For some, Halloween triggers the beginning of the holiday season and the start of the slippery slope for healthy eating.
What’s a couple of snack size candy bars? Truth be told, even those fun-size candy bars, can add up. Sugar and empty calories can lead to adding a few pounds here and there, especially if you don’t up your exercise regimen and eat healthy the rest of the day.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little candy around Halloween, if you limit your consumption. It does mean, even during the holidays _ and maybe more so _ you should not abandon the healthy eating and exercise habits you’ve been trying to adhere to the rest of the year.
Remember the key is to enjoy time with friends and family during the holidays. Don’t pile more guilt or stress on yourself.
So how do you stay on track? Try these tips and don’t let the hard work you’ve put in the rest of the year slip away during the holidays.
1. Before leaving for a party, ensure you have some protein in your body. This can be any kind of animal or vegetable protein or even an energy “protein” drink. That way you won’t be hungry and arrive at the party ravenous with low and imbalanced blood sugar.
2. Plan a workout for the day of the party and the day after. This will help prepare the metabolic system to use those extra calories. It’s best to work out a couple of hours before the party.
3. Drink two (2) eight-to-ten ounce glasses of water before making any food choices. If you can add lemon to the water that’s even a better option to stimulate digestive enzymes.
4. At the party, choose vegetables or foods higher in protein. Try to keep to a minimum simple starch foods like chips, crackers, breads, beer and cookies.
5. Eat veggies first, protein second and simple starches as a last resort. You will feel more satisfied if you eat the veggies and protein as your first options and you’ll even tend to eat less.
6. Chew your foods slowly, so you can begin to realize fullness. Fifteen to twenty chews per bite would be ideal.
7. If you don’t usually mix all kinds of food categories, you may find overeating will lead to bloating and then fatigue the next day as the digestive system works overtime. The best course of action, of course, is to avoid the overeating. But if you do overeat, chewable enzymes will assist in digestion and may prevent that bloated feeling.
8. Skip dairy whenever possible.
9. Drink green tea. It will decrease fat absorption and increase fat burning cells.
10. If you choose to drink alcohol, red wine is a better option. Red wine has wonderful antioxidant properties. It also contains resveratrol, which has excellent effects on the metabolism of insulin.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy friends and family. It is a wonderful time of year to be thankful for health and to spend time with those who bring you great happiness and love.
Be well and have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!
Dr. Holly Donahue is a licensed, board-certified doctor of naturopathic medicine. She is the founder of Simple Health, offering online wellness programs and counseling at www.simplehealthnh.com