Step 4 – Regular eating

Eat more meals

You know how it goes. You jump out of bed in the morning, rush to get yourself showered and dressed and then it’s all about getting the kids dressed and fed before school. You hardly have time to grab something to eat before you rush out of the door. Then you get busy at work. The only thing you consume until 11:00 is four cups of coffee. Eventually at lunchtime you’ll have something to eat, and then it’s famine again until supper. What are we doing? We’re basically telling our bodies that we’re starving for the biggest part of the day, and because we usually don’t eat breakfast our metabolism never even wakes up. Our body stores everything that it ingests, because it doesn’t know when it’s going to be fed again.

Useful tips

Three keys to survival during the Festive Season

To make the festive season a healthier one, it’s important to do three things: Practice awareness, manage your stress and emotions, and plan in advance.

1. Practice awareness

Be conscious of what you eat and how much .Allow yourself some special treats but have moderate servings. When there’s a lot of food available, try an appetizer-sized helping of each dish instead of dishing up a full serving. This is not the best time for weight loss but try to maintain your weight over this period. We can do this by getting back to basics the next day, or meal, and accept that there are going to be a few celebration treats during this time period.Be sure to keep it all in perspective, don’t give up but rather prioritise the times that you do stray and try not to over indulge. Remember that a healthy mind produces healthy thoughts so always look for opportunities to move.Take walks,play ball games with your children or tread water for a few minutes while swimming.

2. Manage stress and emotions

One way to keep stress at a minimum is to lower your expectations about holidays. Ask for help to lighten your holiday schedule. Learn to say “no,” in a courteous manner, to activities and food that aren’t in your best interest. If you’re sad about a loss, turn to people for comfort instead of food and try to start new traditions . And again another way to deal with emotions is to make sure exercise remains a priority in your life. Exercise can be a great stress reliever.

3. Plan in advance

Eat a little before you go to a holiday gathering; hunger can undo the best intentions. Also, avoid sources of temptation whenever you can. After visiting a buffet, leave the room that’s filled with food. If there are sweets in the office break room, don’t go there. If you’re given unhealthy food as a gift, bring it to the office to share. If you’re traveling for the holidays, pick up some healthy, portable snacks at the grocery store before you leave so you’re less likely to be tempted by unhealthy options. Think about what really matters during this busy time of year, and plan accordingly.

Eating out the healthy way

“Would you like that ‘super-sized’?” is a common question at fast-food restaurants. The large portions we’re served when eating out at restaurants and take-out establishments can foil any healthy diet or weight loss program. The good news is that eating out healthfully has never been easier.

Whether you’re on the road, in an airport, or in your neighbourhood, you’ll find that nearly all restaurants offer healthy choices for discriminating diners. When eating out, you can almost always find a nutritious salad, grilled chicken sandwich, or cup of soup that will satisfy your hunger without excess calories. (Just watch out for “all you can eat” buffets that tempt you into eating more than you should.)

At restaurants, “have it your way” — ask for the food to be prepared the way you like it. And be picky when scanning the offerings at parties, picnics, or braais. When eating with friends at a party or a picnic, your best bet is bring a healthy dish to share. That way, you can be sure there’s something nutritious for you to eat.

Experts offer the following tips to help you make the most nutritious and healthy choices when you’re eating out:

  • Have sauces served on the side.
  • Choose light salad dressings or vinaigrettes, served on the side.
  • Go for foods that are baked, broiled, roasted, grilled — any preparation other than fried is the best choice.
  • Select broth-based soups.
  • Have tomato or vegetable toppings on pasta.
  • Go easy on the cheese.
  • Limit bread, chips, or whatever is in the basket while you await your meal.
  • Order fresh fruit or fruit sorbet for dessert.
  • Choose grilled chicken or lean meat sandwiches.
  • Hold the french fries; substitute a side salad (easy on the dressing).
  • Skip the casseroles unless you know what they contain.
  • Choose simply prepared foods without lots of extra ingredients and calories.
  • Enjoy as many simply prepared vegetables as you like.
  • Keep portions small.
  • Avoid mindless hand-to-mouth eating.
  • Enjoy a salad and a starter in place of a main meal, or take home half your meal for tomorrow’s lunch.

Mason jar salads

If you’re always looking for a quick and healthy on-the-go lunch, these Mason Jar Salads can’t be beat. By mastering the technique of laying dressing first, then sturdy vegetables, then green leaves on top, these easy salads never get soggy. Pour the remnants into a wide bowl and toss lightly, or shake the jar and eat straight from the jar. However you prefer to eat it, these simple salad recipes can be made ahead of time and enjoyed all throughout the week. Healthy doesn’t get any easier or more beautiful than this. Look at all those great colours!

There are a lot of advantages to using these jars for individual salads:

  • You can make up a few jarred salads at the beginning of the week and have them in your fridge all week.
  • If you have jarred salads in your fridge, you are more likely to grab one of those for lunch or dinner than junk food
  • The jars are glass for people who want to avoid eating out of plastic
  • They are great for picnics or cookouts
  • They keep your greens very fresh
  • If you pack a lunch for work, these are easy to grab in the morning.

The combinations are endless.  You can add cooked chicken, pasta, chickpeas – anything you want.  The salads stay fresh in the fridge for several days.  The pint sized jars make a perfect lunch salad or side salad.  If you want more of a meal, you can use the regular quart size jars and add more ingredients.