Holidays and weight gain have always gone hand in hand... but not anymore! Here are some tips to stay on a nutritious track while making the most of the holiday season.
Have you ever fought tooth and nail to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but the holiday season got in the way? It is hard to keep your weight loss enthusiasm soaring when the holiday season kicks in. Practicing healthy holiday eating habits will help you relish a traditional holiday treat without feeling guilty afterwards.
To get started on the right foot, avoid these foods to ensure you are embracing healthy holiday eating habits.
- Ultra-processed food: These include soft drinks, potato chips, candies, and chocolates, packaged soups, white bread, chicken nuggets, bottled coffees, sweetened cereals and more. They lack fiber, are very high in sugar, fat, and empty calories, causing obesity and altering microbiomes.
Instead try: Minimally-processed foods such as baby carrots, honey and dried berries. rolled oatmeal, kale chips and drip coffee.
- Refined sugar: This includes table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. They are added to enhance taste in highly-processed foods and hold virtually no beneficial compounds. They are also a dominating ingredient in festive desserts.
Instead try: To add sweetness to your favorite holiday desserts using natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, dates and applesauce.
- Harmful oils: Unhealthy oils can have harmful health consequences and become a stumbling block in developing healthy holiday eating habits, even if you opt for a healthy option such as a salad. The oils you should avoid are:
- Palm oil, which contains saturated fat.
- Hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fat causing increase in body mass.
- Sunflower oil, which has a high level of calories.
Instead try: Olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil and flaxseed oil.
- Alcohol: It contains empty calories and very little nutrients. It can also lead to surplus belly fat. According to the National Health Service, four bottles of wine a month is tantamount to 48 Big Macs a year.
Instead try: Healthy holiday mocktails using natural sweeteners, fruits, herbs and fermented foods.
Steering away from these items will set you up for success. But, healthy holiday eating habits require more conscious efforts to keep that weight in check. Let’s look at some other ways to make that possible.
- It is easy to confuse thirst with food cravings. A glass of water can prevent you from consuming extra calories.
- Protein rich breakfast will keep you less hungry and more active throughout the day.
- Meals at regular times burn calories at a quicker pace, which can propel healthy holiday eating habits.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber. They will keep you full, ensuring that you snack less through the day.
- Savor the taste of your favorite holiday treats but stay within your daily calorie allowance.
- Stock fibre-rich foods such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, fruits and veggies, brown rice and pasta, lentils, almonds and popcorn. Rid your shelves of processed junk food.
- Follow culinary blogs that provide healthy yet delicious holiday recipes.
- Ingest probiotics into your body everyday. They are good for the gut—probiotics kill more calories and store less fat.
- Read food labels to be aware of the amount of calories you consume.
- Find an enjoyable activity—such as running or skipping—to burn the extra calories that you gain from your holiday treats.
Healthy holiday eating habits do a lot more than good weight management. Nutritious food can boost your mood and balance your anxiety levels. Make a few changes and embark on the holiday season with a revamped spirit because losing weight has never been easier.