The last 2 weekends have been full of festive-ness and social activities with friends and family. This equates to good times. BUT… Social gatherings always present people with an opportunity to stuff themselves to the point of feeling like humpty dumpty — yikes, and before they know it January rolls around and they are 10lbs plumpified. However, never fear because you can navigate the party and make some great choices, just like I did these past 2 weekends.
When I go to a party, these are the 5 foods/drinks I AVOID: CHIPS, FATTY HOR DOURVES, MYSTERY DIPS, SWEETS, SUGARY DRINKS.
1. Chips. Even if they are so-called “trans-fat” free. This is pretty meaningless when they are frying those little flaky taters in sunflower oil which is an extremely UNSTABLE polyunsaturated fat that will become RANCID at high temperatures — this is food chemistry 101. These type of fats when fried or baked at a high temp (such as sunflower and safflower) are like a key that doesn’t fit, meaning, it doesn’t jive with your cells.
I know these big food manufacturers are trying to be do-gooders by making chips “trans-fat free, but they really need to take it one step further and consider the fact they are contributing to some serious health issues such as inflammation due to excessive omega 6 fatty acid consumption, even worse, rancid omega 6 fats. Baked chips (unless made by you), are no better. In fact, often they are worse than their fried counterparts because they have more ingredients created in a lab than grown in the ground — if there are items on the label you don’t recognize, they don’t belong in your body, plain and simple.
2. Sausage rolls, mini-quiches, deep fried spring rolls. Yikes, avoid these little calorie dense, trans-fat, sodium-rich hor dourves that will surely sabotage your weight loss and/or maintenance goals. You might be surprised to know, that one or two little sausage rolls will top off your sodium intake for the day and may have the same amount of calories as a small bowl of ice cream.
3. Mystery Dips. Often a hidden source of MSG. I won’t name any brand names here because tis the season after all. But I will tell you to read your labels. Chip, veggie dips and liquid cheeses are a common source of MSG, which is a neurotoxin. So your headache or twitching eyelid the next day may not be attributed to stress, but the dip you were delighted about the night before. I avoid MSG like the plague and I’m a total label whore because MSG was the cause of my migraine headaches as a child and for many people I know. Not only that, but just the simple fact it’s tricking me into thinking something tastes better than it really does is totally ridiculous. I want to eat food that tastes good not because of some chemical that was manufactured in a lab!
4. The Sweet Platter. I have a sweet tooth. But I know from personal experience, once I start, I won’t stop. Here’s what happens inside my body. I eat a sweet and I send my blood sugar skyrocketing, only to drop back down from a flood of insulin to save the day. What happens next? Well, I crave MORE sweets because my blood sugar drops too low (the body is darn smart) and so the yo-yo’ing begins. Sugar in excess in the bloodstream turns to fat. Excess sugar in the blood and this yo-yo effect mimics Attention Deficit Disorder and mood problems. Interesting isn’t it? If you want to kick your sugar habit, here are more tips.
5. Sugary Drinks. Pop, martinis, cocktails, mixed drinks. Same reason as above.
Now that you have 5 to avoid, here are 5 to EAT!
1. Veggies & dip: This is obvious I know. But interestingly, many people don’t put this sort of thing out for their guests. However, I have noticed whenever this option is available, it’s usually the first platter to go! Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber to keep you fuller longer. I have an AMAZING homemade veggie dip recipe my dad has been making for years. It’s so easy, you could totally mess up the quantities of each ingredient and it would STILL taste great!
2. Pita or whole wheat crackers & hummus: More and more I’m seeing this option at parties. I think it’s wonderful and soooo delish. A very well-balanced snack with all 3 macronutrients to keep you satisfied and cravings away — complex carb (pita/crackers), fat/protein (hummus).
3. Crackers & Cheese. Yes, you can have some cheese (if you aren’t on a dairy-free diet) and enjoy it too. I’m all for the less processed cheeses — brie, goat cheese, old cheddar etc. In the case of cheese, less is more. Cheese is high fat and can contain a lot of sodium, so be watchful of this. But a little goes a long way, you only need a few slices with a whole wheat cracker to satisfy your love of cheese, just don’t stand by the platter and mindlessly munch.
4. Olives. Fantastic source of good fat – “monounsaturated” fat which is wonderful for hormonal balance (your skin). I LOVE LOVE LOVE olives, black or green, they belong in my belly. The beauty with olives is that because they are a source of fat, you feel more satisfied eating them and therefore, will have better self-control.
5. Red Wine. If you haven’t read my article about the French Paradox and Resveratrol, please check it out. Red wine has been touted by Europeans for many years as being the reason they are healthier than North Americans. They might be onto something here. I am not suggesting you drink red wine every night, but if you are at a party this is a great choice — fewer calories and less sugar than your most popular cocktail. Here are some non-alcoholic options as well.
If after reading my tips, you decide not to follow any of my suggestions, then I’m here in the New Year should you decide you need to get on a detox program after your holiday indulging! But really, I would rather you eat and drink smart so you stay feeling fabulous and looking gorgeous at all your holiday parties!