Food

Try these easy and delicious recipes to get healthier before the holidays

Get ahead of holiday weight gain! If you’re looking to get proactive by shedding a few pounds before Thanksgiving Day rolls around, give my “3-4-5 Plan” a try.

The rules are simple. In the morning, enjoy any breakfast that's under 300 calories, eat lunch for no more than 400 calories, and eat a dinner that's 500 calories or less. You can create your own meals and menu or choose from the nutrient-packed recipes we've customized here.

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Trim Before Turkey: 3 TODAY viewers start slimming for the holidays

Play Video - 5:27

Trim Before Turkey: 3 TODAY viewers start slimming for the holidays

Play Video - 5:27

Also, in addition to your three meals, enjoy one to two snacks each day. We've included a handy smart list for inspiration.

Breakfast Options: No More Than 300 Calories

Egg-Vegetable Scramble

  • 1 whole egg + 3 egg whites scrambled with any veggie combination (chopped tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, green beans, etc.) + 1 slice whole grain toast or 1 orange or 3/4 cup berries

Apple with Peanut Butter

  • 1 apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake + dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Lunch Options: No More Than 400 Calories

Trim ‘n Slim Salad

  • Mixed greens topped with 4 - 5 ounces protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp or tofu), ½ cup beans, and unlimited non-starchy veggies. Dress with 1 teaspoon olive oil + unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons low-calorie vinaigrette.

Open-Faced Turkey & Swiss Sandwich

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
  • 1 slice whole grain bread layered with 4 ounces turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 tablespoon mustard or hummus, and preferred vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.) + 2 cups of baby carrots on the side. If preferred, nix the cheese and enjoy your sandwich on two slices of bread

Soup and Salad

  • 2 cups of lentil, black bean, or hearty-vegetable soup + salad layered with non-starchy veggies and dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette.
Warm Lentil Salad
Palak Patel and Matt Lauer make Indian recipes on the Today Show. March 20, 2017.  Warm Lentil Salad
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Rating:
( rated)
Cook time:
Prep time:
Servings:
4-6
Get the recipe

Dinner Options: No More Than 500 Calories

Slow Cooker Favorites

Turkey Burger and Veggies

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
  • Enjoy a hearty turkey burger on ½ bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and a squirt of ketchup + 2 cups steamed or roasted vegetables or try a salad dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice — alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette. Try other variations like a Turkey Black Bean Burger or Turkey-Spinach Burger.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Enjoy 2 servings of cauliflower fried rice + 4 ounces cooked protein of choice such as shrimp, fish, chicken, tofu, pork tenderloin, lean steak or poultry sausage mixed into the rice.

Baked Fish with Broccoli and Sweet Potato

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Paillard

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
  • 4 slices eggplant Parmesan + 5 ounces chicken paillard + 1 cup green beans

Healthy Snack Options

  • 5-6 ounces Greek yogurt (low-fat, nonfat, plain or flavored) + ½ cup berries
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (shell on)
  • String cheese and orange
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds (shell on)
  • Skim latte (skip sugar) and banana
  • ¼ cup hummus and veggies
  • Celery sticks with 2 level tablespoons nut butter
  • 4 cups light popcorn (or 150 calories worth of any brand)
  • ¼ cup (about a handful) of preferred nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, shelled pistachios)
  • 1/2 cup of pistachios in the shell
  • Turkey-Bell Pepper Roll-Ups: 3 ounces turkey rolled with bell pepper sticks dipped in mustard or hot sauce
  • 1 cup steamed edamame in the pod
  • Small frozen yogurt
  • 2 rice cakes, each topped with 1 teaspoon nut butter

Pumpkin Power Snacks

DIY Pumpkin Spice "Latte" + Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Muffin

  • Use ground coffee or K-cup pods. Add splash of skim milk and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. You can also froth the milk with a milk frother for an extra tasty touch.

OR Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

  • Pop 4 cups of light popcorn. Mist with oil spray and add a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

For healthy tips, follow Joy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and check out her cookbook From Junk Food to Joy Food.

This post was originally published on Sept. 20, 2017.

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