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The Magic Plate – Your Recipe For Holiday Health And Joy

Written by: Chelsea Haines, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Chelsea Haines

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the holiday season is scary for many. A time that is supposed to be full of excitement with family time, no work, and often beautiful locations turns into a time they dread. That is likely because of the two things that come with the holiday season: food (and much of it) and judgment. After reading this today, you'll lose the fear of food and judgment and see how food can be medicine even over this time of year. To bring us into that festive cheer, I will end with The Magic Plate: your holiday health and joy recipe. I've also thrown in one of my favorite holiday recipes!

Granddaughter hugging grandmother while making cake together in the kitchen

Food as medicine and the power of perspective in your holiday season

This year, we are choosing more than what we put on our plate. We are choosing a new perspective.

Holidays mean more time to prepare meals. That means the holiday season can be a chance to spend more time creating meals that nourish you and your loved ones.

The following perspective shift is from restriction to embracing abundance.

Elimination and restriction have never worked long-term. Worst of all, it doesn't make us happy. It is possible to shift to embracing an abundance of diverse food and ditching restriction and elimination for good. Choose healthy whole-food ingredients, prepare your meals, and use the Magic Plate method (keep reading for more.) These simple steps will be all you need for your most joyful and abundant festive season.

Feel your way into a fulfilling festive and holiday season

Food is meant to be enjoyed. This is why I choose to add whole foods to my plate instead of thinking about what I shouldn't have. That way, I know I am nourishing myself with all the micro and macro nutrients I need and avoiding the "elimination" mindset. Instead, I enjoy all the foods I want in varying amounts—nourishment for the body AND soul.

Adding food to the plate, not eliminating

Nourishment focused. Whenever I have a meal or snack, I first enjoy the most nourishing foods. I have several stopping points in the day to ensure I'm adequately hydrated by adding minerals to my water. That way, when I want a delicious treat, I know it's something my body (and heart buds) can enjoy. It also means I won't be as prone to binge as in the past because I have stopped restricting my calories.

The magic plate for stable blood sugar and gut health

This brings us to The Magic Plate.

Every time I sit down for a meal, I look for the following components to make up most of my plate to ensure it is a Magic Plate.

  • Protein

  • Essential Fat

  • Fiber

  • Bonus: COLOR!

This combination on my plate helps stabilize my blood sugar and allows me to feel satiated for longer. Because I'm incorporating fiber, I know I'm feeding my gut too. Having a happy gut over the holidays will help my cravings, energy levels, and mood, and it’ll even help me avoid those ridiculous “hangry” moments!

Gut loving holiday recipe: Brussels (or broccoli) and bean dip

Last year, I got to make this recipe, and I felt so great afterward that I got excited thinking about sharing it with you this time of year and making it for my loved ones over the festive season. It took me under 15 minutes, so it’s great to have it handy.

I recently made it again with broccoli. Both brussels and broccoli fall into the cruciferous vegetable family (a family of vegetables we should aim to consume daily). The bean dip is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making this dish so creamy and delicious. Add some bonus crispy bacon bits for extra protein and fat for the perfect Magic Plate!

Crispy brussels sprouts on butter bean dip with za'atar


Crispy Brussels Sprouts:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Sea salt, to taste

Butter Bean Dip:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) butter beans, drained and rinsed

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For Sprinkling:

  • Za'atar seasoning – an herbal blend


1. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Prepare the Crispy Brussels Sprouts:

  • Toss the halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil in a large bowl until well coated.

  • Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet in a single layer.

  • Sprinkle sea salt over the Brussels sprouts.

3. Roast the Brussels Sprouts:

  • Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are crispy and golden brown, shaking the pan halfway through for even cooking.

4 Prepare the Butter Bean Dip:

  • While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, make the butter bean dip. Combine the drained butter beans, minced garlic, tahini, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor.

  • Process until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

5. Assemble the Dish:

  • Once the Brussels sprouts are crispy, remove them from the oven.

  • Spread the butter bean dip on a serving plate or platter, creating a smooth layer.

  • Arrange the crispy Brussels sprouts on top of the butter bean dip.

  • Bonus: top it all with crispy bacon crumbles for that extra punch!

6. Sprinkle with Za'atar:

  • Generously sprinkle the assembled dish with Za'atar seasoning for an added flavor.

7. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Serve the healthy, crispy Brussels sprouts immediately on a bed of butter bean dip. This dish makes a delightful appetizer or side for a nutritious and flavorful meal.

Enjoy your healthy and delicious Brussels sprouts creation!

New year, new food perspective for your holiday

We can only write a New Year's Resolutions list if we're willing to make those changes now. The best way to go into the new year with this new abundant food perspective is to practice it in the last part of the year.

Forego perfection for prioritization. Prioritize nutrient-dense choices first. Choose your mental and physical health. Enjoy a diverse range of food this year and end the reign of restriction of your food and enjoyment.

You may want to explore the Gut Health Agency’s Signature Program if you seek support in healing your gut and your relationship with food. This Healing Experience takes a bottom-up (with functional stool testing) and a top-down (with mindset rewiring) approach for a fully comprehensive and cutting-edge strategy to help you heal your gut with nothing but joy and ease. Simply Apply Now to see if you’re a good fit for our next cohort.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Chelsea Haines Brainz Magazine

Chelsea Haines, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Recently featured "The Gut Health Coach" by Yahoo!, Chelsea Haines has a unique way of helping high-performers heal. She doesn't claim to know best. Her mission: to remind you that YOU are the expert on your body, only you know precisely what you need, and you are not "crazy" for feeling how you feel. Her expertise stems from personally healing autoimmune disease paired with formal degrees in psychology, gut health, and mindfulness. She’s the Founder of The Gut Health Agency, where a team of health coaches & Registered Dietitians merge health coaching with clinical testing for increased patient compliance and lasting habit change ‒ a needle-moving combination not otherwise seen in the gut health space.



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