Simple Holiday Diet And Weight Loss Ideas

Diet and Nutrition

The coming holidays can be a challenge for anyone engaged in a weight loss or diet regimen and with very good reason.

  1. With all of the treats that seem to lurk around every corner, workplace get-togethers and holiday parties; it can be easy for even the most driven dieters to get sidetracked and lose sight of their weight loss goals.
  2. This year though you can do things a bit differently. Giving your choices and portions a little carefully targeted attention you can steer clear of ruining all the hard work you have put into your eating habits the rest of the year.
Fat Loss 1 Page
Fat Loss 1 Page (Photo credit: sean_oliver)

One of the biggest challenges for many those on a diet during the holiday season…

  • Is avoiding the hectic round of get-togethers and parties that almost always come hand in hand with the holidays.
  • The good news about such events; however, is that many of them tend to be buffet and pot-luck types of affairs; which gives you numerous options that can help you to stick to your diet plans.
  • While buffet tables are typically laden with heavy casseroles and fatty appetizers, you can usually find at least one platter of fresh vegetables served with a nice low-fat dip.
  • Also, opt for fresh fruits instead of the abundance of baked desserts that are typically offered.
  • Instead of stocking your plate up with diet dangerous foods, choose steamed vegetables and healthy grains such as wild rice and wheat bread.
  • Opting for white meat instead of dark meat can also help you to stay on the straight and narrow, by avoiding additional calories.

When possible, restrict the amount of alcohol based beverages that you take in. Just a few alcoholic beverages contain a shocking amount of calories; not to mention the fact that they only serve to boost the appetite of most people. Choose plain water, an alcohol free beer or a wine spritzer or Pelligrino water instead.

When your turn comes to prepare the abundance of necessary holiday food, remember that there are various tricks you can employ in order to stay true to your diet goals and continue to keep family and friends pleased at the same time.

food sources of magnesium: bran muffins, pumpk...
food sources of magnesium: bran muffins, pumpkin seeds, barley, buckwheat flour, low-fat vanilla yogurt, trail mix, halibut steaks, garbanzo beans, lima beans, soybeans, and spinach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One way to do this is by substituting dairy free or evaporated skim milk for regular milk or cream in your holiday recipes. This will help to tremendously cut down on the amount of fat and calories included in your dishes without compromising taste.

IUnsweetened applesauce with cinnamon makes a great alternative for calorie laden oil while egg substitute can easily replace the necessity for eggs in most tasty recipes without any recognizable change to the flavor.

Ultimately, one of the greatest ways that you can steer clear of overindulging this holiday season is to take it slower and simple. Bear in mind that the whole point of this time of the year is to get together with close friends and loved ones; many of which you might not see for many months to come.

Focus on the fun and conversation instead of hurrying through a hefty meal and you will find that not only did you enjoy this year more, but that you made it through with your diet in one piece.

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Want To Eat Healthier, Now What?



Okay, Now What Do I Eat?

As you begin your transition to a more wholesome diet, remember that tastes for foods are learned. You may want to begin slowly, by replacing high-fat dairy products with fat-free versions and eating meat less often. However, making a complete break from animal foods is so rewarding that it’s actually easier for most people.
All your needs for protein, calcium and other vital nutrients are easy to satisfy if you eat enough calories each day from a wide variety of foods. It’s that simple! The only nutrient deserving extra consideration is Vitamin B-12, which, since it is made by bacteria, is not naturally present in plants (or meat). Your B-12 requirements can be easily met by including a cereal or soymilk fortified with B-12, or a B-12 supplement twice a week.
Step 1
Reduce or eliminate red meat, poultry and fish. Replace with health-supporting grain, legume and potato-based dishes. Or, start by giving yourself larger servings of rice, potatoes and vegetables at meals — and ever smaller portions of meat.
Step 2
Increase intake of calcium-rich vegetables — broccoli, kale, collards, mustard and turnip greens, bok choy, black beans, chick peas, calcium-processed tofu, calcium-fortified soymilk, calcium-fortified orange juice and blackstrap molasses. Choose more raw fruits and vegetables: cooking destroys nutrients. Try for 50% of your daily intake as uncooked foods and gradually increase the proportion. Buy organic.
Step 3
Reduce the “luxury” fats. Hydrogenated oils (like margarine) are artificially thickened vegetable oils that can damage your arteries and have been linked to some cancers. Gradually eliminate both butter and margarine from your diet. Reduce your use of cooking oils and oil-based salad dressings. Switch to nonfat (or low-fat) versions of prepared foods (and dairy products, if you still eat them). Read product labels. Replace eggs in baking with two tablespoons of water per egg — or try Ener-G egg substitute.
Step 4
Replace dairy products with non-dairy foods. Delicious milks, cheeses, and frozen desserts based on soy, rice, nuts and seeds are available in health food stores and many grocery stores.
Step 5
Reduce refined carbohydrates (white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.) By choosing whole grain products and natural sweeteners (fruits, juices, maple syrup, etc.).
It’s easy – There is an endless supply of fabulous vegetarian recipes from many cultures. A wide variety of cookbooks are available in bookstores and health food stores. There are several lines of fast foods — pilafs, falafels, humus, “burgers,” “tofu-helpers,” etc. — for sale across the country. If you can’t find them in your store, ask your grocer to carry them — she or he is always looking for suggestions. Ask your favorite restaurant to serve vegan burgers, past dishes, etc.
Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks and Snacks:

