We all overdo it at the holidays. The sheer amount of food constantly available to you and the frequency by which you’re exposed to it during December usually means you end up feeling a little rough by the time January comes around. While we’d all like to think we can just flip a switch and become very virtuous eaters, the reality is going from cookies every day to no cookies ever can be a real shock to your system, one that might deter you from keeping up with your goals.
Here are some easy ways to get back on a healthier path that won’t make you want to fall off the wagon.
Limit White Foods (except Cauliflower And Beans)
Generally, if a food is white (parsnips, cauliflower, and beans aside), it means it’s likely processed. If you can limit these types of foods to small portions at specific intervals of the week (for instance, a small bowl of chips while you watch a movie) you can still feel like you’re not depriving yourself, but you can give your body a break from the trouble zones of excess sugar, salt, and starch
Consider Starch Swaps
Potatoes taste good. Biscuits taste good. Basically anything high in starch tastes good, but can also be a zone of low nutrition and high calories (and often come with high fat accompaniments.) If you’re roasting a chicken, instead of putting potatoes in the bottom of the pan, try a mix of chickpeas and cauliflower. YOu’ll get great crunch, interesting textures, and both deliver high fiber and nutrients while picking up the chicken flavors easily.
If you want to get really healthy, consider making zucchini noodles. You will need a special peeler or a spiralizer, but you can make “noodles” out of various vegetables to replace high starch white pasta. This can help you fill up with nutrient dense vegetables and not empty calories.
Add Protein To Fruit To Calm Sweet Cravings
If you have a sweet tooth, consider fruits which deliver a high fiber content, and pair them with yogurt, low fat cheese, or anything higher in protein. This helps you calm the craving but fills you up at the same time. A great one to try is pomegranate seeds on greek yogurt. The crunch, sweetness and tang can really help you beat that ravenous sweet feeling.
Replace Salty Snacks With Vegetables
If you’ve never made Kale chips, now is the time to try them. Remove the stems from fresh kale, and rip into bite sized pieces. Rub the kale with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and any other seasoning you happen to like (popular ones include paprika, garlic powder or curry) and place them in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes on a sheet pan, turning the pan once during cooking. Let the chips rest on paper towel and consume. They are delicious and packed with nutrition and a great crispy snap that satisfies.
Getting back to your health goals doesn’t have to be a chore. If you swap out low nutritive value choices for high nutrient choices, you can realize your path back to a better you in 2016.
Happy New Year,