Harley Pasternak: Blend Your Way to a Healthy Holiday

The celeb trainer offers up three easy-to-make treats you can serve at your holiday party — guilt-free

Healthy Spinach Dip

Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. His new book 5 Pounds hits shelves in March 2015. Tweet him @harleypasternak.

I love getting together with my friends and family over the holidays, but I know I’m not alone when I say I don’t love being stuck in the kitchen cooking and cleaning while all of my guests are eating, drinking and being merry.

Plus, just because you want to eat healthy over the holidays doesn’t mean you should be deprived of all your favorite holiday flavors.

Not to fear! To celebrate the launch of my new Power Blender, here are three delicious, seasonal, healthy recipes that don’t involve any extensive prep or dishes to clean (other than the blender carafe).

Peppermint Candy Cane Smoothie
Serves 1
340 calories per serving

5 raw almonds
1 red apple, unpeeled, cored and chopped
1 small banana, frozen and cut into chunks
¾ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
½ cup fat-free milk
Dash ground cinnamon
A few drops of peppermint extract, to taste
1 mini candy cane, crushed, for garnish

In a blender, blend all ingredients (except for candy cane) until smooth. Top with crushed candy cane and serve.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Serves 2
288 calories per serving

2 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1½ cups canned pumpkin
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 Thai chili pepper
½ onion
1 cup silken tofu
1 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. raw shelled pumpkin seeds, divided

1. Place all ingredients, except 1 cup of water/broth and the pumpkin seeds, in the blender in the order listed above. Secure the lid.
2. Set the speed control to the lowest speed and turn the blender on.
3. Slowly increase the speed to the highest setting and blend for about 7 minutes or until steam escapes from the lid. If a thinner consistency is desired, add the remaining cup of water/broth and blend for another 2 minutes.
4. Pour into bowls and top with black beans and corn.

Warm Spinach Parmesan Dip with Whole Wheat Pita
Serves 4
189 calories per serving

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
½ cup fat-free cream cheese
¼ cup grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
Pinch of paprika
Salt and pepper
4 small whole wheat pita breads, toasted and cut in wedges

1. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and spray with cooking oil.
2. Add onions, garlic and spinach; sauté until onions are soft and spinach is wilted, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Turn off heat and add yogurt, cream cheese and Parmesan. Stir until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with toasted pita wedges.

RELATED: All of Harley’s Blogs and Training Advice

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