Let’s face it, the lead up to Christmas and New Years was likely filled with desserts, large dinners and an abundance of wine. It’s the same every year, isn’t it?
So, the reality is you’ve probably begun 2017 feeling less than healthy, but how can you get yourself back into shape, especially with Mardi Gras parties on the horizon?
The great thing about parades is that they don’t lend themselves to large meals; avoid the Popeye’s and you’re halfway there! Here are some more ideas on how you can kick start the new year and stick to a healthier lifestyle plan.
Choose Colorful Veggies
When you think about vegetables, do you instantly associate them with being boring and bland? There’s really no need. If you choose colorful veggies you instantly brighten up your plate and benefit from a range of health benefits.
For example, dark green vegetables like spinach are much higher in iron and fiber than many lighter colored vegetables, and so they fill you for longer and help in the absorption of other vitamins.
Bring a veggie tray filled with vibrant colors such as tomatoes, yellow peppers, broccoli and beetroot with hummus dip to the neutral ground (or sidewalk, we don’t judge!) for an instantly more appealing and filling snack.
Opt for Whole Grains
Have you heard the term ‘slow releasing energy’ before? If not, it refers to the way our bodies absorb carbohydrates.
Whole grains contain slow releasing energy which means our bodies take longer to absorb the goodness, leading to a long lasting satisfaction and fullness. They are also lower in calories than the refined alternatives.
You can make basic substitutions to achieve a whole grain diet. For example, swap white flour for whole grain when baking, or switch the Leidenheimer for a whole grain loaf when making your poboys.
Prep Healthy Snacks in Advance
Preparation is key to a healthy diet and lifestyle. If there aren’t healthy snacks around, you’re more likely to attack that king cake your mother brought over ‘for the kids.’
Make sure you load your pantry with things like almonds, dark chocolate, carrot sticks or cucumber slices with hummus dip, dried cranberries, fruit salad – there are so many options.
Keep them on hand so that they are your first option when your stomach is growling.
Track What Foods You Eat
Our memories can be unreliable when it comes to recalling what we’ve eaten.
So, keep a food diary and track what’s going into your body daily. This helps keep you in control and means you can adjust or address any bad habits that you notice.
For example, if your food tracker indicates you’re hitting the king cake when you get home from work, try to make an adjustment such as a healthy mid-afternoon snack.
Calorie tracking also gives you an idea of how much weight you should be losing based on your intake and outtake.
Always Eat Breakfast
Consider breakfast as ‘a break from the fast’. The fast refers to the long sleep you’ve just had where your body has gone into starvation mode. It needs replenishing in order to function optimally.
Breakfast serves two purposes. It gives you the micro and macro nutrients you need for the day and it keeps you full until lunch, making you less likely to crave an unhealthy snack mid-morning.
Some excellent breakfast ideas are scrambled eggs (eggs are a good source of protein), porridge oats with sliced banana (oats are slow releasing while banana is high in potassium) or a veggie omelette.
It doesn’t matter if you had a particularly heavy Christmas and New Years. While you may be feeling sluggish or bigger than usual, there are simple, effective diet and lifestyle changes you can make to boost your weight loss and increase your health for 2017.