written by Gitanjali Jaswal, SPORTS NUTRITIONIST on Dec 28, 2017 in NUTRITION
Cheers to a guilt-free Holiday and Festive Season!
Food is an important part of the celebrations in any community, regardless of culture or religion. Whether it is a festive holiday or a vacation, it is a time to unwind, to celebrate, to rejuvenate and to reconnect with your loved ones. But holidays also make you think that it is okay to take a time off from your healthy lifestyle. This leads to gain of extra kilos by the time one comes out of the celebrations or a break.
But here is the good news – it is possible to enjoy your holidays and indulge in celebrations without packing those extra kilos for the trip back home. The secret to this mantra is - choose foods wisely, make "moderation" your vacation mantra and stay as active as possible during your vacations or the celebration time.
So here is the route to maintain weight by choosing the right choices and still enjoy oneself:
1. Plan Ahead
The bottom line ultimately boils down to planning well and way ahead if you are watching your weight over the holidays. If you have events that involve food on the calendar, take matters into your own hands. Find out what types of foods will be served and if you need to, bring your own dish. Decide what and how much you will eat ahead of time.
2. Eat small portions
Whether you're hosting a party, bringing food or eating in a restaurant, make each portion of your dish smaller. Never miss out on using a smaller plate for eating.This helps in controlling portions and therefore reduce the likelihood of gluttony and the consequent holiday weight gain.
3. Eat Wisely
Eat only one heavy meal once a day- preferably it should be the Breakfast or Lunch. Lunch is the best time to have a heavy meal.Next option can be Breakfast. Heavy dinner, especially late dinner, should be best avoided as it’s a tough ask for our body to digest.
4. Maintaining a Food Diary
You need your food diary more than ever when you are on vacation. Write down everything you eat as soon as you eat it, that way you are aware of how much extra food is going in. This is also a good way to start practicing self- control.
5. Fill your days with activities and move more
One of the main reasons for holiday weight gain is decreased physical activity. Thanks to our rich food traditions and abundance of holiday treats, it's almost guaranteed that we'll end up eating more than normal. That means we need to move more to burn those induced extra calories. If you are traveling then you can always go to the gym of your hotel.Outdoor travel activities like hiking, ride a cycle, swimming, kayaking, running/walking for shopping, taking stairs instead of lift are good options too. However, if you are at home busy with the festivity spree then don’t forget to take out time for yourself for an hour’s workout every day. This workout can be a brisk walk, cardio in the gym, dance or a simple jog.
6. Trim the fat and calories from holiday meals.
Festive food in very tasty but is loaded with calories. Make these recipes healthier with these simple swaps:
Steam, bake or boil foods instead of frying them. Try and cook vegetables and other foods in broth instead of oil, use skimmed milk or unsweetened almond milk instead of whole milk, use less oil or butter instead of oil, use spices and herbs to add flavor and aroma. By eliminating the need to use oil, you can enjoy tender meat and nutrient-rich vegetables while sticking to a weight-loss or maintenance diet.Use two large egg whites for each whole egg, replace half of the white flour with whole wheat flour or almond flour in baked goods, double up on vanilla extract, cinnamon or nutmeg to enhance flavor.
7. Follow a heavy meal with a light meal
If you’re overindulgence with the food extended the whole day, then follow it with a good workout and eat as light and healthy the next day, to compensate the weight gain.
8. Share your meals
This means splitting an appetizer, main course and dessert during both lunch and dinner. This way overall you will end up having fewer calories.
9. Limit the alcohol
Alcohol can put you over your daily calorie limit; especially those sugary exotic mixed drinks. Limit your drinking or best is to duck it by saying no to it with an excuse of trying to eat healthy for some time.
10. Snacking wisely
During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be easily available for you to indulge. You can overcome these situations by being mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself snacking just because there's food available — and not because you're hungry — then it's best to avoid snacking altogether. However, if you are hungry and need a snack, opt for the real foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are best options. They are the filling snacks that don't contain added sugars or unhealthy fats, both of which can lead to weight gain. Carrying healthy roasted snacks with you, while you are traveling, is also a good option.
11. Pack the protein punch
Include some protein in every meal as it promotes fullness and may be useful for weight maintenance. Protein like an egg, chicken, fish, low-fat cheese, Soya, tofu, lentils, and chickpeas are good options in this category.
12. Fiber is great
Fiber is another important nutrient that induces fullness. Increased dietary fiber can reduce total calorie intake, which is a great strategy to prevent weight gain over the holidays. Unfortunately, many common festive foods lack adequate amounts of fiber. Do your best to incorporate fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds into your meals.
13. Take your time, as you eat
Eating slowly leads to improved satiety (feeling fuller).Carbohydrate and fat digestion actually begins in your mouth. Inadequate chewing causes foods to pass through your GI tract without being properly broken down—so nutrients are simply wasted. Chewing is important in helping you maintain a healthy weight due to its natural "portion control" properties. Eating fast is a quick recipe for an expanded waistline.
14. Make the Weighing Machine your true friend
Checking your weight regularly during the holidays helps activate the action orientation. Awareness is the start point to begin the journey of guilt-free indulgence. Depending on suitability, you can either check your weight every day or once or twice in a week. The best time to check the weight is before the breakfast with an empty stomach.
So friends, as you enter the year-end festivities and travel, don’t forget to follow these simple tips to come back happier and fitter. Yes, it’s no more an ‘Or’ option, you have the power to make it an ‘And’option.
Three cheers to the festive holidays and of course to the good health!!!