Breakfast

Cereal Lovers – Try hot or cold whole grain cereal or granola with soy milk and fruit. Use maple syrup or honey instead of sugar. Try apple juice on granola —
Bread Lovers – Try whole grain bread, toast, bagels, non-dairy muffins or specialty breads, with raisins or dates and nuts or seeds. Remember, even soy margarines have just as much fat as butter. Try apple butter, pure fruit jams, nut butters, humus or tahini on your bread or bagel.
Egg Lovers – Don’t knock scrambled tofu until you’ve tried it. There are easy mixes put out by several companies, as well as recipes in vegetarian cookbooks. Try sautéing cubed firm tofu with anything you would add to an omelet.
Other breakfasts – Treat yourself to waffles or pancakes made with soy milk — try using ½ banana in place of each egg — and smothered in fresh or hot cooked fruit. Make fruit smoothies with everything you can imagine. Use sweet fruit to make breakfast cobbler or pie and you won’t need to add sugar when baking.
Lunch or Dinner
Sandwiches – Whole grain breads, avocado, grated carrots, sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and thinly sliced cucumbers make great sandwiches. Try nut butters with pure fruit jams or humus with crisp sliced vegetables. Vegetarian cookbooks have great recipes for spreads. Falafel is delicious.
Salads – Most vegetables can be served raw, chopped small or grated in salads. Cooked beans (garbanzos, kidney, black, lentils, etc.), sprouts, seeds, nuts and avocados are excellent. Try salad dressings with little or no oil and/or flavored vinegars. Stuff your salad into pita bread and add tahini to it.
Pasta – Try all those special pastas made with wholesome grains, vegetables and spices. Experiment with marinara, pesto and tomato basil sauces. Try sautéing garlic, onions, summer squash, red bell peppers and tomatoes in a little olive oil — or in a little sesame oil and tamari (soy sauce).
Burritos or Tacos – Try beans (black beans are great), rice or potatoes, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce or crisp shredded cabbage, salsa, soy cheese, etc. Use soft corn or whole wheat tortillas. Find your own favorite combinations. Nachos con todo (with everything) is a great fast meal.
Potatoes – Potatoes can be baked, steamed, mashed or home-fried. Try them with sauces, salsas, mustard, in soups or salads. Treat yourself to mushroom gravy. Remember yams and sweet potatoes.
Veggie or Tofu Burgers – There are many varieties in stores. They are delicious and easy to bake, fry, barbecue or microwave. Tofu hot dogs are almost indistinguishable from the original. Pile on the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, tofu mayo and barbecue sauce.
Vegetables – Try stir-fried or steamed, served with brown rice, millet, barley or potatoes. Ad cubed firm tofu and tamari or mushroom gravy for a feast.
Pizza – Use whole wheat crust, tomato sauce, spices, soy cheese, and all your favorite trimmings. Try almonds, garlic, and fresh tomatoes.
Soups – Beans, lentils, nuts, veggies, grains, potatoes, tofu — anything is good in soup. Simmer your favorite vegetables for a few minutes and add a little miso for a quick treat. There are many brands of instant soups made with wholesome an delicious ingredients — just add boiling water, stir and wait.
Drinks and Snacks
Milks – Soy, rice, nut or seed milks are perfect substitutes for cow and goat milk. Carob, chocolate and vanilla versions are delicious. Watch out — some have added oils that make them just as high in fat as cow milk.
Juices – Many bottled organic juices are available all across the country. Look for local fresh-squeezed brands. Juice your own. Many vegetable juices are just as delicious as fruit juices. Be daring — carrot juice can be habit-forming.
Water and Tea – Add sliced lemons, limes, oranges or tangerines to fresh clean water. Try herbal iced teas and hot teas.
Snacks – Go for crispy foods like popcorn, pretzels, chips, fresh fruit, carrots, nuts, seeds and celery with almond butter. Enjoy cobblers and pies made from sweet fresh fruit, smoothies, non-dairy cookies and muffins, dried fruit, frozen fruit bars and non-dairy frozen desserts like Rice Dream and Tofutti. Avoid preservatives and buy organic.