Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies

Holiday season is practically here and who doesn’t need a little reminder on how to keep up good eating habits at this time of year?

November 14, 2012

Holiday season is practically here and who doesn’t need a little reminder on how to keep up good eating habits around this time of year? Some helpful information from Pistachio Health got SupermarketGuru thinking, here’s what they had to say and more.
 
Preliminary research published in the journal Appetite, suggests that consuming in-shell pistachios may offer unique mindful eating benefits to help curb consumption and decrease calorie intake, without feeling deprived. One study found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed shelled pistachios. Another study also revealed that discarded pistachio shells may provide important "visual cues" that translate into reduced calorie consumption. So what’s at work here? First off eating in-shell pistachios makes you “work for your food”, slowing you down, and also leaves a trail and “evidence” of what you’ve consumed.
 
What other foods can help us be more mindful about how much we consume, and slow us down due to the “inherent roadblocks”? Think peanuts in the shell, hard-boiled eggs still in the shell, cherries (because they have pits), meat that is on the bone – i.e. lamb chops or the chicken leg, shrimp with tails or shell, and more. Providing these types of foods at holiday parties, or choosing these if they are on the menu will help you manage your portion sizes.
 
What else should you think about this holiday season? Eat slower! Take smaller bites and chew thoroughly. Taking the time to eat allows you to have a greater appreciation for the taste of your food (especially the delicious holiday foods we only have once a year!) In fact you can actually taste and enjoy what you are eating, which in turn may lead to making healthier food choices because of this awareness. Eating slower will also help you to stop eating when you are actually full. The brain doesn’t register how full we are immediately so we usually end up overeating before we even know it. Realize that digestion begins in the mouth. The more time you spend chewing each bite, the better your body can digest all of the wonderful nutritious components of the meal.
 
Think quality. Many of us focus on calories, when the focus should be on quality – quality fruits, vegetables, meats, and the oils used to cook them all factor in to how well nourished we are and of course if these things taste better we feel satisfied. Choose nutrient dense colorful foods when planning holiday meals or deciding what to taste.
 
Holiday parties are usually at night but it’s important to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast, especially one that is protein rich, sets you up for healthier habits all day long and keeps you satisfied and not reaching for sugary snacks.
 
Use smaller plates and cups. Swap your dinner plate for the salad plate during the main meal and try filling up the dinner plate with salad - a great rule of thumb is to try and get three times as many veggies (preferably non-starchy ones) as meat or protein. If you’re at a holiday party, stick to the small appetizer plate.
 
These are just a few of SupermarketGuru’s suggestions on healthy holiday eating. Enjoy!
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