Holiday Health Secrets
Do you struggle to stay healthy during the holidays? Weight gain, getting sick, lack of sleep, travel, parties, stress, and tempting desserts are all challenges this time of year. The good news is, you can enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived, gaining weight or wreaking havoc on your health. Follow the tips below to conquer common party pitfalls, strengthen your immune system and indulge without packing on the pounds. These seasonal secrets are focused on minimizing holiday damage, while maximizing protective nutrients to prevent you from getting sick, fat and inflamed. Incorporate one tip daily and you’ll notice a huge difference in how you look and feel when the new year begins!
Healthier Holiday Tips
1. Eat More Mindfully
Increase your mindfulness at the table by taking a few deep breaths and giving thanks for what’s on your plate. Try taking smaller bites, chewing your food thoroughly and engaging your senses. This will greatly improve digestion, increase nutrient absorption and help you feel full faster.
2. Hydrate With Water
Hydration increases metabolism, supports detoxification, promotes healthy digestion and benefits overall health. Hydrate each morning with a large glass of water and pack a BPA-free bottle to refill throughout the day. Fresh cranberries and orange slices are a delicious way to infuse your water with flavor. You can also add lemon to water (and even food) for flavor and health benefits.
3. Enjoy Whole Foods
Choose natural, whole foods (veggies and fruits) over man-made, processed products (baked goods). Whole foods, a.k.a. one ingredient foods, naturally contain more nutrients including fiber that support blood sugar levels and digestion. In general, the less refined a food is the more nutrients it contains.
4. Start With Protein
Enjoy plenty of quality protein at the beginning of each meal, especially breakfast to set the tone for healthy choices the rest of the day. Protein promotes fat burning, reduces cravings, and provides high satiation.
5. Plan Balanced Meals
Skipping meals or restricting calories can result in overeating and poor food choices. Instead, eat 3 balanced meals and 1-2 snacks that focus on quality protein, natural fats, and non-starchy veggies. Plan your eating ahead of time so you don’t end up “starving” with unhealthy temptations.
6. Strategize Your Splurges
Plan two “cheat” meals per week to indulge. It’s not good to feel deprived or overly strict with your nutrition, but you want to plan these meals ahead of time so you don’t make every meal a cheat meal. With that in mind, if you don’t want to eat something, then don’t keep it in the house.
7. Snack on Nuts
Natural fats, such as nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.), are your best friend for thriving this festive season. Fats help aid fat loss, stabilize blood sugar levels, add flavor, decrease sugar cravings, promote satiation and increase nutrient absorption. Fats also lower the glycemic load of any type of carb (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, etc.), meaning the sugar from that food enters the blood at a much slower rate.
8. Select Smarter Sweets
Enjoy healthier sweets and treats this season by sweetening with success, favoring fruit for dessert and indulging in dark chocolate. Whether you’re adding them to beverages or baked goods, strive for healthier sweeteners, such as cinnamon, stevia, dates, maple syrup or honey.
9. Grab More Greens
Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens, which should be the other way around. Veggies are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Include more veggies by juicing, adding to salads/snacks, and using for pasta, wraps and rolls. If you can’t resist bread, select sourdough or “sprouted” varieties and make it a half sandwich.
10. Choose Better Booze
Nix most mixed drinks and beware specialty cocktails that sound like desserts in a glass. Opt for healthier libations made from simple ingredients such as wine, lite beer or a spirit straight-up. Choose natural sweeteners like stevia, fresh fruit or 100 percent fruit juice.
5 Immune Boosters
1. Cultured vegetables, such as kraut, kimchi or kvass
2. Kombucha (with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving)
3. Fresh organic cranberries
4. Green powder blend, such as Greens First or Amazing Grass
5. Grass-fed collagen, gelatin or homemade bone broth
5 Travel-Friendly Foods
1. Nuts or Artisana nut squeeze packs with fresh fruit or Alter Eco dark chocolate
2. SeaSnax — seaweed chips
3. Wild Planet wild sardines or salmon
4. Tanka Bar — wild bison jerky
5. Grass-fed whey protein powder, such as Tera’s Whey
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