Winter is synonymous with cold. And when it comes to seeking comfort from the cold, we all seek comfort in two things. The first, our woolens and the second, processed foods. Rich soups, fatty pastas, and super sweet desserts end up becoming the household menu staples.
Unfortunately, winter is only temporary, but those calories you’re putting on? Not so much. Come spring, it won’t just be those cupboards and closets that will need cleaning, but your food habits as well! And that’s going to be neither too easy, nor too pleasant.
Don’t get us wrong; food-indulgence is great. But food-indulgence without weight gain is even better, right? So here you have it, 8 solid tricks to help you eat your way through the cold this winter while fending off the horrors of major flab-overload.
1. Make Water More Readily Available
Telling ourselves to go cold turkey rarely works on people who mindlessly sip on soda while doing other tasks. Maybe we’d have a better chance if we made water more available than sugary-drinks?
Keeping a bottle of water around you no matter where you are is a sure shot way of tricking your brain into weaning off soda naturally. Think about it: if you had a bottle of water sitting on your desk or by your bed at all times, would you be as tempted to walk all the way to the fridge and back just for that soda?
2. Portion Out Your Snacks And Treats
Few of us manage to stop ourselves from wolfing down an entire bag of snacks. So portion out your snacks in ziplock bags beforehand. Allow yourself to have no more than one bag when you’re in need of a snack. Don’t forget to stash one of these baggies in your office desk drawer to fight off those occasional mid-day cravings!
3. Play With “Secret Healthy” Ingredients
You’re more likely to stay eating healthy (and thus, fight off the extra calories) for a longer if you start making healthier versions of all the foods that you love eating instead of ditching them altogether.
For instance, when you tell yourself you have to stay away from mashed potatoes completely, it can seem like a bit of a downer and you won’t feel like sticking with that resolution for too long. Instead, swap half your mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. It’s equally delicious, but not as big of a calorie bomb. Similarly, try sneaking in some fruit with your pancakes for sweetness instead of drenching them in maple syrup. Remember, it’s the little things that add up to go a long way!
4. Always Roasted, Never Fried
Apply this rule to pretty much everything and you’ll be surprised to see how quickly this translates to calorie-reduction. Roasting everything – from french fries to chicken will give your food a flavorful crunch minus all the oil that you would have used had you taken the fried route.
Apply this same rule to your vegetables and you might just discover the secret to loving vegetables!
5. Switch To Smaller Serving Plates
Trick your brain once again. Swap your large plates that make you think you’ve taken far too little food, with smaller plates that make your portions look satisfying. This is a great tip to use for portion-control, especially when you can’t resist rich foods.
6. Drink Water In Between Glasses Of Alcohol
The holiday season will make it hard to lay off the booze, the wooze, and the snooze. Once again, telling yourself to stay away from all that wine is not the way to go.
Instead, have that glass of wine, by all means. But when you’re done, reach out an equal helping of water instead of another glass of wine. Two things: it will make you full and you probably won’t feel like more wine (which reduces your chances of a hangover) and it will help you take the calories down a notch (for those who don’t remember, water contains zero calories!) while staying hydrated!
7. Fill Half Your Plate With Non-Starchy Veggies
It can be hard to eat enough vegetables every day. But if you adopt a habit of loading up half of your plate with veggies for every meal, you are pretty much in the clear. This will also keep you from over-eating, as vegetables are very filling.
However, remember that vegetables can be fattening too. For instance, potatoes, navy beans, and corn can be high in carb content and give you way more calories than you may really need. Instead, opt for non-starchy veggies like spinach, carrots, and broccoli. These are not only low in calories but super high in essential nutrients and water.
8. Eat Some Veggies Before You Dine Out
The holiday season is nothing without jovial get-togethers and eating good food with your loved ones. So practically speaking, eating out frequently at a friends’ parties, office buffets, or family dinners is not something we want to avoid.
What you can avoid, however, is over-stuffing yourself with rich foods. So fill yourself up with a cup or two of raw veggies before you head out. This will fill your tummy up partially, and when you finally come face to face with the spread, you won’t be as tempted to pig out on all that fatty, oily food.