As the country settles into the beautiful colors of fall with foliage turning brilliant shades of amber, gold, and red, why not color-coordinate a healthy holiday appetizer to match! Colorful peppers offer a range of brilliant tones that will add just the right dash of autumn to your Thanksgiving table.
On the practical side, peppers are rich in nutrients, providing the body with an array of health benefits, including stress-busting properties. In recovery, stress is one of the foes to be avoided, as it happens to be the number one trigger for relapse. To sustain recovery successfully, it is essential to take proactive steps to regulate stress, including through dietary choices.
Adding seasoned tofu and tomatoes to this delicious finger food recipe pumps up the nutritional value just that much more.
Featured Recipe: Stuffed Mini Peppers
Package of mini peppers
¼ cup diced tomatoes
1 pack extra firm tofu
¼ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
Seasoning of choice, such as fresh lemon and dill, or chef may choose their flavor profile
Salt and pepper
Hot sauce to taste
- Combine all ingredients (excluding peppers!) into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Cut tops off mini peppers, remove gills and seeds, place on a baking sheet, and roast in oven at 400° for 10 minutes
- Let mini peppers cool
- Fill a piping bag with the mixture and squeeze into mini peppers and serve!
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 10 minutes Cool: 10 minutes Total: 35 minutes
What Makes This Pepper Appetizer a Healthy Holiday Choice?
At a time of year when we are inundated with high-fat and sugar-laden holiday fare, the mini pepper appetizer presents a fresh departure. But don’t let this tasty snack fool you—it boasts amazing nutritional content, including:
- Peppers are super low in calories, while providing 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and 10 grams of healthy carbohydrates. Peppers are also a great source of vitamin C. They even have more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is important in addiction recovery because of its function in the production of neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin. This neurotransmitter is the most negatively affected by repetitive drug use. Vitamin C intake can help to restore levels of serotonin in the brain, which helps to relieve symptoms of withdrawal such as depression and anxiety.
- Greek yogurt is a great substitute for cream cheese. It is thick in texture, has less sugar, more protein, and tastes fantastic. Greek yogurt provides 12-17 grams of protein, as well as being packed with probiotics for gut health.
- Tofu is an amazing source of plant-based protein, boasting 8 grams of protein. In addition, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. Tofu is low in carbs, and calories and has many important minerals such as manganese, calcium, and selenium.
- Tomatoes are low in calories and an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins A, B, and C.
How to Manage Stress and Succeed in Recovery During the Holidays
When we encounter a triggering situation that sparks the stress response, a cascade of reactions in the brain result in the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. In a year of what has amounted to chronic levels of stress—an understatement—protecting sobriety must be a top priority, as stress can fuel the disease of addiction.
As we enter the holiday season, consider practicing these stress management techniques to safeguard recovery while fully enjoying the wonders of the season:
- Exercise regularly. The exercise effect is scientifically recognized as a natural remedy for protecting and improving mental health.
- Practice mindfulness. Train your mind to center on the present moment instead of reeling all over the map worrying about past or future events. Stay in the now.
- Feed the soul. The holiday season is a great time to practice gratitude. Keep a journal of daily reflections that focus on the positive, and note what you feel grateful for.
- Stay connected. Having a couple of close friends that you can be completely transparent with and to confide in is an excellent source of calm and peacefulness.
- Access recovery support. Sometimes you just need another person’s perspective when going through a stressful time. Stay close to your support team throughout the holiday season.
- Take up yoga. Hatha yoga is an excellent stress management tool that also increases flexibility and strength. For added convenience, there are many yoga sessions available online.
Our lifestyle choices, including dietary, can have a profound impact on our recovery journey. Make a commitment to revamping your diet with healthier options and enjoy better mental health as a result.