Avoiding Holiday Eating Traps


Nutritionist Dr. Dalia Abdel Ghany Helps Us Survive the Festive Season
Christmas is just around the corner, and as excited as we all are about the festive season, we are also worrying about weight gain.  It seems to come hand in hand with all the parties and gatherings, which mostly tend to revolve around food. Food helps to bring people together. It’s part of our culture to gather at the table. So to survive the holiday party season, there are some tips and ways that will allow you to enjoy the occasions without worrying about your jeans not fitting the next day. This year, let’s try to avoid the food hangover and exercise reason when going in for our third helping.

Statistics show that the average number of calories consumed only at a holiday dinner is 3000, that’s more than the average number of calories one should consume in a whole day. To enjoy the festivities without gaining weight you must learn to choose wisely and to think before you eat. If you’re the one hosting the dinner or the party, you have a great responsibility to find ways to make delicious dishes, that are also healthy, nutritious, and low in calories. For instance, instead of frying food, roast or grill it.


Sprinkle Superfoods: Get creative with the vegetables and legumes in your kitchen. Sprinkle the small but mighty superfoods, such as quinoa, ground flax and chia seeds on your salads and plates. These superfoods are very beneficial and healthy.


Sugar Alternative: Replace the desserts filled with sugar with healthier options like fruit salads, fresh fruit smoothies, light frozen yogurt, peanut cake, oat and banana cookies. You won’t have to compromise the variety or the deliciousness of your food, as you can find an endless amount of healthy and low fat recipes online or in cookbooks.

Don’t Skip Meals: As a guest, you will also have to make some wise choices. Many of us skip lunch and sometimes even breakfast, when heading to a big party or dinner. That is a terrible mistake! When you skip meals, you slow down your metabolism and you end up eating much more then you should all at once, burdening your digestive system. Starving yourself all day is actually a lot worse than eating a balanced breakfast and lunch then moderately enjoying dinner.


Smart Appetizers: Be smart when choosing your appetizers or your first buffet picks, because you eat the largest quantity of the foods you eat first. Try to start with something that is not heated such as salads or raw foods. These are usually the most nutritious and lowest in calories.


Downsize Your Plate: Avoid anything that is fried or deep-fried, at all costs. One of my favorite tricks is to use an appetizer or salad plate. This tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating more while you eat about 40% less as you downsize your plate. You can also take this trick to the next level by taking smaller sips and bites to trick your brain into eating fewer calories. When you take smaller bites and eat slower, you become full much faster as your brain is tricked into thinking you’ve eaten more.

Flush Out Toxins: These are all ways you can enjoy dinner, without piling on extra weight. I always ask my patients to go on a mono-fruit detox for a day, where you basically pick a single fruit and eat it solely for a whole day and drink lots of water to flush out the toxins and the oils from the night before. This is the best way to repair the damage. Detox programs and intermittent fasting have proven to be amongst the healthiest and most effective ways for weight loss. Fasting doesn’t mean lack of nutrition, but switching to stored nutrition. Your body starts to get the energy it needs from fat reserves. Fat supplies most body tissues with energy, except for the central nervous system, which includes the brain. Because the brain requires sugar (glucose) for fuel, you must intake a small amount of natural glucose like juice or honey.

Keep It Moderate: Moderation is key when it comes to dieting. Overindulgence directly leads to weight gain. Many people use food to compensate their emotions. If you ever catch yourself overeating or indulging in food when sad or stressed, you must take a stand and stop yourself. You will have to discover new sources of pleasure besides eating and drinking. The best way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. Instead of indulging in a huge bowl of ice-cream while watching TV after a bad day, go for a walk or a jog. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are natural “drugs” that make you feel happy and energetic. Such healthy habits would also help get you into better physical shape, lifting your self-esteem and in turn boosting your mood.

Eat Well, Live Well: Dieting is not only for people who are overweight. To lead a healthy life, you need to consider every little thing that goes into your mouth. By time, you get to know your body and understand what it easily metabolizes. Listen to what your body is telling you. Following a balanced diet that contains the right amount of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and fibers will impact your appearance and life in more ways than you can imagine. A healthy diet doesn’t only grant you the body you want. You will also find your hair and nails growing and your skin glowing, if you follow the right diet. Proper nutrition is the secret to health and beauty. Eat right. Be confident. Be happy!


Pull Quotes:

“Get creative with the vegetables and legumes in your kitchen.”

” To lead a healthy life, you need to consider every little thing that goes into your mouth.”

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