Cooking special foods for different holidays is one way I stay in-love with eating healthy.
First, it keeps things fun, but also helps me stay out of a rut.
Burnout (and boredom) leads me to eat out, so being playful with “festive” meals helps me stay on track.
I loathe confessing this but…
I used to roll my eyes at my neighbor whose home always seemed to explode with new decorations every few weeks, until she told me why she was so festive.
"It's fun and they always make me happy" she explained to me.
I don't know about you, but I could use more fun and happiness in my life, so from that moment on I was ALL IN on the holidays.
Celebrating each holiday with a specific meal has helped keep my life fresh too.
I usually pride myself on being a creature of habit, and it’s good to have consistency in my life, but I never realized how stale my routine becomes.
Being a little festive forces me to try new things and think outside the box.
The challenge to find a special meal that sparks something inside of me too. There have been some misses over the years, but even then I still have so much fun playing along with that it doesn’t matter.
Long story short: I enjoy including “special occasion” meals for you guys.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween or Independence Day, just seeing a holiday on the horizon gets me excited to create something unique and themed for you.
There’s been a lot of fantastic Irish-inspired meals over the years on the meal plans, and I wanted to share a few of them with everyone.
1 cup fresh spinach
1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp chocolate chips
- In a blender, puree banana, spinach, and 1⁄2-cup water until smooth. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine oats with 1⁄2-cup water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook until most of the
water has absorbed.
- Stir in blended spinach mixture well.
- Continue to cook if it's too soupy, otherwise, turn off heat and add a drop of peppermint extract, or to taste.
- Stir and spoon into a bowl.
- Top with chocolate chips and serve.
Per Serving: 287 calories, 4.2g fat, 58.2g carbs, 8.1g fiber, 17.2g sugars, 7.8g protein
Lower Fat: Omit chocolate chips. Swirl in a little cocoa powder or chocolate syrup (if desired) and/or top with 1 tbsp raisins.
Add-on: Add more chocolate chips. Prep: Make to order.
Total Time: 55 min Active Time: 15 min
4 cooked potatoes
1 tbsp onion powder
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1⁄4 cup garbanzo bean flour (aka chickpea flour)
4 pitas (or 4 GF tortillas)
14-oz coleslaw mix
6-oz plain yogurt
1-2 tbsp onion flakes
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp onion powder
1⁄4 tsp garlic powder
1⁄8 tsp black pepper
- Prepare Onion Dip: Combine yogurt with seasonings. (If your yogurt is sweetened, add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste for a tangier dip.) Chill.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mash cooked potatoes with milk or water, using as much as needed to achieve a thick “mashed potatoes” consistency.
- Stir in spices and taste, adding more spices as desired plus salt and pepper.
- Mix in garbanzo bean flour and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until it’s cold. (Preheat 400°F.)
- Once chilled, pick off 2 tbsp and shape into a ball.
- Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat.
- Bake balls 10-20 minutes or until lightly brown and golden.
- Slice pitas in half and open each side into pockets.
- Stuff pockets with falafels and coleslaw mix.
- Drizzle with chilled Onion Dip and serve.
Per serving: 396 calories, 3.2g fat, 80.3g carbs, 11.9g fiber, 9.7g sugars, 15.1g protein
Prep: Make falafels and dressing ahead, but store components separately. Good warm or cold.
Serves 1 (GF)(LF)(SF)
3 oz vegan yogurt plain or vanilla
2 kiwis skinned & sliced
12 strawberries sliced
1⁄4 cup rolled oats uncooked
Assembly Directions: Layer fruit, yogurt & oats — reserving some strawberries or mango to eat on the side.
Per serving: 280 calories, 3.2g fat, 52.9g carbohydrates, 8.6g fiber, 27.7g sugars, 10.2g protein
Add-on: Add more fruit or oats. Prep: Make to order.
Potato and Leek Soup
Serves 2 (SF)(GF)
2-3 leeks (2 cups sliced)
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
12 oz yukon gold potatoes, diced (2 cups)
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks crosswise and set aside.
- Line a medium pot with a thin layer or broth and saute leek, onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
- Add 1 thyme sprig and 1/2 bay leaf.
- Reduce heat to low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft.
- Add a pinch of saffron, and a cayenne as desired and cook for 1 minute.
- Add potato and remaining broth.
- Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove thyme sprig and bay leaf.
- Transfer 1 cup to a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
- Return to the pot and adjust seasonings, including adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley and pepper. (You can also garnish with a fresh thyme sprig or two).
Per serving: 251 calories, 0.6g fat, 58.6g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 9.3g sugars, 6g protein
Irish Soda Bread in a Mug
1⁄4 cup (2-oz) soy or almond milk
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup dry rolled oats
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1 cup applesauce
1⁄4 cup raisins
1⁄4 cup jam
1. In a small bowl, whisk milk with vinegar so it curdles. Set aside.
2. In a dry blender or food processor, whiz oats to the consistency of flour.
3. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and whisk in raw sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and a tiny pinch of salt.
4. Stir in milk mixture and applesauce.
5. Fold in raisins.
6. Spoon batter into 4 microwave-safe mugs and microwave each separately for 90 seconds, or until firm.
7. Top with a dollop of yogurt and jam.
8. Eat remaining yogurt on the side.
Per serving: 274 calories, 2.7g fat, 54.4g carbs, 3.4g fiber, 33.4g sugars, 8.0g protein
Add-on: Eat a side of fruit.
Prep: Make to order
As a meal plan customer, you can rest knowing you'll have at least one crowd-pleasing holiday hit all year long.
You'll also get access to a41-page exclusive “all occasions” Holiday Cookbook with more ideas.
Shaking things up with festive meals is how I stay engaged and have fun.
P.S. This week is Slow Cooker week, which means every recipe on the meal plan can be made in your Slow Cooker.
Get 8 amazing slow-cooker weekday recipes instantly.
Start your first month of membership here to get the recipes.
There are also two more awesome Irish-inspired recipes included with the weekly plan as a free bonus.
Shamrock Shake & Irish Nachos
You don't want to miss out on those!
Get this Slow Cooker meal plan (with 2 Irish bonus recipes) this week only.