It’s very easy to break your post detox, healthy eating resolutions during the party season. When the weather is cold and you crave comfort food or are confronted with all sorts of not so healthy food it’s easy to give in to temptation and pile on the holiday pounds. Here are some healthy eating tips to help keep you on track.
1. Head outside
During the cold winter months it common to crave comfort foods. Low levels of the brain chemical serotonin is linked to an increase in appetite and cravings for sweet, starchy food.
Exposure to bright light can increase serotonin so getting some outdoor exercise during daylight can help especially if you work in artificial light all day. Go for a brisk walk around the block at midday.
2. Comfort foods can be healthy
Eat healthy comfort foods like porridge, warming casseroles made with beans and lentils and chunky vegetable soups. Try making porridge with rice milk which is naturally sweet and top with grated apple and cinnamon.
Soup satisfies appetite better that non liquid meals of the same ingredients and calories. Naturally high in complex carbohydrates these food provide you with slow release energy and satisfy your hunger. They help to keep your blood sugar steady so you don’t get those hunger pangs.
3. Increase protein
Eat protein rich foods such as low mercury fish, lean, free range meat, poultry, eggs and organic dairy products. Researchers found that women who ate 2 eggs for breakfast felt less hungry and ate a smaller lunch as a result.
4. Healthy snacking
Be aware of what you are snacking mindlessly when watching the TV. Eat a handful of raisins and almonds instead of potato chips or crisps. Eat fruit if you crave something sweet or treat yourself to some no added sugar healthy bars. (not all health bars are healthy so read the labels)
5. Eat before you go out
It’s a good rule to never go out to a party on an empty stomach. It will be hard to resist temptation and you will end up eating more than you intended to. Snack on protein rich food such as a handful of almonds, a plain yogurt or a few crackers with cheese before you go. A green smoothie would be good too.
Never skip meals during the day so you can indulge during the evening. That’s nearly always as disaster. Once you have been long enough on a healthy eating regime you should lose this idea of wanting to indulge. Eat regular meals and healthy snacks between.
6. Avoid high fat and salty food
At parties and buffets avoid pastry and fried snacks. Choose bread sticks, pretzels, tortilla chips and salsa instead of creamy dips, salted nuts and cheese straws.
7. Vegetables first
Eat a large salad first if you get the choice. One study found that people who ate a large salad as a starter ate fewer calories at the second course. For the main course take a small plate and pile three quarters of it with the healthiest looking vegetable dishes.
Avoid the unhealthy deli cuts and look for lean meat main dishes to complete your plate.
8. Chew well
Chewing your food well will help you eat less. It takes time for your brain to respond to the feeling full signals it receives from your stomach. Take time to think about what you are eating and enjoy the flavor of each mouthful.
If you just shovel food into your mouth without thinking it’s easy to overeat.
9. Share dessert
Choose fresh fruit if available over high calories cream and pastry desserts. If you really must indulge in a dessert then try to share it or take a very small portion just to have a taste.
10. Drink water
Thirst can be mistaken for hunger so make sure you drink plenty of pure water. If you are going to be drinking alcohol have several glasses of water first. Drink a glass of water between each glass of alcohol too. Alcohol is high in calories but can also lower your awareness of what you are eating.
If you overdo the alcohol try a glass of warm water with 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice in the morning. It can help your liver. Or try this Detox Hangover Smoothie.
It can help if you spend some time thinking about what healthy foods you are going to eat and how much before you go out. But if you break all your resolutions don’t beat yourself up too much about it. Just put it behind you and get back on track. Spend a day drinking green smoothies with added chlorophyll like chlorella, spirulina or barley grass powder to soothe your liver and feel your guilt just slip away.