Ah, the New Year! Reconnecting with family, celebrating with friends, and – sometimes - eating and drinking ourselves merry.
Ho, ho…hold on!
Overindulging is more the rule than the exception at this time of year. The repercussions of weeks of unhealthy eating are about more than just added pounds. At this stage of the game, veering from your usual nutritional regimen can seriously impact your health.
Here are some healthy New Years tips to maximize your enjoyment of the season - and the months to come.
Stick to Your Schedule
New Year festivities may include late night meals. If you are not used to eating later in the evening, it may be hard for your body to adjust. Heavy food before bed can disrupt both digestion and sleep. Your best bet is to stick to your regular dinner schedule and maybe grab a light nosh at the party.
The Best Defense: Fruits and Veggies
Before you head out to celebrate, enjoy a snack of fresh fruits or vegetables. This may fill you up enough to reduce the urge to inhale the buffet. Even if you indulge in a little holiday cheer, you will have already consumed the important nutrients. It’s a win/win.
Take it Slow
Speeding through a plate of rich foods is a roadmap to indigestion. Instead of finishing in record time, linger over a plate for at least 20 minutes. Not only will you feel better, but chances are you will eat less. Eating more slowly is a great way to reduce caloric intake without feeling deprived. Take it a step further and grab a smaller plate. It will look full and satisfying – with less food. More cheerful than a big plate half empty!
Flat or Sparkling?
New Years drinks? Bah humbug! Specialty drinks, hot and cold, though sinfully delicious are loaded with carbs and calories. Avoid the extra unwanted sugar by filling up a glass with good old H2O. Sparkling or flat, a glass of water allows you to raise a glass with everybody while hydrating your cells and keeping your sugar levels in check. Cheers!
Salt May Not Be Your Friend
During the new year, you will be surrounded by food that is not part of your daily dietary routine. This makes it difficult to control your salt intake. If you are heading out to dinner, check out the menu online. Many restaurants offer nutritional facts on their websites and you will have a better idea of how much sodium you are consuming. Your heart will thank you.
A Little Sweet Goes a Long Way
‘Tis the season for sweets. Maintaining sensible nutrition means paying attention to what goes into your body. It does not mean torturing yourself when you are salivating over your friend’s divine homemade brownies. It’s all about choices. If you’ve got your eye on that special treat, skip the bread or appetizers to save room. That said, if you receive a plate of brownies, how about freezing them and portioning them out over time? Better yet, remove the temptation altogether by distributing them to friends. You will get a lot of, well…brownie points!
Maintaining New Years nutrition can be a challenge but the rewards to your long-term health and wellbeing are worth it.