1. Lean on protein. Lean protein is your friend all year long, but especially during the holidays. It fills you up for hours on end, which helps you avoid snacking on all the goodies at the office and the mall. In addition, it helps you build lean muscle mass—and the greater muscle mass our bodies have, the more calories we burn overall, which makes lean protein an essential part of weight loss and maintenance. Opt for eggs, chicken, turkey and seafood such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. Vegetarians can load up on beans, lentils, tofu or quinoa.
2. Load up on fiber. Like protein, fiber helps to fill us up and promotes healthy digestion. Snack on vegetables as much as possible during the holidays.
3. Never go anywhere hungry. If you know you’re going to be facing temptation, whether it’s at the mall or a holiday party, have a healthy snack or meal before you go. Definitely don’t skip meals this time of year so that you can eat more at an event—chances are you will significantly overeat, if not binge, if you hit a tempting spread on an empty stomach. Plus, your metabolism will slow down when you skip meals, which means it will burn less calories overall.
4. Slow down. Eat slowly so that your stomach has more time to signal your brain that it’s full. Savoring each bite will help ensure that you don’t overeat.
5. Ease up on the white foods. Simple carbs can be your worst enemy during the holidays—and “white” foods made with refined flour and sugars are loaded with them, in addition to empty calories. Foods loaded with simple carbs are metabolized much more quickly than the healthier complex kind, which causes our blood sugar levels to spike and crash. Pick and choose your treats wisely—skip the bread and pasta, but if you must have a treat, make it one of your favorite holiday cookies or other treats, and limit it to one or two.
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