There’s no question that the holidays are the best time to indulge your taste buds, but as the season changes — the weight gain stays.
It can be tough to reverse unhealthy eating habits, but if you’re determined to shed the holiday weight, it’s important to know that there’s a good and bad way to do it. Starving yourself will inevitably cause a calorific food binge, while a proper diet is about understanding balance and what kind of nutrients to feed your body.
Calories Are Not Always Equal to Fat
Just because an apple has the same amount of calories as two bacon strips does not mean they are equal. Different food types go through different metabolic pathways in the body. They can have varying effects on hunger, hormones, and the number of calories we burn.
Here is a list of products and ingredients that have the staying power to see you into a fit and healthy New Year.
1. Plant-Based Proteins — Not Red Meat
Beans, lentils, and soy are great plant-based alternatives to red meat. There are many wellness benefits to plant-based sources of protein — which is why vegetarians have lower rates of bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index. What’s more, vegan-friendly proteins are jam-packed with fiber and antioxidants and can be just as hearty as meat.
2. Clever Carbs — Not All Carbs
Contrary to popular belief, carbs are a crucial part of a healthy diet. As long as you’re sensible about the carbs you choose, you have no reason to worry about its overall effects on health. Try zucchini noodles or ready-to-cook pasta made with lentils, chickpeas, and other high-fiber and lower-carb ingredients.
3. Friendly and Portioned Fats
One effective way to lower bad cholesterol is to consume a moderate amount of unsaturated fats through nuts, olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish. Additionally, flaxseed oil and canola oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have plenty of health-promoting perks. Fat, however, does contain more calories than protein or carbs, so be mindful of your portions.
4. Baked Chips — Not Deep Fried Potatoes
Just because you’re trying to lose weight, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good snack. Aside from potatoes, you can find a wide array of delicious baked chips made from nutrient-packed carrots and kale at any grocery store. Again, just be wary of your portions.
5. Not Just Any Vegetable — Choose Leafy Greens
With a bit of preparation, leafy green vegetables like spinach and collards can turn into healthy, filling, and delicious main cuisines. Greens have several properties that make them excellent for weight loss. For instance, they are low in both calories and carbohydrates, but are loaded with fiber. Eating leafy greens is a great way to increase the volume of your meals without increasing the calories. They are also incredibly nutritious and high in all sorts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and calcium — which aids in fat burning.
Food: The Fuel Your Body Needs
Remember that your body needs fuel to function, and that primary source of fuel is food. If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t starve yourself! Restrictions not only deplete your energy levels and trigger eating disorders, but they also slow down your metabolism — which is crucial for burning fat. Instead, find the right balance of healthy and filling foods and you will be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.