Craving the holidays – Part I

Festive foods among family and friends? Delicious desserts and drinks? Brace yourselves ladies, we have officially entered the holiday season!  This month will be full of friendly gatherings, work events and some colossal meals that run from lunch until dinner.  We don’t need to be certified fortune tellers to let you know how the holiday season ends for many of us. We’re both quite intimate and cozy with weight loss struggles and holiday temptations! The rollercoaster ride of sugar highs and scale-stepping lows, then New Year’s gym promises followed by post resolution crashes is a pattern that most of us are familiar with.  The holidays are full of warming aromas and tempting treats, however it isn’t your inherent weakness that leads you to an inevitable diet train wreck.   In fact, we are inundated with classic cravings for foods that take us back to childhood and make us feel comforted like homemade dinner fixings and Christmas cookies dunked in creamy hot chocolate.

The season has an automatic way of pushing your emotional buttons.

We’re in favour of using these moments with friends and family along with delicious comforting foods to recharge your soul. This is exactly what makes the holidays feel so warm and toasty.   Take note, however, if your cravings for sweet tarts and puff pastry are a result of the hectic and frenzied nature of the holiday season.  Holiday visits and gift-buying, planning and prepping, not to mention additional work stress as we wrap up the end of the year, may have you running ragged and throwing your eating habits out of wack.  Going too long in between meals can result in low blood sugar levels, leaving our cells and energy reserves crying for fuel. This is when we find ourselves polishing off a tray of freshly baked cookies, and hitting the local Starbucks for a triple shot, grande gingerbread latte. Once we start the holidays off with refined sugars as a food group, and fail to incorporate adequate protein and good fats, we start to experience sugar highs (let’s ALL go see Santa!), followed by blood-sugar crashes leaving us super fatigued from our depleted energy reserves and craving more (of course I didn’t eat that whole pie…or did I?).

We’ve seen the lows, but we’re also aware that there is a way to avoid the hot mess of holiday dietary drama.  Here are some tips to keep you feeling and looking your very best through this holiday season.

Armed and ready.

Having a healthy, energy-boosting go-to snack always at arm’s reach is key to keep blood sugars stable which staves off cravings, hunger and weight gain. Ensure your snack boasts healthy fats, fibre and protein and keep in your purse, car or in your fridge ready to grab and go. So next time you’re working late, or fighting crowds at the mall, try these hunger-bashing, energy-surging snacks:

  • A baggie of raw nuts, coconut flakes and seeds (make your own trail mix by throwing in some dried fruit or dark chocolate chips)
  • A quality protein bar (low in sugars, high in fibre, protein and healthy fats)
  • Our Coconut Macaroons – chockfull of metabolism-boosting (think: faster weight loss!!) coconut.

Hydrate!

Drinking enough water and eating plenty of hydrating foods not only will help keep you from overeating, but will boost skin radiance and help combat the drying and not-so-pretty effects of harsh winter weather and extra stress the season brings on.  Besides upping regular ‘ole water to your day (see here for tips), try:

  • Super hydrating green smoothies – a small handful of greens in your favourite smoothie recipe is all you need. Try our Pina Kale-ada or this Glowing Skin Smoothie for a hydrating treat!
  • Soups and broths are awesome low-cal ways to boost hydration and take the edge off hunger pangs before or in between meals. Store-bought broths are quick and easy (look for quality ingredients, and low-sodium varieties, staying clear of MSG and health-zapping artificial preservatives and additives – low sodium organic varieties offer up the most nutritious broths and soups) or make your own large batch and freeze single portions in glass containers or BPA-free baggies – our Autumn Harvest Soup boasts skin beautifying vitamins and can quell ravaging sugar cravings!
  • Add more fresh, raw fruits and veggies and sexySALADS to your meals or in between meals to keep cravings and binges far, far, away.

Crowding out the cravings. 

It is unavoidable. This season is going to bring tempting moments.  The bright side is that you will spend more time this season in between these festive moments, in situations where you aren’t being tempted by sweets and rich delights, and what you eat during these times will have the biggest impact on your mood, health and waistline in the New Year.  Also, incorporating healthy versions of the foods that you crave during this holiday seasons will help decrease the severity and frequency of these cravings.  For example, cravings for sweets can be quelled over time by enriching your diet this month with sweet root vegetables, luscious berries and the use of raw, unrefined sweeteners like buckwheat honey.  If you find yourself craving full-fat foods like creamy mashed potatoes and eggnog, start filling your diet with super fats like raw nuts, seeds and avocados.   Likewise, drinking more water will naturally decrease your desire and tendency to drink less healthy beverages. Use the list below as a starting point to help you incorporate these nutritious options everyday to crowd out the holiday cravings!

  • Water (plain, citrus or mint-infused) and health-promoting teas such as green tea
  • Dark leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, spinach, collards
  • High-fibre and antioxidant-rich fruit like berries and apples
  • Legumes such as kidney beans, chick peas, lentils
  • Sweet root vegetables such as squashes, carrots, beets, parsnips
  • Unprocessed whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth
  • Super fats like raw nuts, coconut and avocados
  • High omega-3 fatty fish such as wild salmon, arctic char, black cod
  • Superior quality animal proteins such as organic eggs and poultry, grass-fed beef and wild game

Go ahead…crave the holidays and all its decadence!

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3 Comments

  1. So what are your infamous cravings during the holiday season? For me, it’s most definitely, hands-down, anything chocolate-hazelnut! Ahhh…memories of Nutella cookies dancing in my head…

    Trisha & Sil
  2. I love reading your articles. I’m going to use your informative and inspirational newsletters to help me not blow my diet this holiday season. I’m looking forward to wolfing down a bag of flaked coconut as I stroll the malls. YIKES! So what would you ladies recommend as portion sizes for things like seeds, flaked coconut and dried fruit when eating it as a snack on the go. Whenever I introduce new foods to my diet I tend to overdo the portions. Any tips? or should I just use “whatever my purse can hold” as my measure? :)

    Maxine
  3. Thanks Maxine! We hear you, it’s so easy to overdo it on yummy new snacks. We like the idea of a shot full of nuts each day to benefit from superfats. If you want to make your own trailmix by mixing nuts, seeds and dried fruits then try a good handful for a serving – about 1/2 cup (even though we can fit a whole lot more in our hands!). Make it easier by putting a portion into a sandwich bag, so that you don’t end up ‘sampling’ more than your body needs. And try to always eat these high fibre treats with a good amount of water to continue feeling full and hydrated.
    Let us know what kind of fun mixes you can come up with. Happy holidays!

    Trisha & Sil

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