Over Thanksgiving weekend, I ate four slices of my dad’s German Chocolate Cake, half of his sweet potato pie, one slice of my aunt’s famous buttery two-layer vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and another piece of celebration vanilla cake. Of course, those were just the desserts. The following Monday, I was in the gym running, lifting weights, and stretching my body into redemption. There’s the traditional reason for this type of gluttonous eating during this time of year: The body needs the extra fat to keep warm during the colder months. Then, there’s the modern reason: Guilty am I of being greedy.
I wish there weren’t consequences for excessive eating, but there are plenty. During the holidays, there’s food everywhere. It takes a strong person to be choosy and say no to most generous culinary offerings. When we returned home after Thanksgiving, the refrigerator was packed with healthy culinary delights. Needing an energizing salad with a fulfilling protein, a healthy carb, and greens, I put together this smoked salmon and orange orzo salad. It’s a salad of whole-wheat pasta tossed with citrusy vinaigrette with specks of salty smoked salmon, oranges, and crunchy celery with baby greens. Sure, the whole-wheat pasta counts as a carb, but when a full-body workout is required at a gym, the body needs carbs to convert into energy for a better and efficient workout.
The best way to eat healthy during the holidays is simply through careful moderation. Really, I should’ve slowly eaten one-half a slice of German Chocolate Cake, one bite of Sweet Potato Pie, and another half slice of a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and said no to additional sweets. But this is the holidays, and these desserts are made with love. Who can say no to sweets made only once a year? Not me. Between the parties and the festive dishes, I’m in the gym and creating healthy meals (starting with this salad) whenever I can. At this time of year, the scales are ignored. My weight is maintained, but if I happen to gain a few extra pounds, at least I’m warm during these frigid cold months, according to old folklore.
Visit Parade.com to read to get the recipe for Citrus Orzo Salad with Smoked Salmon.