The holiday season is the best time of the year and after two years of having subdued celebrations due to the pandemic, this year, it’s even more special! People are travelling, socialising and getting back to normal life. Even so, there is a certain level of anxiety around the culinary part of the season. For many, over-eating or over-indulgence is the central part of the holiday season. This often leaves us feeling low as the season begins to wind down and we realise that the joy of those sinful chocolate-laden doughnuts and croissant and other Christmas goodies starts fading.
Many feel that a sense of vigilance about eating in moderation and overthinking simply takes away from the joy of celebrations. While I agree that it is quite impossible to keep sugar away completely, nobody is expecting you totally cut it out. Once in a while, we all want to simply let our hair down and indulge our sugar-pangs. Understandable during the holiday season – but we need to know that food is not your life, it is just a ‘part’ of your life.
To strike a balance, it’s important to know how to moderate your sugar consumption during the festive season. Here are a few tips that prove helpful in helping you manage your over-indulgence and help regulate your sugar intake:
Avoid Attending Parties On An Empty Stomach: If over-indulging in food and drink is your thing at parties or social gatherings, don’t starve yourself before the feast. Instead, before you step out, ensure you’ve eaten a nutritious snack, which is protein-rich, mixed with healthy fats. This reduces your cravings and the tendency to over-eat, and thus modulates your appetite, satiates you and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Another way to still enjoy the delicious holiday food while not overloading with sugar is to bring along a homemade dish that contains less sugar than some of the more traditional festive foods. You could opt for some low-carb sweet options like stevia or then opt for figs, jaggery, dates, organic honey or pitted prunes as alternatives to regular sugar. This will help in spreading knowledge about a healthy lifestyle! I always say, lifestyle changes are contagious!
What You Eat First And What You Eat Last Matters Greatly: The sequence in which you eat food can help manage your blood sugar and insulin levels. Starting your meal with veggies and proteins before eating the carbohydrates and sweets can lower your post-meal blood sugar levels. This way you don’t deprive yourself of those yummy carbs and sweets, while still being mindful simply by maintaining the sequence of the food consumed!
Slow Down, Scan And Make Mindful Choices: This season is all about fun and food – which makes it super tough to be mindful about what we eat, resulting in us over-eating and staying on a sugar-high, which usually ends in a crash, making us feel horrible when the party is over! Slow down and be a little vigilant around the table – choose wisely by opting for more proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs which make you feel better as opposed to those highly processed foods. When you slow down, you tend to eat less and be more satisfied!
Look For Healthier Dessert Options: Eating less sugar doesn’t mean NO SUGAR. You don’t have to miss out on all the incredible food offered during the festive season. There’s innumerable healthier (and tastier!) options that can help you maintain your health and also please your tastebuds. It’s difficult to do this when you are at someone else’s party but if you are the host, why not try this out? The internet is full of healthier swaps! You can try swapping a regular cheesecake for a healthier ricotta cheesecake or try a tiramisu with a twist – with chia, prunes and cacao nibs instead of refined sugar and cream. Another hack is you could try to squeeze in your dessert in the middle of the meal to avoid a sugar spike.
Don’t Stop, Keep Moving: It’s not easy to maintain a disciplined exercise regime during the holiday season – who wants to wake up early and go for a run after a late-night partying! Interesting to note that while we don’t do that, we don’t mind waking early for some crazy breakfast buffet timings, ha ha! Because food is life! While you don’t need to have a routine, you can always opt for an evening walk or a post-meal walk. How about opting to go on foot instead of wheels to add in more activity? It can be so rewarding to spend time outdoors with loved ones just enjoying your surroundings and getting in a bit of exercise. Dance extra at the party too!
Remember, it isn’t at all that difficult to manage your health during the holiday season. Do try and combine these hacks, and I guarantee – you will find it easier to not overindulge or completely deprive yourself during this festive time. And you will feel way better – mentally and physically!
Have a lovely holiday season!
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