Recipes: Light bites for healthier Holidays

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By: Family Features

For those who are always on the go leading up to the holidays, the season can feel more like madness than merrymaking. From planning get-togethers to building out a perfect menu for the events, there can be difficulties for hosts and guests alike to ensure proper nutrition is still top of mind.

Instead of sacrificing taste or eating less, aim for simple changes that give you the energy to power through the busy season. For example, instead of opting for a carb-loaded breakfast in the morning, try a low-carb Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin, which takes just a few minutes of prep and microwave time. The quick cook time leaves you with ample opportunities to run errands or divvy up precious seconds toward other activities, while the protein can fuel you for the day ahead.

Almost nothing beats warm soup on a chilly day, and this Butternut Squash and Pear Soup provides feel-good flavor without weighing you down. Finally, when snacks are on the mind – as it tends to happen when constantly on the go – Coconut Muesli Clusters are simple to make and won’t undo the nutritious efforts you’ve made throughout the day.

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

1          tablespoon unsalted butter
1          medium (2 1/2-inch diameter) onion, chopped
2          pounds butternut winter squash, cubed
1          medium pear, sliced, plus additional, for garnish (optional) 
1          teaspoon curry powder
1/2       teaspoon salt
1/4       teaspoon ground white pepper
5          cups chicken broth
1          teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2       cup heavy cream 
            nutmeg (optional)

In large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add squash, pear, curry powder, salt and white pepper; saute 3 minutes.

Increase heat to high and add chicken broth. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low; simmer 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until cubed squash is very tender. Allow to cool about 10-15 minutes.

In blender or food processor, puree soup in batches until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot and add lemon juice and heavy cream. Stir soup over low heat until hot. Garnish with additional sliced pears and sprinkle of nutmeg, if desired.

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