Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eating healthy during the holidays: simple tips to avoid overindulgence

Follow these steps and you won’t hate yourself later for eating too much delicious holiday food.

1. Don’t skip meals. People seem to think that if they don’t eat breakfast or lunch, they can save up calories and eat and drink things that are not good for them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. First, the body needs energy throughout the day, especially in the morning to jump start metabolism. Second, if people skip meals energy levels become sapped, which can lead to feeling hungry, shaky, or having headaches. Third, when people skip meals to eat more at one time, they tend to overindulge in high calorie foods leading to eating more calories than they would have originally. Last, when people skip meals, it actually slows metabolism over time.

2. Eat healthy snacks. Prepare yourself for the battle of workplace junk food. Plan ahead with good snacks like vegetables, unsalted nuts, granola, fresh fruit, quality energy bars, etc. One of my personal favorite healthy snacks to make is a combination of almonds, raisins, and dark chocolate. It has good fats, fiber, and sweetness that make it a healthy tasty snack that you can munch on throughout the day.

3. Stay hydrated. Many people have suggested that when your body is even mildly dehydrated, you can become hungry as your body tries to convince you that you need hydration. Also, if you drink water with every couple of bites, you will slow down your rate of eating, which will allow you to feel fuller so you don’t overeat in a short period of time.

4. Eat foods that are high in fiber before going to a party. This is a good trick because when you eat foods high in fiber, you will feel fuller and you won’t eat as much at the party. Eating foods rich in fiber is as simple as having fresh vegetables, a salad, or a piece of fruit like an apple.

5. Pace yourself. It’s not a race. Let’s face it, 90% of the time when we go to a party or holiday gathering, we are going to be there for at least a few hours. I can’t remember the last time I went to Thanksgiving dinner for 15 minutes and had to inhale my food. Slow down and pace yourself. It always seems like there are so many options. We take some of everything and eat quickly so we can get seconds before the family’s human garbage disposal eats the rest of the food. Get small portions of what you want and eat it slowly so you can savor the flavor.

6. Treat yourself to small portions of the good stuff. I hear people say “Oh I can’t have any of that, I am on a diet.” It’s a special occasion and you should enjoy the things and food that make you happy, just within reason. If you get a small portion of apple pie with ice cream on it, it’s not going to kill you. Don’t be extreme and totally deprive yourself or eat heaping portions of every sweet thing in sight. Pick one or two and have a little bit.

For more information on Dr. Cullen and his practice, please visit his website at http://www.cullenchiropracticandwellness.com/.