It’s that time of the year when we get together and dig into hearty meals while giving in to those tasty temptations. The festival varies but the tasty food is a constant. The best part is everyone normalizes eating without guilt. It’s so easy to gain a couple of pounds during these days. Not to mention that your nutrition intake is compromised to a certain extent in the bargain.
If you’re considering a weight loss diet, be realistic. Trying to lose weight is not the best idea when someone is constantly offering you laddoos, kheer and other delicious goodies. You could try to balance this by cutting down on other foods but what usually happens is that healthy eating gets neglected during festivals. Often the sensible thing to do is maintain your weight and health, and save the real diet for after the season.
These tips will help you eat healthy during the holidays while still enjoying the season's treats.
1. Make time for breakfast
Research suggests that those who skip breakfast typically eat worse during the day, and exercise less. Eat a breakfast that contains protein and fiber; these will help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you going until midday. Consider a whey protein shake in the mornings. The amino acids in whey protein provide you with quick energy as it absorbs quickly into your muscles and counteracts muscle breakdown as you wake up.
2. Don’t skip meals
You shouldn't skip lunch to make up for a calorie-drenched dinner. Besides dinner, regular small meals will stabilize your blood sugar and prevent cravings. You are less likely to overeat.
3. Make room for fruits and vegetables
Want all the delicacies without upsetting the stomach? Consume plenty of fruits. The fiber in the fruits will keep your digestive system in good shape. Some citrus fruits are also good immunity boosters. Apart from fruits, eat your greens right. Most greens contain few calories and fat. These super greens are also important sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber. In order to have healthy, hybrid nutrition, eating at least 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables each day is important.
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The super greens and fruits in the powdered form act as great immunity builders. Not only that but they also play the role of skin vitamin supplements.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking more water will flush out more toxins. It’s that simple. The easiest way to limit your calorie intake is to follow this simple rule: Don't drink your calories.
It takes about 330 ml of water to fill you up as much as 330 ml of soft drink, but without the calories. As an alternative to a bottle of juice, a soda or an alcoholic drink, swig a few glasses of water. Add a few pieces of cucumber or mint leaves to add flavor to your water.
5. Consider healthy alternatives
Make your favorite dishes healthier. You can make brown rice pulao, sweeten kheer with jaggery or have fruit salad instead of ras malai. The main course at dinner parties is typically seafood and meat. You can include fatty fish in your meal such as salmon and mackerel which are rich in omega 3-fatty acids and good for the heart. Fatty fishes are also fat-burning foods.
If you are the host, offer healthier alternatives. Start by serving vegetables. Consume carbohydrates rich in fiber, such as brown rice and whole-grain bread. If you have a hard time breaking your white rice habit, mixing brown and white rice together will make the transition easier.
6. Keep healthy snacks handy
Make sure you always carry a snack box containing nuts and seeds so that when you feel hungry, you will get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Dried fruits also act as great protein sources. Additionally, you can munch on your favorite fruits for stamina whenever you feel low on energy.
7. Avoid eating late in the night
We tend to eat late at night when we are in a celebratory mood. Eating past your dinner time can affect your digestion. Because with each passing hour in the night, metabolism tends to slow down. This can lead to weight gain and issues like acid reflux.
8. Portion Control
People tend to overindulge during festivals. When celebrating, you may often disregard caution. It can be hard to avoid sweets and savory foods completely, considering that friends and family invite you to parties. Don't consume too many spicy and fried foods, and don't overdo the portions. If you are hosting guests at home, use healthier cooking methods like grilling and baking rather than frying.
9. Start with light food
Fruits and dry fruits are great options for starting your meal, not only for their health benefits but also because they will make you feel full faster. Consuming less oily, fried and sweet foods can help you maintain your calorie intake while maintaining nutrition.
10. Don’t skip your workouts
You need to exercise to stay energetic and build your resistance to diseases. Staying up late and eating a lot of heavy festival food can be detrimental to your health. Exercise helps you stay healthy, flushes out toxins and improves blood circulation. You don't want to get sick during the festive season, do you?
Don't let the holidays stop you from exercising. An intensive workout of 75 minutes or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is recommended. Exercise after the festive season may seem like it will compensate for festive eating, but in fact, more effort and time are required to get rid of those unwanted calories.
If you can't hit the gym, take a walk. Go for a 10 to 20-minute stroll in the morning or at night.
At the end of the day, surviving this round of festivities comes down to the basics: Eat in moderation, eat a balanced diet and your 2+2 (two servings of fruits and two servings of veggies) every day while keeping up the physical activity. It’s the cleverest way to have a guilt-free festive season.