) Next add the cooked veggies, Freekeh, and cheese, mix well and sauté’ for about 1 minute. Fill each half of eggplant with the stuffing, oil the pan, and bake it for 30 minutes at 375 F. Sprinkle with freshly chopped basil and enjoy! Nutritional Scoop Based on 1 serving Dish w/ Cracked Freekeh contains 357.5 calories, 31 g of protein, 16.5 g of fat (12.5g of mono and polyunsaturated, 4 saturated, 0 transfat), 6 g of fiber Dish w/brown rice contains 302.5 calories, 25 g of protein, same fat as above, and 3 g of fiber Casein free option cheese value (22.5 calories, 0.25g protein, 1.5 g fat) It is a good to very good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Riboflavin, Niacin, Zinc, Phosphorous, Iron, Calcium, and Selenium, Anti-oxidants, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. More Awesome: The ingredients include anti-inflammatory qualities, which have endless benefits, Collagen boosting effects, which improves the look of the skin, and healthy brain and behavioral function. According to whfoods.com, “Research on eggplant has focused on an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.” Also, they state that the antioxidant found in eggplant, known as chlorogenic acid, benefits include antimutagenic (anti-cancer), antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol), lowering cholesterol, and antiviral activities. (Note: There is cholesterol in the ground turkey, roughly 80mg, which is approx. 26% of the daily value, so within the allotted range allowed. Using ground turkey vs. 80% lean ground beef saves approx. 81 calories and has ½ the amount of saturated fat!) For more heart and skin healthy recipes check out our Shrimp Scampi with Farro or Quinona. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooCourtney on G+.

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Delectable Shrimp Scampi Recipe with Farro or Quinona

Courtney Smith BSN
Faccia Bella Recipes Series
Do you want beautiful young looking skin, a healthy heart, and better overall health? The good news is that it is easier to achieve than one might think, and is well within the busy woman’s time and budget limits. Does it sound to good to be true? It’s honestly not, and is simply a matter of a few MINOR adjustments to the food you already consume, and perhaps an addition of a few new satisfying recipes.

Shrimp Scampi with Farro. Use avocado oil instead of olive oil. Delicious! (Recipe also has gluten and casein free options.)

I don’t believe in making a bunch of huge changes all at once, as that is one factor that typically assures failure. We are creatures of habit, so although one might be able to make a major change for a short time, the idea for keeping with it for the long term (which is where one will see the best benefits) is small modifications to your daily habits and routine that will amount to a big difference in the way you feel each day. Not to mention that holding out long term is where you will see the quantifiable effect on your heart healthy numbers. As an added FYI, I also don’t believe in sacrificing taste (My seven picky children and husband won’t allow for it anyway), so rest assured the recipes that come your way will be jam packed with not only nutritional royalty, but your taste buds will bow down with loyalty!

Delectable Shrimp Scampi with Ancient Grains and the Incredible Nutritional Twist (Gluten-free, Casein-free options included)

Shrimp Scampi Recipe with Farro. Can use Quinona to substitute. Gluten and casein-free options in the recipe.

Serving size for 1 ¼ cup (dry) of Pedon Organic Farro (gluten free option: Quinoa. I personally like Eden Organics) 4 oz of Shrimp, 9 shrimp of the 31-40-count size 4 Cherry Tomatoes Halved 1 cup of Spinach 1 clove of Garlic finely sliced ½ teaspoon of salt 1 tablespoon of fresh Oregano finely chopped 3 Scallions chopped 2 teaspoons of reduced fat Parmesan cheese (do NOT add for a casein free option) 2 tablespoon of white wine (if you are following gluten free be sure that the wine chosen is specified as gluten free, such as Frey Organic) ½ of fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon of Chosen Foods Avocado Oil (I love olive oil, but this is a healthier option and more affordable). Cooking Instructions Farro: In a pan boil ¾ cup of water, pinch of salt, add Farro, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes, removed from heat, drain (I rinsed too), and fluff with a fork. Quinoa: Generally cooks in 12 minutes, follow box directions for the kind you buy. Shrimp: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with salt. Cook shrimp until pink, 5 to 6 minutes; transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium; add scallions, oregano, and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, Add spinach, tomatoes, wine and lemon juice. Cover and cook until tomatoes soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in Parmesan. To serve, scoop the juice and pour over grain choice first, then place the rest of the scampi and vegetables over it. Lastly, garnish with a pinch of finely chopped oregano and a sprinkling of the green portion of the scallions. Enjoy! Nutritional Scoop: Dish w/ Farro contains 439 calories, 30g protein, 15.5g fat (10g of monounsaturated, 2, of polyunsaturated, 1.5 unsaturated, 2g saturated, 0 transfat), 6g of fiber Dish w/Quinoa (gluten free option) contains 439 calories, 28g protein, 17g fat (10g of monounsaturated, 2g polyunsaturated, 3g unsaturated, 2g saturated, 0 transfat), 5g of fiber Casein free option subtract for parm cheese (- 13cal, -1g fat, -1g protein) Both dish options are wonderful sources of Niacin and Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, Selenium, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. More Awesome: The ingredients include anti-inflammatory qualities, which have endless benefits, collagen boosting effects, which improves the look of the skin, and healthy brain and behavioral function. (***NOTE: Though Shrimp contains higher amounts of cholesterol it is still low in fat and contains high amounts of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps to reduce inflammation, triglycerides, and assists in achieving a healthy blood pressure. There are studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and many more. (via) In terms of Omega-6 the University of Maryland Medical Center states that it can, “help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.” With this said, it is safe to say that the benefit of eating Shrimp far out weighs the 1 negative.) Stay tuned for more healthy recipes! I'd love to know if you tried this recipe! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooCourtney on G+.

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