The holiday period can get exciting as you look forward to meeting friends, hanging out, and enjoying good food.
For many, the festive holidays offer a break from work.
However, it isn’t a break from your fitness plan as bad decisions during the holidays could leave you behind on your plan.
It would help if you still had control of your food intake, even during the holidays.
This becomes increasingly difficult during the festive period due to the large variety of available food.
You want to eat the best foods available and enjoy yourself, but you also want your body to remain in shape.
A 2013 research by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the holiday period led to more people gaining weight, increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
But this doesn’t mean you have to eat salads throughout the holidays as your family and friends enjoy some meat and drinks.
A lot more foods are healthier than you think as a lot depends on how they are prepared and the amount consumed.
Here are some healthy foods you can eat during the festive holidays.
A very common food usually seen at Ghanaian buffets. They come in fried, boiled, mashed, or roasted.
The key is to ensure the potatoes are served in their rawest form. Usually, they are served with extra ingredients such as butter, cheese, cream, or gravy.
In some instances, the potatoes are made with butter, cheese, or cream or dipped in them before serving.
All these extras significantly add to the number of calories you consume and make it unhealthy.
Make sure it is best served raw to get the most out of potatoes. Mashed potatoes tend to maintain most of the nutrients instead of fried potatoes.
So if you want to stay healthy this festive period, one of the meals you can consider is mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes are filled with lots of potassium and fiber, which helps your body. But, most importantly, they help reduce your blood pressure while ensuring you easily digest and assimilate food into your blood.
Aside from that, mashed potatoes supply your body with various minerals and vitamins, specifically; magnesium, vitamin C, and iron which help keep your body in good shape.
Your holiday buffet table won’t be complete without some potatoes. But, of course, you shouldn’t just limit it to mashed potatoes, although they are the healthiest.
Another option is to fry the potatoes but with much healthier vegetable oil.
You can also use non-fat yogurt or milk instead of making the potatoes with cream.
If you want to get more creative, you can also roast your potatoes and add some rosemary leaves for garnishing.
We know we stated earlier that you don’t have to eat salads throughout the holidays.
However, salads are extremely healthy, and eating them daily can help you prevent sickness.
The beauty of salads is the variety it presents. More than 20 different types of salads can be made with varying ingredients.
This is can even be extended if you choose to make fruit salads.
The components of salads vary. However, the benefits usually remain the same.
Eating salad ensures that you remain healthy and keeps you out of the hospital.
Studies show that salads help in disease prevention and boost your immune system. In addition, salads help maintain a healthy body weight which can be very helpful in the festive period when there is a lot of food available.
Also, salads make you feel young, giving you the strength and vitality to demonstrate youthful energy.
Salads are a natural source of fiber. Your body needs fiber each day to ensure it’s in its best shape.
Consuming fiber comes with significant health benefits, which include:
- Reduces bad cholesterol in the body
- It helps to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood
- Aids weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight
- Prevents bowel diseases
- Research shows fiber helps prevent several cancers such as mouth, breast, throat, etc.
There are numerous benefits to eating salad, and that’s why it has to be a part of the meals you focus on during the holidays to help you stay healthy.
You don’t have to eat it every day, but it’ll be really helpful for your health if you can.
Although salads can be very healthy, you need to be wary of the salad dressings and creams.
Some of which have too much sugar and fat and could rather put you at risk long-term.
The idle situation is to enjoy your raw salad. Or you could toss in a few healthy proteins such as fish.
Research shows that people consume a lot more food when distracted while eating.
That is why it is advisable to eat without using your phone, so you consume what you need.
The idea is that once you’re distracted, your body struggles to let you know exactly how much food you need to consume, and quite often, you end up overeating.
In this regard, it is important to start eating foods that naturally demand full attention.
One of which is nuts. You have to constantly focus on cracking and opening up each nut before eating it, so it’s difficult to be distracted.
Nuts are usually overlooked, but they hold a lot of nutritional value.
Healthy snacking helps prevent weight gain because it makes you not too hungry before meals.
Nuts qualify as one of the best pre-meal snacks available.
Eating nuts helps provide your body with antioxidants which help protect your body’s cells.
Nuts also give your body healthy fat, which provides health benefits such as:
- Reducing the risk of stroke or heart disease
- Lowering bad cholesterol in the body while increasing the good cholesterol
- Reduces blood pressure
- It also helps your body prevent any forms of abnormal heartbeats
With the holidays around the corner, shelves in shops have been filled with fresh nuts. So grab some and make sure to consume it.
If you want to snack during this festive period, always make nuts your premium option because it helps your body.
Usually not the go-to food for many but mushrooms are essential to the human body.
This is because fungi are considered an excellent source of potassium for the body.
Mushrooms, in effect, help keep the muscles in shape and reduce blood pressure.
They are also very low in calories and don’t contain fats which can harm the body.
Research shows that consuming mushrooms can help reduce your risk of cancer.
In a study by 3Biotech, it was revealed that the group of mice fed with mushrooms consistently saw a massive reduction in the prostate tumor size.
If the tastes of mushrooms are a problem, then you can spice it up a bit and fry it.
You can also garnish it to improve the look and feel of your mushroom meal.
Avocados are made for you if you want to stay in shape during the festive period.
Research conducted by Nutrition Journal shows that 40% of people who added half an avocado to their meals were left satisfied and had reduced desire to eat hours after.
A healthy fruit that also leaves you satisfied sounds like a jackpot for fitness enthusiasts.
There is more as avocado enhances metabolism, reduces hunger, and contains unsaturated fats that reduce belly fat.
Further research also demonstrates that avocadoes also help cholesterol, fight high blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight issues, increasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Patel, Seema, and Arun Goyal. “Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review.” 3 Biotech vol. 2,1 (2012): 1-15. doi:10.1007/s13205-011-0036-2
Wien, Michelle et al. “A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults.” Nutrition journal vol. 12 155. 27 Nov. 2013, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-155
Tabeshpour, Jamshid et al. “Effects of Avocado (Persea Americana) on Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Systematic Review.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 31,6 (2017): 819-837. doi:10.1002/ptr.5805
Ros, Emilio. “Health benefits of nut consumption.” Nutrients vol. 2,7 (2010): 652-82. doi:10.3390/nu2070652