Holiday Survival Tip #3: Don’t Skip Meals
Is skipping meals during the day to cut calories in anticipation of an evening of calorie overload your strategy to prevent weight gain and feeling bloated during the holidays? It’s not fun to have to white-knuckle hunger and cravings all day so you can ‘go crazy’ later on.
The truth is, skipping meals to prevent weight gain usually backfires, especially if your normal diet is carbohydrate heavy.
It may seem logical to ‘save up’ your calories to ‘use’ later at a holiday party or dinner where you’re planning to indulge (or overindulge) in holiday goodies, but this strategy will backfire on you because it can mess with your metabolism.
Skipping meals can throw your blood sugar out of whack and raise the stress hormone cortisol, both of which can turn your hunger into intense, willpower-shattering cravings (crudités just won’t satisfy), while shutting down your body’s ability to burn fat.
To keep your metabolism on an even keel during the holidays:
- Eat your usual meals at the usual times
- Eat lots of vegetables and some protein (If these aren’t your usual food choices, now’s a good time to start eating them on a regular basis)
- Avoid eating blood sugar disrupting starchy and/or sugary, refined, or processed foods during the day. This will also help you avoid getting into a holiday sugar eating cycle.
- Increase your fiber intake. Fiber will keep you full long after you’ve eaten and will slow digestion, keeping your metabolism on an even keel.
Up your fiber intake by having more non-starchy, green leafy vegetables (have a big salad for lunch), adding ground flax seed or chia to whatever you’re eating, or take a few capsules of psyllium seed husk with your meals. Try the Chia Pudding recipe (below) for a big, filling fiber hit before you go out.
When you don’t ‘party starved’ you’ll easily avoid the physical (and mental) discomfort from holiday indulging. Your metabolism will thank you.
Recipe (fiber): Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
Makes 1 serving
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl or jar.
Cover, place in the fridge to let gel overnight (or for at least 4 hours). Before you dig in, check to be sure the pudding has thickened and the chia seeds have gelled.
Serve the pudding with cream, coconut milk or some fresh or frozen berries.
Tip: For a different flavor, try adding some cinnamon, cardamom, unsweetened cocoa powder, matcha tea or nut butter to your chia pudding. The possibilities are endless!