During the hectic holiday season, most people attend tons of festive events—and nearly all of them center around fattening food. Along with Mom’s family favorites that everyone is sure to enjoy, it’s not uncommon to eat handfuls of candies, cookies or cake. Although you might only eat these irresistible extras for a couple months, it’s overindulging on such foods that can throw your body into a tailspin that lasts throughout the year. The good news is, with CNK’s 3 simple tips you can learn how to avoid common party pitfalls and survive the holidays without compromising your health or packing on the pounds.
1. Choose Natural, Whole Foods
Unfortunately, many festive foods are high in processed ingredients such as insulin-spiking refined carbs that promote fat storage and increase sugar cravings. In general, the less processed a food is, the more nutrients it contains. One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to choose natural, whole foods such as berries, bell peppers, and pecans, over man-made, processed products such as chips, candies and cookies. I’ll repeat this because it’s such an important point: choose whole foods over processed products.
Another great way to prevent the belly bulge this season is by filling up on muscle-building protein-rich foods, such as deviled eggs, smoked salmon, shrimp, turkey and roast beef. Look for clean sources of protein that have been prepared with minimal ingredients. Skip the fried foods, chicken wings glazed with MSG-rich soy sauce and meatballs filled with grape jelly.
2. Eat Regular, Balanced Meals
During the holiday season, many people skip breakfast to cut calories or have a light dinner so they can “save room” for dessert. Skipping meals or restricting calories can result in overeating and poor food choices. Instead, eat 3 balanced meals and 1-2 snacks of animal protein, natural fats, non-starchy veg and some starchy veggies or low-sugar fruits. This helps you maintain consistent energy throughout the day and decreases sugar cravings.
It also helps to plan ahead so you don’t end up “starving” with lots of unhealthy temptations. One clever tactic is to bring your own healthy dish to parties. Your stressed-out hostess will welcome the contribution, and you’ll have a safe go-to option. Bring some sliced red peppers with Zukay, pork meatballs, carrot sticks and hummus, shrimp with guacamole, sliced raw milk cheese with Mary’s Gone Crackers (gluten-free) or olives and nuts.
Lastly, plan a “cheat” meal once a week to indulge. It’s not good to feel deprived or too strict with your nutrition. In my opinion, “strict equals stress.” Don’t feel guilty about your weekly pleasure either. Enjoy every bite! With that being said, stick to your plan and keep any temptations out of sight, so they’re out of mind.
3. Sip Smartly & Slowly
Stay hydrated with water. Sparkling water is refreshing with a wedge of lemon or lime. You can even make your own soda by adding Stevia to carbonated water, or you can try Zevia. Hot beverages such as herbal tea, unsweetened cocoa and Teeccino herbal coffee are great with a little stevia and cream or coconut milk.
If you don’t drink alcoholic beverages, then don’t start! If you do drink, then aim for one drink per hour and call it a night after 2-3 drinks. Also, enjoy some fat, protein or veggies when you drink to decrease the negative effects of alcohol. As per beverage selection, stick with red wine and unmixed drinks. Red wine, particularly Pinot Noir and wines from cold humid climates have high concentrations of resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory, super antioxidant. Spirits such as vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin are also fine in moderation as long as they’re not combined with sugary fruit juices or sodas.
Would you like to lose weight, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, increase energy and feel better on a daily basis? Contact Certified Nutritionist and Kitchen Coach, Cate Ritter, to improve your health now!