Everyone, and I mean everyone has a hard time being healthy during this time of year, there’s no way around that. We are surrounded by good food everywhere!
I’m not going to lecture you on how to say no to every cookie you come in contact with, that would be cruel. I don’t want you to cut out sweets or any other food that tempts you this season. I say yes to the food! But unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world where we can eat everything and anything in sight without experiencing some sort of consequence. Ergo, a plan of action is in order.
I was talking to my mom earlier this week and she was telling me how the holidays are the worst time for her health, she works all year to lose weight and then come December she gains it all back. This can be really frustrating, especially since it comes only once a year so you don’t want to miss out on any goodies. However I, like my mom, hate feeling guilty and groggy all season long. Most of the time that 5th cookie isn't worth it and when I’m not exercising, my body is tired and sluggish.
This got me thinking that this year I want to be better.
No diets, nothing that will ruin the joys of the holiday season, but I want to create goals for myself so that I don’t have the “I ate too much” stomach ache all season long. I’m going to make 3 simple goals to keep me on track during this busy time of year. I challenge you to do the same! Whether it’s finding time to exercise for 30 minutes each day before chowing down, limiting yourself to trying just 1 of every cookie rather than 5, or simply maintaining your current weight through the holidays.
You decide what’s best for you!
Here are my holiday goals:
Try to eat a variety of non-cooked and cooked foods. Certain nutrients are enhanced during cooking while others are diminished. Cooking foods also protects us from harmful bacteria. For those foods you aren't cooking, be sure to wash them thoroughly.
As a general rule, try to minimize the amount of time, heat, water and air you expose to vegetables and fruits. Certain nutrients are sensitive to high heat and long cooking times and can seep out of vegetables and fruit into water which are lost by pouring them down the drain. Additionally, once produce is cut or peeled, nutrient breakdown begins to occur. To ensure you’re getting the most nutrients out of your vegetables and fruit follow these healthy cooking practices:
For more Nutrition help click HERE.
Many people believe that food products with the term "Natural" on the label mean they are healthy. Sadly, this is not the case. The term "Natural" doesn't have a legal definition set by the FDA. They say they don't, "[object] to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances."
A recent Consumer Report Survey found that 66% of people think, "...[natural] means a processed food has no artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms..."
Don't be fooled by food companies who slap "Natural" on a processed food and try to pass it off as a healthy food. Read the nutrition facts and ingredients to find out what's really in the food. And when in doubt, stick with actual "Natural" foods like whole vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
Want more nutrition tips? Click HERE
The best way to ensure you are getting the most nutrients possible is to eat vegetables and fruits as close to coming off the vine or branch as possible. So be sure to take advantage of any local, fresh vegetables and fruits in your area!
The longer vegetables and fruits are off the vine or branch the more breakdown of nutrients occur. While buying fresh produce at the grocery store is good, this produce is often picked weeks earlier in another state or country meaning it’s been sitting for weeks of the vine or branch and is constantly losing more and more nutrients. For this reason planting your own produce or buying from a local farmer or farmer’s market is the best way to ensure it’s fresh and has the most nutrients possible.
Fresh then frozen, then dried, canned and juice last
Fresh is best followed by frozen which is actually a great alternative to fresh. This is especially true when a vegetable or fruit is out of season. Because of the way produce is frozen, minimal nutrients are actually lost in the process (make sure there is no added sugar). Dried fruit with no added sugar comes in third followed by dried fruit with added sugar. Next are canned vegetables and fruits because they usually have added sugar and salt. And in last place is juice, which actually counts towards your 10% of unhealthy food. To recap, the hierarchy for vegetables and fruits goes like this: fresh off the branch or vine, then frozen, dried, canned and juice.
Want to learn more about eating healthy? Click HERE.
Should you be avoiding legumes, fruit, dairy, wheat or other grains?
In short, no.
A lot of popular diets today single out one or more particular food groups and demonize them. And they then become the new scapegoat. Whether it’s wheat, dairy, grains, legumes, fruit, fat or something else, these fad diets obsess over one or more foods.
Truthfully, they are misguided. But what’s worse, they are scientifically wrong.
The result? It sends us all barking up the wrong tree and jumping from one fad to the next. But eventually we always end up right back where we started, confused and still unhealthy. For this reason, statistically speaking you are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and beat it, than you are to lose weight and keep it off. Diets don’t work long-term. Repeat after me. Diets don’t work long-term. Any diet can and will work in the short-term, but we've all seen that they don’t last. And the research has shown us this time and time again.
Here at LifestyleHealth12 we have developed plans to help you accomplish your health goals, these are most definitely not a fad diet or quick fix.
We are the ANTI-QUICK FIX.
Our plans don't single out any one food group for the entire population because the collective research doesn’t say to do so. The obvious exception is for those who have a legitimate food allergy or sensitivity to a certain food(s). They would be wise to avoid them. But these people are the exception, not the rule. For the rest of us, yes you can find a study here or there to support any fad diet you want. But in research it's important to look at the collective science. If you want to see the plans we've created, go HERE.
When it comes to produce, fresh right off the branch or vine is always the best. But if produce is out of season as it is for so many right now, frozen produce is actually a great alternative.
Because of the way produce is processed and frozen, minimal nutrients are actually lost in the process. And unlike fresh produce, as long as the produce remains frozen the nutrients are locked in and remain constant. This makes frozen produce sometimes more nutritious than what you may find in the produce section of the grocery store. Just make sure there is no added sugar and you're good to go! For more Nutrition tips click HERE!
Many think since juice is “natural” it is healthy. But a cup of juice can have as much or more calories than a cup of soda, is absorbed quickly (spiking your blood sugar levels…this is bad!) and has often been stripped of the fiber and other nutrients.
It is always better to eat the fruit or vegetable instead of drinking the juice. Actually chewing and digesting food slows down the digestion and absorption process allowing for more stable insulin and hormone levels.
Additionally, liquid calories go down fast, can carry a lot of calories, but fail to fill you up. If you would still prefer to not eat the food, try blending instead of juicing.
Want more Nutrition tips? Check out our program HERE
About the Author
LifestyleHealth12 was developed by Rich Millar (MPH, CPT) who received his Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics and his Master’s Degree in Public Health and has over 15 years of experience in nutrition consulting, personal training, health coaching, employee wellness, and Health Care Administration.