It’s no secret that these festive gatherings often lead to overeating. Even for the most strong-willed dieters, practising self-restraint at an indulgent banquet can be hard.
The bingeing, excessive drinking and sitting for prolonged periods can leave one feeling bloated and groggy. Worse still, research has proven that even a brief period of overeating can lead to weight gain. One study pegged the holiday weight gain at 0.37kg per year although another study claims the figure is closer to 0.9kg.
Now, a few hundred grams here and there may not seem much. But when you factor in your metabolism slowing down with age, these numbers could explain why you were 10kg heavier than a decade ago.
Eating a healthy snack to prevent overeating
Before heading out the door, there are a few preventive measures you can practise to avoid overeating.
For us, we recommend eating a healthy snack before a party. This might sound counterintuitive, but it actually prevents you from feeling ravenous by the time you get to the buffet table. As such, there’s less chance you’ll end up clearing two-and-a-half meals worth of food.
Just be sure to moderate your snack portions so you’re not having a full-sized meal before your actual meal. And once you start tucking in at your party, pace your eating mindfully so you won’t miss the signs that you are full.
Below are some pre-party healthy snack ideas that are low in calories or that contain lots of protein, water and fibre. These will be sure to keep you satiated for a long time:
Craving a treat that has a crunchy bite? Look no further than the cucumber, which is much better for you than a bag of potato chips. It also contains potassium, which has been known to inhibit the harmful effects of MSG-loaded tidbits. As a bonus, the refreshing cucumber has anti-ageing vitamins A and C. And, being 95% water, it will keep you hydrated too.
2. Dark chocolate
Watching your weight in check often means you can’t have this or that, and often your guilty pleasures are the first to go. But here’s the good news for chocolate lovers. Research by the University of Copenhagen claims dark chocolate can suppress your cravings for fatty and sugary foods. Mind you though, white and milk chocolate don’t have the same effect.
Best known by its Japanese name, edamame is essentially soya beans in a pod. This low-calorie snack is a great foil for overeating because it’s high in protein and fibre. With 97.6mg of calcium per cup of edamame (that’s 12% of the recommended 800mg daily intake), it’s perfect for people who don’t consume milk on a regular basis. Plus, it can supply you with more than 5% of your daily iron intake. Prepare edamame by boiling the pods in salted water for three to four minutes before draining.
4. Greek Yogurt
The humble yogurt is no piece of steak, but this healthy snack actually contains a generous serving of protein, which is uncommon for a vegetarian source. With 9g of protein per 100g, that’s about the same quantity as the protein found in tofu. Not only does it top up your calcium intake, yogurt is also packed with probiotics that prevents bloating by keeping your digestive tract in order.
Scrambled, fried or boiled, this all-day favourite has the magic combination of fat, protein and choline that join forces to improve your metabolism. A study by Saint Louis University in the United States also affirmed that eggs help to prevent overeating by helping you feel full much faster.
6. Vegetable Soup
Not only is homemade vegetable soup is easy to throw together and conveniently versatile, it’s also swimming with fibre. Be sure to use lower-calorie vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms! For the more adventurous chefs among us, boost its flavour with white wine vinegar or dijon mustard (sparingly). Remember to avoid the thicker and creamier stews, though. After all, this is just a pre-party appetizer, not a full meal on its own.
7. Chia puddings
Loaded with protein and fibre to boot, low-calorie chia seeds are perfect weight loss foods. Furthermore, this healthy snack is rich in antioxidants that bring radiance to your skin. Whipping up a chia pudding is simple. To make four servings that can last you over a few days, combine half a cup of chia seeds with one and a half cups of plant-based milk (or regular milk). Let the seeds plump up overnight, then sweeten to taste with a touch of honey or maple syrup.
Prepared with just a drizzle of oil (no butter!) and a tiny pinch of salt (not sugar!), popcorn is one healthy snack that you can eat a lot of yet ingest very few calories at a mere 40 calories per cup. With 10g of fibre per 100g (10%), you’ll be making good progress towards the recommended daily fibre intake of 20g for women and 26g for men as well. Make a big batch and seal it in an airtight bag to munch on whenever your hunger pangs strike.
Look your best before the parties with CSH therapy®
Watching your calories isn’t always the most efficient way to lose weight, especially if your metabolism has already been slowing with age. If you need help shedding the weight you’ve gained through the years, consider Absolute Wellness’ signature CSH therapy®.
Since 2002, we’ve helped thousands of clients achieve their weight loss goals using CSH therapy®, a 3-step approach based on traditional Chinese methods that brings about long-term improvements to your metabolism. We’re talking no exercise, no supplements, no extreme diets.
Interested in how CSH therapy can help you? Book a consultation today.
*Nutritional calculations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central