With the holidays approaching, I always get questions about how to avoid packing on the pounds when our offices, homes, parties and stores are full of tempting, delectable treats. I, for one, am a huge sucker for my grandma’s fresh-baked rolls and chocolate chip cookies made with our new Equal Exchange chocolate chips.
Good news: you can still enjoy your favorite treats this holiday season. But, if you want to minimize weight gain and maintain overall health, it is important to be aware and attuned to your other habits during the holiday season. Check out my tips:
Do not skip meals. Even if you scarfed down six cookies from the lunch room table at 11 a.m., you should still eat a balanced lunch with protein and vegetables. Sugar jolts our blood sugar through the roof, and then drops it rapidly leaving us feeling hungry and moody. Eating a balanced lunch or dinner before or after a sugar binge can help to slow down that blood sugar drop and avoid another round of dessert binging later in the day. (Even better, try to spread out your six cookie consumption over a few days!)
Eat breakfast. Breakfast is super important, even if you ate a lot at a holiday party the night before. Breakfast jolts your metabolism out of its night-time energy efficient mode. Here are some easy, healthy breakfast ideas:
- Try an Equal Exchange banana and a handful of Equal Exchange almonds (15 almonds = 1 serving).
- Smear a piece of whole grain toast with an Equal Exchange avocado and top with a poached egg.
- Soak oats overnight with an Equal Exchange banana or a handful of Equal Exchange dried apricots, raisons, pineapple or mango and almonds.
Be active! Although weight loss and maintenance is 80% nutrition, exercise is super important to help burn off excess calories, keep spirits high, and stay motivated. Plan active family outings, or find an exercise buddy to help you stay motivated through the holiday season. Even 10 minutes of activity can help you feel refreshed and change your mindset.
Create tasty treats with a healthy twist. There is something to eating treats and family favorites during the holidays. Sometimes, though, we can substitute in healthier options without anyone even noticing! See how attune your family is by trying these ideas:
- Replace 1 cup sugar with 1 mashed Equal Exchange banana and a few tablespoons water in a recipe to cut calories and add fiber.
- Substitute butter with an Equal Exchange avocado 1:1 (ex: 1 cup butter = 1 cup avocado)
- Serve one-ingredient banana ice cream instead of regular ice cream.
- Create an alternative chocolate pudding with avocados, bananas and baking cocoa.
- Substitute cheese on a pizza with easy homemade cashew cheese.
By including Equal Exchange products in your holiday celebrations, you are not only doing better for your body and the environment, but you are also supporting small-scale farmer co-operatives around the world. Now that is a true cause for celebration!
Share your favorite holiday healthy eating tips with us in the comments.