To many people the holidays mean food and to eat healthy is often
a challenge. It's estimated that on the average most of us gain a
pound over the holidays. I'm pretty sure in my case that is a low
estimate. While that pound may not sound too bad, if you eat that
way regularly those pounds add up. According to Dr. Oz, instead
of paying attention to your waist size over the holidays it's
better to concentrate on building muscle so that losing that
weight afterwards is not as hard. Here are some holiday tips on
eating to build up muscle, eat healthy and incorporate some fat
burning foods into your diet.
- Getting enough sleep helps curb craving for comfort foods and
snacks and supports building muscle.
- Use spices, herbs, fruits and nuts to flavor dishes instead of
butter and other fats. Garlic mashed potatoes are a great example
and replace fatty sour cream dips with hummus.
- Eat a healthy protein or healthy fat snack before going to
holiday parties so you are not as likely to overeat, especially
if the party includes a buffet table.
- Substitute healthier snack choices that meet your food cravings.
For example, if you crave a creamy sweet like ice cream have a
cup of yogurt with fruit instead or at least go for a smaller
amount of slow churned ice cream that doesn't have as much fat
and can be half the amount of calories. If your food craving
leans more towards the chips category because of the salt and
crunch you get you can easily rack up 1230 calories by eating an
eight ounce bag. Carrots, celery, or baked whole grain crackers
with a hummus dip can give you the crunch in a more healthy way
without sacrificing flavor.
- Protein foods satisfy hunger longer and burn up more calories in
digesting them than other types of foods. Quinoa makes a great
side dish with a cup having 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of
fiber and fish is a good protein that is also low fat and gives
you omega-3 fatty acids. Most adults need 45 – 56 grams of
protein daily and more if they get regular exercise so food
sources are usually adequate to provide the protein needed. If
you have a really strenuous or active lifestyle or just don't
take the time to eat right, protein drinks can help. To lose fat
the best are the ones with not many carbs and mostly protein with
only a touch of fat. Jose Antonio, chief executive officer and
co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
advises having a drink that is over 50% protein to lose body fat.
I prefer this drink mix that is made from pure organic
whey protein from rBGH-free cattle, AFA bluegreen algae,
all-natural Whey Low®, sprouts and protein-digesting enzymes with
22 grams of protein per serving.
- Traditional holiday fare is always a temptation. We all have
family favorites that maybe we've had since childhood bringing up
fond memories. Instead of depriving yourself of these type
goodies, limit the amount you'll eat. One bite of that chocolate
fudge savored slowly can satisfy the craving so that you don't
have to gobble up several pieces.
- Nuts are a food often served at parties and just sitting around
as a snack food during the holidays. While nuts are a healthy
snack, they also are a fatty snack so too much can put on the
weight. A single cup of mixed nuts can be over 800 calories. Get
nuts with shells that have to be cracked. That will take longer
to eat than already shelled nuts that you can wolf down by the
- Many people get a blood sugar drop in the middle of the afternoon
and reach for a carb filled or sugary snack to regain energy.
That adds on calories and the body burns those types of calories
quicker. A snack with protein and complex carb will stabilize
blood sugar and last longer. I like this snack bar that
contains a healthy balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates,
fiber, and micronutrients from whole-food sources of sprouted
grains and grasses, almond butter, and AFA bluegreen algae, with
no chemical additives or dairy. Healthy snacks to have around are
ones that have less than 200 calories like yogurt with fruit,
boiled eggs, and veggies with bean dip or hummus.
- Stress is abundant during the holidays so be careful of emotional
or stress eating. Try going for a walk, meditation or a relaxing
soak in the tub before turning to food to relieve stress.
- A study in Appetite reported workers taking a 15 minute walk were
50% less likely to eat chocolate back at their desks than those
that rested for those 15 minutes. So getting some exercise not
only burns off some of those extra calories, but also can curb
your craving for sweets.
- When snacking on yogurt, pick Greek yogurt as it has double the
protein of regular yogurts to help build muscle and keep you full
longer. Your body also burns more calories digesting protein than
it does digesting carbohydrates.
- Foods that have a high water content are great for curbing
appetite as they make you feel fuller, are full of nutrients and
are low calorie. Raw veggies and fruits fit in this category and
also provide you with antioxidants and fiber. Oatmeal not only
has a high water content, but is also rich in fiber, filling, and
hot. Hot foods take a longer time to eat. Filling up on salad
before a meal can also help you avoid overeating more fatty foods
with the main meal.
Here's to healthier eating over the holidays this year! Just
being aware of ways to cut down your calorie intake can help you
avoid overeating and make it easier to burn off those extra
calories after the holidays.