Monday, 8 December 2014

Sticking to a healthy diet this Christmas season...

With Christmas less than 3 weeks away I can really feel this season’s festivities kicking in now. With work Christmas parties, drinks with old friends and more mulled wine and mince pies that you can shake a stick of tinsel at, it’s no wonder that most of say that we find it hard to eat healthy. Generally I am a really healthy person and try to eat as “clean” as possible without being extreme and still enjoying the cakes and cocktails in life.

I stumbled across this article from one of my favourite health websites – popsugar – so want to share with you that today! It is about eating clean but I think that these can easily be incorporated now to help reduce some of the unhealthy habits  of the Christmas season and I am hoping it will help me stick to the healthy way of life! I have added some of my own tips too (time will tell if I listen to my own advice!)

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Stop With Processed Food
One of the easiest ways to get started is to replace processed grub with natural, minimally processed ingredients. Not only are these options more nutritious, their flavors are also more satisfying. The occasional indulgence is absolutely necessary, but cleaning up your daily diet is one of the best moves you can make to ensure consistent weight loss. Opt for natural whole foods with ingredients you can pronounce!

Thinking about Christmas season… stick to this season’s whole foods, like turkey and roasted chestnuts over processed party foods like sausage rolls.

Eat More Produce
If you're not sure how to snack, always pick up some produce; fresh fruit and veggies will fill you up in a healthy way, and the fibre will keep you fuller, longer. Just like we've got to retrain our taste buds to stop with the salt and sugar, you'll find that your body will beg for produce once you start eating it consistently. These are the cravings we welcome with open arms.

Thinking about Christmas season… stock up on fruit as snacks (the classic Christmas clementine anyone?) Try to avoid snacking on crisps and biccies and go for veg sticks and hummus dips.

Skip the Added Sugars
If your taste buds have been overloaded by sugar in the past, it's high time to clean things up. Natural sugar from fruit is what you're looking for on a clean-eating plan; the white sugar that goes into baked goods is not. And even if you're not a dessert junkie, you might be shocked at some of the everyday foods like bread and yogurt that pile on the sugar! Start being fastidious about reading labels and skipping added sugars whenever possible.

Thinking about Christmas season… satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit or even better make some homemade healthy sweet treats that are low in unrefined sugar. Check my blog pages out for ideas!

Learn to Look For Salt
Learning to relish the natural flavors of what you're eating can be a big adjustment if you're taking on a clean-eating plan — and salt is one of the ingredients that manages to sneak its way into strange foods like cottage cheese, bread, and cereal. As you start to exile processed or prepackaged foods from your life, you won't have to be as concerned about high-sodium products, but continue to keep your table-salt sprinkles to a minimum to beat bloat and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and more.

Thinking about Christmas… when umming and arghing what to eat, aim to stick to things that are natural as processed food is full of salt.

Cut Back on Caffeine
One cup of high-quality coffee is approved on most clean-eating plans but it's important to keep caffeinated beverages to a minimum. Too much coffee can mess with your energy and anxiety levels and undo all the hard work you're putting in with your healthy food choices. If you must, sub in your second cup for green tea to stay on course.

Thinking about Christmas… avoid caffeine after 4pm and try to switch to green tea . For added antioxidants, go for matcha green tea – see my review here.

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Go Whole Grain
Refined grains are one of those sneaky products that always find a way into a grocery cart. It's integral to look for real whole-grain products. Advertisers simply saying that a loaf of bread is multigrain or organic doesn't make it a clean food since many of these items are comprised of refined flour. Real whole grains will aid in healthy digestion while cutting back on belly bloat.

Thinking about Christmas… when you are not eating out and snacking on canapés, then make sure you’re eating healthy whole grains. Think filling up on porridge in the morning and mixing cooked quinoa or brown rice into your dishes.

Seriously . . . Read the Label
The nutritional info on labels is some of the best defense against culprits that hinder clean-eating success. A low-calorie number is always great to see, but knowing to look for crazy amounts of sodium, trans or saturated fat, or ingredients you simply can't pronounce will help you make the shift toward healthier choices — and understand why you're doing so!

Thinking about Christmas… if you’re unsure how healthy something is read the label first. Some foods are obviously not idea for us, but often “health” foods are not what they seem. Anything under 3g fat per 100g is officially low fat and ideally you don’t want to be eating more than 25g sugar a day. 

Please leave any other tips you have! 

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