5 Ways To Eat Healthy This Holiday
Yes, you know that from a nutritional standpoint, water is the drink of choice (over high calorie sodas and sugar-laden liquids). But the allure of a zero calorie sweet beverage midday can be difficult to pass up. Jeffrey Morrison, MD, founder of The Morrison Center in New York City, says not giving into these drinks are a must, as there's ample research that suggests that even those laced with artificial sweeteners (the reason they can be calorie-free), can actually increase appetite. As in, when you put it down, you may want to pick up more food. Also, aim to eat a few servings of water-rich foods such as celery, carrots, cucumbers and watermelon daily, which keep you hydrated—as well as feeling fuller for longer.
2) DO NOT EAT FRUIT WITH ABANDON
When you're on the go, picking up a fruit bowl (over, say, a bag of Twizzlers) is without a doubt a healthier option, however, some fruits are laced with sky high amounts (albeit natural) of sugar. "Choose low glycemic fruits and organic vegetables, to get the amazing nutritional benefits of fruits—antioxidants, fiber, minerals, etc.—without excess sugar," says Dr. Morrison. The sweetest kinds include bananas, oranges, mango, pineapple and grapes. So, as much as possible, opt for those that contain far less sugar instead—apples, pears, berries. And always skip drinking your fruit—at the juice bar or off the supermarket shelf—as it could just be a cocktail of super sugary fruit. "In the past there was a perception that if you juiced, you'd be consuming less sugar than eating the fruit whole, but that's not true," says Dr. Morrison. And Lauren Slayton, RD, a registered dietitian at Food Trainers in NYC says to go green. "A 12 oz. green juice that has all veggies and just one fruit in it for sweetness will only have around 80 calories and 8 grams of sugar, while the same size OJ is about 167 calories and 31 grams of sugar." Want one to try? We love Juice Generation Supa Dupa Greens, (for 6), juicegeneration.com.
3) CHOOSE YOUR MEAT (AND POULTRY. AND FISH.) WISELY
"Eating lean grass fed beef or wild salmon over those that are given grains such as wheat or barley and corn, have more of a nutritional bang, and are less inflammatory," says. Dr. Morrison. "That's because those items are not a natural part of the animal's diet and therefore they tend to make higher inflammatory fats such as omega 6 fatty acids, unlike grass seeds and insects which causes them to create healthier omega 3 fatty acids." Slayton says that you'll also save on calories and fat. "For a 6 oz. burger or steak you'll cut out about 60 calories and 8 grams of fat by switching from regular to grass fed meat," she says. And if given the choice of chicken or shrimp in your salad, request the latter. "Shrimp has about half the calories of chicken, plus some of the omega 3's in shrimp, while minimal, have an added health benefit," says Slayton.
4) REVAMP YOUR SALAD
Just because it's in the form of lettuce and not a plate of pasta, doesn't mean that your go-to lunch can't be a vehicle for delivering high amounts of fat and excessuve calories, too. The worst culprit: salad dressing. "They're often loaded with sugar," says Dr. Morrison, who notes that if you make your own with a little EVOO, vinegar and some lemon, you could be saving upwards of 300 calories. Slayton suggests toning down the amount of add-ons you pile on at the salad bar as well. "A seemingly harmless salad with goat cheese walnuts and avocado can add about 500 calories to a salad," she says. "Stick to one of these 'treat' ingredients only—a quarter of an avocado is about 114 calories and a few spoonfuls of goat cheese around 200 calories." And what you should include more of? Nutritional powerhouses that are also low-cal and contain low levels of fat such as colorful veggies like carrots, peppers and tomatoes.
5) ORDER A MARTINI OVER A PINOT NOIR
While the heart and overall live-longer health benefits of resveratrol, the powerful antioxidant found in red wine has been scientifically validated, when it comes to watching your waist, vino is not the best option. "Always stick to clear alcohol when you want to consume fewer calories," says Dr. Morrison. "Choose a vodka soda over beer or wine." Plus, because wine naturally has a high amount of sugar, it also acts as a gateway to dessert cravings. "What we see is that when people drink wine, sugar cravings go way up but less so when they drink less sugary alchoholic drinks," he says. Cheers to that.
Video: How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays
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