As most of us know all too well, trying to eat healthy during the holidays is a tricky task. It’s easy to over-indulge with so many tasty treats around, but the good news is that you can avoid the post-season guilt with just a few easy steps.
We went to culinary chef and celeb holistic nutritionist Tricia Williams of Food Matters NYC to get her top tips on how to eat healthy and still enjoy ourselves at the same time. Read on to steal her stay-fit secrets!
1. Pregame with chia seeds. Before you party (and eat) the night away, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to a glass of water. Rich in antioxidants and minerals, these little seeds expand in your stomach, curbing cravings while reducing inflammation. "Chia seeds will make you feel fuller longer," Williams says. "It’s the same philosophy as having nuts beforehand, but chia seeds don't have the calories nuts do."
RELATED: Quick and Easy Chia Seed Recipes
2. Plan your calories. If you know you're going to indulge for dinner, plan your day of eating ahead of time so you can monitor your caloric intake. "If you're planning on consuming more than 800 calories in one sitting, have a green juice for breakfast and a lighter lunch so you can prepare to splurge for the night out," Williams says. Low glycemic foods like oatmeal or quinoa with fresh berries are also great options. Since they metabolize slowly, you'll feel fuller longer.
3. Be a food snob. Scope out the spread before you chow down. What makes your mouth water? Zero in on that and steer clear of the rest. If you can muster, stay away from bread, cheese, and crackers, and reach for the shrimp and tuna tartar instead. "Shrimp is actually low in calories compared to most of the appetizers typically out there—just make sure you go light on the cocktail sauce," Williams says. "Tuna Tartar is another good option."
4. Stay away from grains. "What's interesting is that I find people consume less alcohol if they're consuming less grains," Williams says. "They really go hand in hand. It works but it's tough for people to follow. You could easily go up to 2,000 or 3,000 calories at a party with a few glasses of wine, so it's definitely something to try!"
5. BYOD. If appropriate, bring your own dish! It's a foolproof method of ensuring that you'll have a delicious, healthy option that you actually like. "If you're bringing a dessert, it's really easy to swap out refined white flour for oat flour," Williams says. "You can also substitute coconut sugar for white sugar. It has fewer calories and you won't experience the crash."
6. Have a plant-based plate. While navigating the buffet table, make sure 80 percent of your plate is plant-based. The rest should be mostly protein and a little bit of fat. "Allow room for a tiny dessert, but try to fill up on as many veggies as you can," Williams says. "And your protein portion should always be the size of the palm of your hand."
For additional info on Tricia Williams and more of her healthy eating tips, check out foodmattersnyc.com.