Dietician and weight management expert Samantha Morales.

Enjoy the holiday festivities without gaining weight!
UPTOWN DOWNTOWN - Joanne Zapanta-Andrada (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2016 - 12:00am

Aaaah! Christmas Day is near! Let the festivities begin, preferably without the fear of packing in the unwanted pounds.

Uptown/Downtown asked nutritionist/dietician/weight management expert Samantha Morales how to enjoy the holiday festivities without gaining weight!

1. Never go to a party hungry. Make sure you’ve already eaten a light snack before you arrive at the party. Politely refuse the sugary desserts but stick around and socialize.

2. Skip the whites and ask for extra vegetables instead. Highly refined carbohydrates (like white flour in pasta, bread products, etc.) can cause a spike in your blood sugar, which leads to the increase of insulin levels. High levels of insulin elicit weight gain around the belly (belly fat) and also make you crave for more sugary food.

3. Don’t drink your calories. This pertains to soda, artificially flavored juices, flavored coffee/tea, energy drinks. Stick to water or unsweetened coffee/tea, fresh juices from whole fruits and fresh vegetable juices. If ever you drink alcohol, one to two glasses, say, of wine; that may be beneficial but more than this can be harmful.

4. Enjoy a healthy dessert. One that contains REAL fruit or is lightly sweetened with coconut sugar (diabetic-friendly also), whole stevia extract or organic raw honey.

5. Be mindful. Try to put down your utensils in between bites. By doing slow and conscious eating, you will be able to savor and appreciate the flavors of your food. Research says that by doing the “mindful eating” approach, one can make healthier food choices thus avoiding any weight problems.

6. Do smart substitutions. When baking, experiment using coconut flour or nut flours (like almond or cashew) instead of refined wheat flour. When dining at a restaurant, instead of choosing dishes with words like glazed, fried or creamed, go for baked, grilled, sautéed or steamed.

7. Eat GOOD quality fat. The right types of fat help you feel fuller and speed up your metabolism. Good sources are olives, virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, cacao butter, organic and grass-fed meats and poultry, mackerel, wild sardines, just to name a few.

8. Cook at home! Instead of always dining out or having take-aways, invite friends for a healthy cook out at home. This way, you do not only save time and money but you know what’s in the food you’re eating!

9. Be grateful always. This mindset makes you focus on eating the right kinds of food that nourish your body. According to research, people who are grateful are healthier, more optimistic, goal-oriented and have a deeper sense of well-being.

10. R-E-L-A-X. The holiday season should not be a stressful “chore” but a celebration of life and love. Too much stress can also add in too much weight around your belly.

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