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Healthy Eating Hacks This Christmas

By Dr Orimoloye Philip
19 December 2021   |   6:20 am
There are three constants in life; Death, taxes and using the holidays as a cheat period for fitness enthusiasts. Christmas is around the corner and it is a time for family gatherings, parties and lots of food, so it is easy to allow yourself to indulge and promise to burn it all when you resume…

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There are three constants in life; Death, taxes and using the holidays as a cheat period for fitness enthusiasts. Christmas is around the corner and it is a time for family gatherings, parties and lots of food, so it is easy to allow yourself to indulge and promise to burn it all when you resume in January.

Also, the holidays don’t exactly promise healthy foods, but with this hack, you can enjoy your holidays while also not straying far from your fitness goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle during this period.

  1. Eat when hungry

It is a very tempting and popular practice to skip meals or arrive at events hungry in order to account for the expected high calories at an event. While this may look right, skipping meals or going hungry actually triggers overeating and increases the chances of eating anything and everything in sight. Also, hunger can cause stress on the body, which leads to the release of cortisol, which increases appetite.

Eat your breakfast, lunch or the usual meals or have a light snack, fruits when you are hungry, even when you are going for an event later to prevent rebound overeating and seeking sustenance on the barrage of high-calorie finger foods available.

  1. Fruits and vegetables

It is important to make room for vegetables and fruits in meals during this period as they serve as healthy snacks and help to reduce the appetite. For instance, Apples are a great source of fibre and help to keep feeling full and reduce the low blood sugar spikes that spur hunger. An Apple a day keeps the calories away🌚. Other examples include nuts, carrots and other vegetables.

  1. Eat slower and in moderation

An important tip this holiday is that you don’t have to forgo your favourite treats, but you have to draw the line beforehand about the quantity to consume. Portion control is important and when you set the limit beforehand, you tend to savour it and consequently prevent overindulgence. Eating slowly also gives the stomach ample time according to numerous research to send signals to the brain about satiety, which will stop you from overeating.

  1. Avoid/Limit Alcohol

Alcohol consumption, especially on an empty stomach, increases appetite and also reduces inhibition which leads to overeating. Take alcohol with food or treat it as a dessert and it will help curb the hunger that comes afterwards.

  1. Exercise

Physical activity often takes the backseat during the holidays and if you find yourself in that category, find new ways to amp up physical activity. They include parking further from event centres and taking a brisk walk. Dancing, which is a very effective way of burning calories, organising events like hiking, swimming, ice skating. Also helping to set up decorations, moving equipment, and heavy loads count as physical activity.

  1. Sleep

The importance of sleep cannot be overemphasised and while it is particularly difficult due to the increase in social gatherings and family members around, it is important to stick to at least seven hours of sleep daily. An irregular sleep cycle increases stress levels and also affects the balance between ghrelin and leptin, which are the hunger and satiety hormones, respectively. This would lead to changes in appetite and cravings for high fat, high-sugar foods.

  1. Mint

Apart from keeping the teeth healthy, another reason for brushing your teeth at night is Mint, a natural appetite suppressant. According to dieticians, due to its strong scent, it helps to keep cravings at bay. Chewing on a mint gum or taking mint tea can prevent over-snacking.

In addendum, stay hydrated, take time for yourself and remember that the holidays are a time of fun and connection with family and friends. You’d have far less time to focus on food if you focus on the fun and having a good time.

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