Faced with all the festive goodies and yummy treats, it is easy to lose control and overindulge in your favourite foods at parties and dinner celebrations. Want to know how to keep on track with your healthy habits and avoid overeating this Lunar New Year? Here are some helpful tips.
WORDS SAMANTHA TAN
With Lunar New Year just around the corner, you know what this means – countless parties to attend, get-togethers to plan and meals to prepare, delicious calorie-laden food is everywhere. Not to fret, while those diet plans are on hold, here are some strategies to keep you from falling too much off the scale this year.
1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Store leftover foods in the freezer so that you would not be tempted to have them as a midnight snack as it is more troublesome to defrost the food before eating. If you are at a party, grab a plate of food and then quickly move away from it. By doing this, you will be less likely to nibble mindlessly on party snacks. Focus instead on having a conversation with the people around you.
2. Sample Only the Special Stuff
It goes without saying that there is a huge difference between store-bought cake and special home-made cookies that your relatives only make once a year for the festive period. So why not give that generic cake a miss? After all, you can have cake at any time of the year. Trust us, your waistline will thank you.
3. Try and Eat Healthy MOST of the Time
Try and make healthy low-calories choices if possible so that you do not waste them. If you need a snack while watching television at home, grab a healthy snack like an apple or yoghurt. Eat more fruits and veggies as they are high in fibre, rich in nutrients, and low in calories.
At the start of each meal, try and fill at least half of your plate with
fruits and veggies. Even if filling up on more healthy food does not stop
you from overeating, at least you get some good nutrients too!
4. Eat What You Love
Do not waste calories on cookies and junk food that you do not like just because they are sitting there or someone is eating them. You want to save your calories for special foods.
5. Mind Your Portions
The key word here is portion control. Instead of banning your favourite unhealthy foods totally, you can still enjoy them and do not even have to have tiny portions. Instead, eat larger portions of healthy food and pair them with smaller portions of the unhealthier choice. Research has also shown that the first few bites of a food are the most satisfying, hence there is no need to go on an all-out binge. Savouring a reasonable yet rewarding amount of your favourite food should be enough to satisfy your craving.
6. Limit Liquid Calories
When eating, also take note of what you are drinking. When we drink our calories, be it in the form of a sweet beverage or an alcoholic drink, it is difficult for us to register fullness and we often end up consuming more calories than intended. If you feel like drinking orange juice, eat an orange instead. Also, steer clear of empty soda calories – choose seltzer or water instead. Additionally, many alcoholic drinks tend to be rather high in calories and drinking decreases our resistance to food temptations. It is not to say that you absolutely cannot have a glass of red wine to pair with a delicious steak, but do drink in moderation and definitely not on an empty stomach. Sometimes, being dehydrated could be mistaken for hunger signals. Drinking water throughout the day will help to prevent this potential signal cross.
7. Keep Up the Exercise Routine
While you might be tempted to slack off on your exercise routine over the festive period, don’t. If you can, choose an exercise routine that you enjoy so that you will be more likely to stick to it. Keep up your weekly yoga sessions or any other exercise classes that you might have.
8. Eat Slowly and Wait on Seconds
The brain takes about 20 minutes to register the feeling of fullness. Eating too quickly can override these signals, causing you to eat more than what you would naturally eat. Slowing down your eating speed will give time for your brain to send the signals to tell you that you are full.
The best way to do this is to keep an eye on the clock and chew
your food thoroughly. This way, you will take longer to eat and
in the long run, eat lesser calories too.
Slower eating will also help in digestion and avoid feelings of cramping and discomfort. Thus, take your time at meals. Talk, take a break or simply sit there for a while before continuing to eat. Give your body time to register for fullness before helping yourself to seconds.
9. Educate Yourself
Pick a few of your favourite foods and look up the nutritional food values and calories for each of them. With more knowledge and information on how much calories they contain, you can then pick and choose which foods to indulge in and which ones you are willing to pass on. Be prepared to be shocked at how much calories a teensy slice of apple pie contains. Knowing the calorie count for your food will also help you to control your total calorie intake.