With all the travelling and celebrations, my usual routine also gets thrown out the window, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Holiday season is not the time I look to get fit or healthy. Equally, I’m not looking to completely give up on my health either. With preplanning, I think it’s possible to relax, indulge and enjoy all the eating festivities without feeling out of control. So, I want to share with you some strategies I use to approach the holiday buffet!
Course 1: Loading up on leafy greens. Do you know that food weight (not calories) determines how full you feel? You will feel just as full eating 300g of salad or 300g of pastry. Why?? While 300g of pastry is very calorie dense, it will not keep you full for very long. This is because pastry is made with highly processed flour that your body can digest quickly. On the other hand, 300g of vegetables, while lower in calories, are full of fibers and will make you full right away. So, I load up my first course with vegetables that also have the added benefits of vitamins, minerals, and fibers my body needs as well.
Course 2: Loading up on protein. Protein takes longer for the body to digest so it helps you stay full for longer. This means I’m less likely to be scouring for snacks a few hours after the buffet.
Course 3: Eating my sweets after my vegetables and protein. I have a sweet tooth and while I don’t believe in abstaining from sweet things, I believe there is such a thing as “a good time to have sweets”. When you eat sweets on an empty stomach, your body can quickly break it down into simple glucose. Glucose in blood is your body’s main source of energy. The glucose that isn’t needed to fuel your body right away gets stored as fat. Vegetables and protein take longer for the body to digest, so when you eat sweets after the main meals, protein and fibers you have just had will slow down the glucose absorption blunting the effect of fat storage.
Remember there’s no need to be extreme on either end, after all what’s Christmas if you can’t leave the table slightly bloated.