Check out the Sweat Equity Magazine Nov/Dec 2012 out in stores now! Healthy holiday tips to keep you on track and a delicious Gracious Living Cranberry Blueberry Bliss smoothie (pg. 22) to sip on….mmmmm. (recipe book coming soon!)
HEALTHY HOLIDAY SURVIVAL TIPS by Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N. (pg. 30)
T’is the season to party and celebrate with friends and family! The holidays don’t have to mean weight gain! Here are some tips to keep on track while out at parties, and when hosting your own gatherings as well.
1. Don’t go to a party hungry. This is number one! Before leaving for a party I like to have a nutrient dense, antioxidant rich smoothie high in plant based protein (I love Sunwarrior). This will ensure that my blood sugar doesn’t dip and deters over indulgence. Arriving to an event hungry makes staying on track difficult.
2. Stay hydrated. Dehydration not only slows metabolism but often times the body’s need for water is actually confused for hunger. Drink water before you arrive and make sure to drink 1-2 cups of water before you start eating. Wait at least 15-30 minutes and then assess your hunger levels.
3. Party with a plan. Check out the spread first, and then decide what and how much you will eat. I suggest only one trip to the buffet so choose foods that will nourish you. Base your meal around lean, quality protein and vegetables. Make sure to have raw veggies on your plate so the enzymes help speed up digestion and the fibre fills you up faster. Once you’ve chosen your healthy plate of food, go into another room and enjoy calorie-free talk with friends. Stand far away from the buffet table. I repeat, stand far away from the buffet table!
4. Bring a dish. Contribute your own favorite, delicious dish to a holiday gathering. I ALWAYS bring my own food to parties to ensure that I have a healthy option (plus the host always loves contributions!) If you’re vegan, bring a yummy bean dish for protein. If you’re raw, bring a decadent raw dessert. If you’re gluten intolerant, bring a scrumptious gluten-free whole grain salad. This is your chance to wow people who are curious about how you eat! (WOW your friends and family with easy, delicious Gracious Living Chocolate Truffles…click here!)
5. Portion control. Portion sizes tend to be excessive at parties. Instead of eating a large amount of food, try to eat a large variety of good foods. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Put your food on a small plate rather than a big plate as the tendency is to consume too much food on a bigger plate.
6. Savour each bite. Be mindful and eat with awareness. Enjoy your food and eat slowly to reduce your chances of eating too much. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it is full, so the slower you eat the less you will eat. Chew your foods thoroughly and savour each bite, instead of shovelling it down. Digestion begins in the mouth so chewing your food well helps to keep your metabolism revved up.
7. Moderation and Balance. If you overeat at 1 meal, go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3500 calories per week) above your normal consumption to gain 1 pound. It is impossible to gain weight over 1 piece of pie. Don’t get uptight if you have something you don’t normally have…it’s not worth the stress that affects body, mind and slows digestion! Just go lighter at your next meal and focus on vegetables.
8. Watch out for high caloric beverages. Remember alcohol is packed with calories. A holiday sized mixed drink can have up to 500 calories. Alcohol slows down metabolism, makes the body more acidic, spikes blood sugar, and can also lead to overeating throughout an event. Even non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
9. Don’t eat late at night. Digestion, calorie burning, and fat burning slow down at night. Eating before bedtime means your body will spend it’s energy digesting food while you sleep, instead of detoxification and regeneration, leaving you to feel unrested and cranky in the morning. Stop eating 3 hours before sleeping to ensure optimal weight, digestion, and health.
10. Stick with your workout and yoga routine. Exercise can help burn off extra calories, prevent holiday weight gain and make you feel good about yourself. Exercise also reduces the stress of social events and family get-togethers. Stay connected to your body and what it needs to feel amazing.
11. Bring digestive enzymes with you. My friends always know that I’m going to pull out a bottle of vitamins when eating at a party or restaurant! Good quality digestive enzymes taken with or just before meals will help facilitate digestion, assimilation of nutrients, and help prevent any gastrointestinal distress. They help the body breakdown, fats, carbs, proteins, sugars, and fibers and are great for heavier meals or cooked foods. You can find them at your local health food store.
Balanced, healthy eating should always be fun and make you feel fantastic! If it doesn’t, then it’s not worth it. Enjoy your healthy holiday season!