How to Avoid Holiday Food Coma

If you are like most people, you go into the holiday season thinking “I will just eat whatever I want now, and then really buckle down to get healthier in January.”  But... why wait?  If you step back and think about it, if you take control now you can save yourself an extra few pounds and have less work to do later.  Seems to make sense, right?  Don’t worry; I’m not suggesting that you deprive yourself of the most prominent food holidays of the year, just that you simply be mindful.  So how do you get through the holidays without going into a food coma? 

Great question!  I am going to share with you some easy tricks that will get you well on your way to a healthier you, even during the holiday season.  Who wouldn’t want that!   Are you ready?

·       Fill up your plate and only eat the food that you have put on it.  Avoid picking and snacking directly from the dish, box, or bag.  When you pick at foods that aren’t on your plate, you lose track of how much you are eating.

·       Check your hunger.  Are you actually hungry or are you experiencing emotional hunger?  True hunger can be tied to a sensation, such as your stomach growling, or lightheadedness.  Emotional hunger is triggered by an emotion such as stress or boredom.  Honor your hunger and your body by eating when you are truly hungry.

·       Practice the 80% rule.  To avoid overeating, eat until you are 80% full.  Fair warning; this is easier said than done.  So slow down, because it takes your body 20 minutes to recognize that you are eating, making it extremely difficult to realize that you have overeaten until its too late.  Yikes, so how do you slow down?  Put your fork down between bites, listen to your mother and chew your food, engage in conversations during dinner and drink water throughout your meal.

·       Start your day off right with a balanced breakfast which includes protein.  Studies have proven that if you start your day off with a solid, healthy breakfast you will make healthier choices throughout the rest of the day.

·       Eat enough whole fresh food to satisfy your appetite.  Your body will be less hungry, and your cravings will be reduced because you are nourished.  Did you know that only 12% of Americans consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day?  Shocking right?  That means that the remaining 78% of the American population is under-nourished.

·       Make low-glycemic foods a staple in your diet.  This will help keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day and help you to avoid the inevitable sugar crash that comes from food which quickly converts. 

·       Include healthy fats in every meal.  Fats are essential for brain health, make them your friend, not your enemy. 

·       Be mindful of meal timing, eat your last meal three hours before you go to bed to give your system time to digest before sleep.  This will also improve your sleeping.

With that being said, enjoy the holiday season.  However, be mindful of what you put into your body and don’t over-do it with the pumpkin pie.

Amie Dutka, Health Coach