Many people gain an average of 8.7 lbs between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
Food is an important part of many holidays, celebrations, family and cultural traditions. Special occasions often center around food. As a result, some people gain a little or a lot of weight. What’s to blame?
From tempting treats in the lunch room at work to a full calendar of holiday parties to pressure from family and friends — all of these play a roll in the holiday weight gain game. You may not even realize how much you put on until the damage is done.
But there still remains one fact — food is a cause for celebration and, during the holidays, it is challenging to give up on the yummy, indulgent foods that we love so much. Should you give them up or should you simply upgrade them?
You can make simple swaps when preparing your meals to upgrade them and still keep them delicious and indulgent, leaving you with a huge smile on your face and a not so huge waistline. It really is possible!
Instead of Sugar
Swap it- Coconut Sugar, Stevia, Raw Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses, or Xylitol
Added sugar is probably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It has been associated with many serious diseases, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Most people consume way too much sugar and often have no idea. But there are some very healthy alternatives that taste just as good, but do the body much better! Stevia is 100% natural, contains zero calories, and has been linked to lowering blood sugar and blood pressure. Coconut sugar contains a small amount of fiber and nutrients, so it is a better alternative to sugar. The biggest reason I like coconut sugar is because of how low it falls on the glycemic index. Want sugar free? Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that contains 40% fewer calories than sugar. Eating it may offer dental benefits and protect against osteoporosis.
Try this- Healthy Sugar Cookie
Instead of Oil
Swap it– Apple Sauce
Unsweetened applesauce is a great substitute for oil in baked goods, like muffins, cakes, breads because it keeps food moist without all the added saturated fats. Unsweetened applesauce contains naturally occurring sugars that are already sweet, reducing the need for sugar in the recipe. When buying applesauce, look for low sugar and organic. Apples are connected to healthy digestion, lower risk of diabetes, may help prevent cancer, fight asthma, increase bone health, brain health, and much more. They are simply nutritious!
Try this- Gluten free cinnamon apple walnut bread
Instead of Sour Cream
Swap it- Low Fat Organic Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt is a nutrient-packed snack that has many health benefits. Greek Yogurt benefits includes supporting weight loss, promoting feminine health, keeping the intestinal system healthy, regulating blood pressure, increasing bone density, boosting immunity, aiding the digestive system and promoting thyroid function. Other benefits include supporting blood production, supporting muscle growth, preserving oral health and improving mood.
Try this- Greek yogurt chocolate peppermint mousse
Instead of Milk Chocolate
Swap it- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies show that dark chocolate (not the sugary junk) can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease. It really is a health food! Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and antioxidants. It has been linked to lower blood pressure, reducing risk of heart disease, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, protecting skin from sun damage, and even improving brain health. Delicious reasons to eat your dark chocolate!
Try this- Dark chocolate brownies
Instead of Butter
Swap it- Ghee or Grass-Fed Organic Butter
Changing your butter to grass-fed or using ghee gives you a good dose of Vitamin K, which is important for optimum heart health. Butter also contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and well, it’s so delicious. I don’t need to sell it to you right? Swap your processed margarine for this, and do that immediately.
Try this- Sweet mashed potatoes
Instead of Beef
Swap it- Grass-Fed, Organic Beef
Red meat can be high in saturated fat comparative to other white meats, but opting for a lean red meat from a good source can boost your health. Try to go for organic, free-range beef to avoid ingesting artificial hormones. You will also get up to 5 times as much Omega-3 as meat from grain-fed cows. The high levels of protein can help you build lean muscle, which in turn increases your basal metabolic rate (rate at which you burn calories, even at rest).
Try this- Grass-fed beef lasagna
The main points to remember are to avoid processed foods with trans fats and avoid sugar if possible. You do not have to give up yummy, indulgent foods to be healthy. But you can swap some ingredients to make them fit your healthy living plan!
Did you know that starting out your morning with “me time” helps to decrease stress and food cravings throughout the rest of your day? Here is my morning routine to help get you started. Click the link below!
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