Christmas time approaches, and with it, all those niiiice looong meals with our loved ones, it is a good time to go through a few tips that work well when it comes to eating healthier without having to do a huge efforts or feel you are forever living on “a diet”.
- Buy healthy, eat healthy
This is something that works well for me, especially after having read a bit about nutrition and being more aware of what choices will benefit me the best. The moment when we are buying the food in the supermarket is actually crucial. Whatever we buy, we will eat at home. So it is in our hands to go healthy or not, right there.
Basically, this simply consists of going for the healthier and natural choices as much as possible. Looking at the % of saturates in the label and avoid processed food, choosing cleaner alternatives instead. If you are feeling your cleaner choices are boring, don’t be afraid to prize yourself with the healthier version of some of your favourite treats.
For instance, I looove kievs. They are cheap and sooo tasty, but actually the processed ones are made of like 40% of saturated ingredients! It was a sad time when I discovered that 😦 I can still have them occasionally, but more often than not, I would opt for other of my fav treats, such as fresh salmon – even if I have to pay double the price, it is a long-term benefit for my body, and I enjoy it the same 🙂
It is also good to avoid food shopping when hungry, so you we are less likely to fall into temptation. Buying online also helps to stick to the “right” list – not the cheeky one!
- Eat slowly
This might be a bit difficult to do when we are very hungry, but it is actually very helpful. I tend to eat very fast, especially if I am starving by lunch/dinner time, but that means that I don’t give time for my brain to actually process the arrival of food into my stomach, and therefore, by the time the signals have been sent down to my belly (stomach-full, all-good, stop eating!), I have easily eaten almost double the calories I actually needed.
It is said that it takes around 15-20 minutes for the brain to process the food and the stomach to start feeling satisfied, so it is worth taking it easy at least during that time-frame. If after that time we are still hungry, we can eat a bit more, this is not about being hungry or punishing ourselves… But more often than not, it is true that giving our stomach enough time to process the food, allows us to feel full and satisfied with the right amount of food.
- Balance it out
Don’t beat yourself up with you had a big fatty meal, there is always more chances to go back to balance. As nutritionist Pilar Senpau mentioned in her book, anxiety doesn’t help to lose weight, so give yourself a break.
You ate like a pig at lunch? No problem, eat dinner like a bird. This is similar to the Weight Watchers approach, which I actually really like. It is all about awareness and common sense. It doesn’t mean you cannot over-eat at some point (you might certainly do this Xmas!), as long as you stay balanced and take care of your body with lighter meals later on.
- Snack healthier
Choosing healthier choices for snacking moments is also a good tip, as those bites are normally more impulsive than the well planned lunch/dinner.
For instance, I love tiramisus, but the label of the package is not very inspiring when it comes to natural ingredients. So, if I feel like it, I’d go for a healthier option. Because that was not my first choice (I actually was excited about a tiramisu), I allow myself to get a treat for the sake of me enjoying the healthier option. So I happily can buy all sorts of berries and a creamy natural Greek yogurt, just to prize myself and look forward to eating it. Switch to a healthier mindset, and use your imagination!
- Control those portions
Cutting down the portions or, in other words, eating the right portions for our body, is also a good way of keeping our weight on track. It is widely known that over the last few decades, we have increased our food portions – but very often, that is completely unnecessary and only leads to too many calories ingested, which are then turned into fat due to lack of burning.
Eating slowly helps here too, because we will realise that we actually feel okay with the right portions. Plus, the benefit of this is that you don’t need to follow a “diet”, simply eat what appeals to you, just using common sense.
If you are not sure what the “right” portion for you is, have a look at the Hand Diet – it has an interesting approach where portions are based on your hand size – 100% personalised!