With Father’s Day on the horizon, followed by Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s, we’re in for a slew of festive celebrations packed with – you guessed it – food. And not the healthy kind. Here are 4 tips to help you navigate these challenging times, while keeping your health in check.
Stick to whole foods.
Go for the fruit salad or roast veggies, as opposed to the pies and cakes where you don’t really know what the ingredients are. Highly processed breads, baked goods and dips may contain a host of additives, including sugar and preservatives which could put a fork in the road of your progress – especially if sugar is your Achilles heel. Here are some of the foods to make a beeline for:
- Fruit platters
- Baked or roast veggies
- Cheese platters – go for the harder cheeses
- Tea or coffee
- Salad veggies
Eat before you go.
It’ll be hard to make sensible decisions when your stomach’s doing the talking, so make sure you get a full meal before you show up to the party. Foods with healthy fats are a one-stop ticket to satiety, including monounsaturated fats, which studies have found help balance blood sugars and prevent insulin resistance. You can find these in avocados, olive oil and walnuts. Healthy fats keep us fuller for longer, especially medium chain triglycerides – these are found in coconuts and eggs, and have been found to decrease appetite and curb cravings. This means you won’t end up clearing off the dessert table.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also important for keeping your cravings in check. It doesn’t hurt that they have a host of other benefits like reducing inflammation, improving gut health and reducing our risk for disease, according to studies. Get this essential fat from eggs, walnuts, ghee and hemp seeds.
When your gut is happy, it’ll be easier to stick to lighter snacks, like fruit, nuts and cheese.
Talk more, eat less.
Instead of making the food the focus, make it a goal to mingle as much as possible. When you get lost in the conversation, your cravings may simmer down, and it also gives you an excuse to dodge pushy hosts who may pressure you into splurging. But be careful who you chat to! Pick people who are further away from the food table, so the temptation will be out of sight and out of mind.
Ditch the alcohol.
Cocktails and champagne are a sure-fire way to send your blood sugars into overdrive – these sneaky festive drinks pack a deceptive amount of sugar for such a small package. If you’re thinking of mixing vodka and juice – think again. This popular drink is a fructose fireball, while a glass of cider will set you back 13 grams of sugar in just a glass. That’s more than half the limit for women. If you’re looking for a lower-alcohol drink, take a look at our article on red wine and why you can still enjoy a glass now and then when you quit sugar. But, for the most part, keep the fancy drinks off the menu and you’ll escape the extra sugars. Maybe even offer to be the designated driver to help you fight the temptation.
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