Fitness and winter holidays aren’t considered to be things that match well. I often observe that people around me tend to take two different approaches towards being fit on holiday:
- There is no use exercising because I will eat so many calories that it won’t make any difference anymore and I might as well indulge in every holiday snack.
- I need to keep my fitness routine no matter what so I won’t eat any holiday foods.
Neither is a good one.
Exercise is never meaningless, no matter how short the workout session is or how many calories you eat after. Sure, it’s optimal to eat a properly balanced meal before and after a workout but every movement your body makes is a movement in a good direction. You might not lose any pounds but you will gain some strength, flexibility, and stamina. Don’t ever think that working out is not worth it!
But if you don’t let yourself enjoy the holidays at least a little bit, you will end up in a miserable mood and that’s just not the way to spend the holidays. Not to mention that all that fear of calories and stress is going to take a toll on your mental health and metabolism. The bottom line is that depriving yourself of food won’t make you healthy and can even make you sick.
So what’s the solution? Healthy holiday workout recipes! You need to eat something in order to have the energy to workout but the traditional holiday meals and snacks are probably not the best idea here. So what I like to do is cook up some pre-workout and post-workout meals that are holiday-themed. If I eat healthy in the morning then not only will I get the most out of my workout, I will also not feel guilty about enjoying Christmas cookies in the afternoon.
So I prepared a quick recipe roundup for those of you who want to keep up with their fitness routine with a healthy mindset:
Pre-workout holiday recipes
Kaleigh McMordie shared this recipe for gingerbread waffles that I absolutely love. They can be easily made beforehand and grabbed whenever you need them. And as I tested, they also freeze pretty well.
The same goes for Kara Lydon’s gingerbread pancakes. I usually some peanut butter on top up the nutritional value but they taste perfectly well on their own.
Or how about some French toast? Nourished NCE’s Apple Cranberry French Toast Bake recipe has everything you need to get in that holiday spirit.
If you want something that doesn’t need absolutely any preparation in the morning, how about some energy bites? Judith Sharman has this great recipe for Cherry Power Balls that is both slightly sweet and tart, a perfect combination for me.
I also like this No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Quickbread via Elizabeth Ward’s blog and I think a slice or two before works very well as a pre-workout snack. The same goes for Ann Dunaway Teh’s Apple Pomegranate Bread.
Or you can bake some Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins from my blog. They freeze well, that well, and are an overall perfect option for a pre-workout snack.
Post-workout holiday recipes
How about this Vegan Lasagna that is simply packed with protein? I love enjoying a good warm meal while also knowing how much good it brings to my muscles.
Kelli Shallal’s Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes have been with me since Thanksgiving and I don’t want to give them up just yet. They use a lot of eggs which makes them better as a post-workout snack rather than a pre-workout one.
Then there are these Potato Latkes made by Bonnie Giller that taste amazing with a quick omelet and a side of vegetables.
For something both earthy and sweet, I recommend Jennifer Hunt’s Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes. But they should be paired with some protein and for that I recommend some chicken. This White Cheddar Cranberry Apple Stuffed Chicken via Amanda Hernandez together with Jan Elliot Evans’ Wheat Berry Cranberry Salad makes for a very well balanced meal.
And as probably the easiest one on this list, I give you the Gingerbread Dessert Dip via Emily Holdorf. Cut up some apple slices and eat them with the dip, you won’t regret it!