How to Avoid Sugar During the Holidays: Tips from Nutrition Expert Angelo Poli
As much as we all love the holidays, it can be challenging to stick to our healthy eating habits with all the tempting sweets and treats around. But fear not, with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to enjoy the festivities without going overboard on sugar. Recently, The Clip Out interviewed nutrition expert Angelo Poli to get his insights on how to navigate the sugar craze during the holiday season. In this article, we will delve deeper into Poli’s recommendations for listener Peggy, and explore actionable tips for a healthier and happier holiday season.
Establish a Solid Nutritional Routine
One of the most important factors in resisting sugary treats is having a solid nutritional routine. According to Poli, having regularly scheduled meals and snacks can help balance blood sugar levels and reduce cravings. “If you have gone out of your way, just like we do with any of our clients, the first thing we do is establish a scheduled routine for eating,” he said. “We’re going to have a scheduled breakfast. We’re going to have scheduled lunch and snacks. That’s to eliminate the cravings associated with uneven blood sugar.”
Eating balanced meals that include protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates can also help reduce cravings. “If you can get into a good routine of having a balanced complete meal, breakfast, lunch, and a couple of simple snacks, you’re going to find that when those sugary treats are around, you’ll have much better odds of being able to resist the temptation if you’re not going into it hungry,” Poli explained.
Enjoy Special Occasions, but Don’t Overindulge
While it’s okay to indulge in sugary treats on special occasions, like holiday parties or family gatherings, it’s important to do so in moderation. “If you’re going to indulge in something, I support that, but indulge in something you like. Don’t indulge because it’s Tuesday. The candy dish is out. It’s not that special. Let it be something special,” Poli advised.
He also emphasized the importance of having one’s own routine in place and not letting indulgences turn into a slippery slope. “One meal is never a problem. It’s the little small indiscretions in between that add up to a big problem.”
Find Healthy Alternatives
While it’s important to enjoy indulgences in moderation, there are also several healthy alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth. Poli suggested opting for fruit-based snacks, like apple slices with peanut butter or a banana with almond butter, to satisfy cravings without overloading on sugar. Other suggestions include homemade energy bites or protein bars made with natural sweeteners like honey or dates.
He also recommended trying savory snacks to curb sweet cravings, like popcorn or roasted nuts. “It’s amazing how less appealing those middle-of-the-road sweets are when you’re not hungry because you filled up on quality foods first,” he noted.
Stay Active During the Holidays
Staying active during the holidays can also help reduce cravings and promote healthy habits. Poli encouraged making time for exercise, even during busy holiday schedules. “By incorporating some form of movement every day, you’re able to keep yourself healthy and keep those cravings at bay. Your body is going to be craving that activity,” he said.
Poli recommended finding workouts that are enjoyable and easy to fit into a busy schedule, like going for a walk or a bike ride. He also emphasized the importance of staying hydrated, as dehydration can sometimes be confused with hunger.
Stay Mindful and Positive
Finally, Poli stressed the importance of mindfulness and a positive mindset during the holidays. “Instead of looking at the holidays with dread or anxiety, look at it as an opportunity to enjoy yourself, to spend time with family and friends,” he said.
He suggested being mindful of triggers and avoiding situations that may lead to overindulging. “If you’re at a social occasion and you notice yourself starting to snack on things you know you shouldn’t, step away from the table. Start mingling with other people. Get yourself engaged in different conversations,” he advised.
Poli also recommended celebrating small victories and maintaining a positive attitude. “If you do indulge in something, don’t beat yourself up about it. Celebrate it. Say, ‘hey, I did indulge, and that’s okay. I’m moving forward.'”
In conclusion, while the holidays may be challenging for our healthy eating habits, with the right mindset and strategies, we can enjoy the festivities without depriving ourselves of the joys of life. By establishing a solid nutritional routine, indulging in moderation, finding healthy alternatives, staying active, and staying mindful and positive, we can navigate the sugar craze during the holidays and beyond.
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