The holidays are filled with many social occasions. These should be a time of connection and enjoyment, but many people get anxious when faced with so many opportunities to make unhealthy food choices. Here are a few things that you can do to help you enjoy the holidays and not end up a size larger on January 2nd.
1) Eat a good breakfast with protein and healthy fats. This will help minimize insulin spikes, which lead to blood sugar fluctuations, cravings and fat storage.
2) Don’t skip meals, even when you have a big event like Thanksgiving. Skipping meals will just set you up to overeat.
3) When faced with an indulgent treat that is tempting, think of how the food will make you feel. If you know that it will make you feel worse in an hour, you’ll be less likely to eat it.
4) Eat a healthy snack with protein and fat before attending holiday parties, such as half an avocado and a hard boiled egg. This will help stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for sweets.
5) When you arrive at a party, check out the food right away (or the menu online before going to the restaurant) and plan what you will have. Do not deviate from the plan.
6) If it’s a potluck, bring something healthy that you will eat.
7) Enlist your partner or friend to keep you accountable during the holidays or at a special event.
8) Drink 2 glasses of water with lemon before eating. Lemon water helps with digestion and curbs appetite. Don’t guzzle a ton of water while you are eating. This dilutes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, making it more challenging to properly digest food.
9) Take time to exercise before an event. Insulin sensitivity is heightened during and after exercise.
10) Eat mindfully at all times, particularly if you are partaking in a special treat. Here are a few ways to help you do that:
· Take 5 deep breaths before eating.
· Chew slowly and thoroughly.
· Put down your fork between bites.
· Evaluate hunger levels as you eat using a scale of 1 (extremely hungry) to 10 (extremely full). Stop at 6 or 7. It does take approximately 20 minutes for the mind to get cues from the stomach that it is full.
11) Take a walk or play a movement game, such as Wii sports, Charades, Pictionary, etc. after eating. Better yet, crank up your favorite tunes and have a dance party with the kids!
12) Think of occasions as time to be spent with family or friends. Many times events seem to revolve around food, but connecting with others is what is important.
13) Don’t let emotions drive your appetite, particularly during stressful situations with family members.
14) Don’t think of eating as all or nothing. If you want something that is not healthy, share with a friend or just take a bite or two.
15) On Thanksgiving, fill up on turkey and vegetables.
If you can implement some of these tactics, you will avoid overindulging during the holidays. Remember that you should enjoy yourself and have some fun! Choose wisely and truly enjoy the treats you choose. Most importantly enjoy precious moments with friends and family!
Here are two great recipes that I will be making during the holidays.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Baby Kale
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp+ fresh rosemary
½ cup shredded Romano cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss Brussels sprouts with oil salt, pepper and rosemary.
Place on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until desired crispness, stirring once.
During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add the pine nuts to baking sheet
Transfer to a bowl lined with baby kale.
Toss and add Romano cheese.
Everyday Paleo Pumpkin Pie
½ cup hazelnuts
1 cup pecans
4 tbsp melted ghee
Pinch sea salt
1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened organic pure pumpkin puree
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp grated fresh ginger
½ cup raw organic honey
½ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the hazelnuts and pecans in a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground; make sure you stop before the nuts start to turn into nut butter.
Pour the ground nuts into a small mixing bowl, add the melted ghee and salt, and mix into a thick dough.
Using your hands, spread the dough evenly into a pie pan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.
While the crust is in the oven, mix all the pie filling ingredients with a hand-held mixer.
Once the crust is out of the oven, pour the filling into the crust, return the pie to the oven, and bake for an additional 45 minutes.