It’s the HOLIDAYS! Isn’t it just brilliant?! If you’re anything like me then you’re rapt that finally, you have time away from your normal routine and the chance to engage with family and friends. Finally, you get to unwrap those Christmas gifts that have been taunting you all month and (even better) you get to rest assured in the knowledge that you don’t have to worry about Christmas shopping for at least another 11 months. 11.5 at a stretch. And FINALLY you get to eat, drink and be merry – and all without the usual serving of guilt. Right?
After all, it’s the holidays! A time to indulge and enjoy! Dieting and exercise be damned – yes?
Well, sure. Like it or not, indulgence tends to go part and parcel with this time of year. Which is fine and dandy, but wouldn’t it be just excellent if you could enjoy your holiday merriment without the residual, how should I say it, well enhancement of your figure?
I’m all for eating, I’m definitely all for a few extra glasses of red at this time of year, and I most certainly won’t say no to a bit of merriment, but if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s knowing I’ve undone (or at least feel as though I have) a year’s hard work in just a few short weeks of vacation.
Here are five simple but very very smart nutrition tips that I use to avoid just that. I think you’ll like them.
• Knock back 2 tablespoons of apple cidar vinegar before each major meal. Many people swear by apple cidar vinegar for digestion, and I’ve found it really works wonders first thing in the morning to get things moving. Whether or not the validity of this is based in ‘real’ science or not, I’m unsure but I say – if something works for you then keep doing it. And this definitely works for me. I’ve also read that taking apple cidar vinegar can blunt the insulin response of a sugar-loaded or large meal.
• Use cinnamon liberally. Cinnamon not only adds a yummy flavour to meals both sweet and savoury, but it’s used widely by health practitioners to lower blood sugar response to food. It is even used in some diabetes treatment for this purpose. According to studies at the USDA, cinnamon not only reduces blood sugar, but also triglycerides and cholesterol in people with Type 2 diabetes. This is why cinnamon is often referred to as a ‘fat-loss spice’. I like to add some to my coffee.
• Hold off on the juices, sodas, or other sugar-based mixers. This is just plain old common sense, isn’t it! Drinking alcoholic beverages is one thing at this time of year, but adding calorie-loaded sugars to them can really add up. Choose soda and fresh lime, or stick to the wine. Your belly will thank you!
• Enjoy some red wine vinegar with freshly squeezed lemon and lime on your salad. These natural and healthy dressings will help your body to become more alkaline – a simple way to deal with the toxic overload that too much eating can induce. Red wine vinegar, like apple cidar vinegar, may also help to manage blood sugars – I know I keep harping on about that, but let’s face it – too much food usually does mean too much sugar!
• Eat a protein-based breakfast. Healthy proteins and good fats will not only give you that morning energy boost but can prevent cravings later in the day and help you to manage temptation wisely. Rather than plain toast or cereal, which tend to be eaten in a rush and lead to hunger pangs earlier than you’d like, try a whole boiled egg or some salmon with avocado. Another yummy option is to use nut butter like almond butter on gluten free toast. I personally notice a huge difference in how much I eat for the day as a whole when I consume protein first thing, and I once read a study showing children who eat protein for breakfast chose naturally to eat 46% less for lunch than those who ate plain porridge.
What do you do to keep yourself in check during the holiday eating madness? Aside from the obvious (and, let’s face it, kinda boring – restrain yourself) If you have any smart nutrition ‘tricks’ that aren’t on this list, I’d love to hear them!
Kat Eden is a personal trainer and nutrition/lifestyle coach from Melbourne, Australia. For regular tips on nutrition, health, and motivation visit Kat over at her blog www.bodyincredible.com
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