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HOW TO ENJOY THE HOLIDAY FOOD WITHOUT ANY GUILT

By Panagiota Karakasidou, Nutritionist-Dietitian

Despite the constant developments in the science of nutrition, the festive nutritional myths still have a constant presence during Christmas. One of the prevailing nutritional myths is that excessive consumption of a variety of delicacies is imposed on festive dinners, which also leads to weight gain.

What we need to clarify is that “weigh” and “fatten” have two completely different meanings. Out of the two, the verb “fatten” has acquired a wrong meaning, due to which many foods have been blamed. To be exact though, the real meaning of the verb is consuming foods disproportionate to the organic needs with the excess being stored in fat.

Here are 10 simple nutritional tips in order to enjoy the holiday food without any guilt:

IT IS NOT A COMPETITION FOR WHO WILL EAT MORE.
The emotional relationship of love for others is not directly related to how much food we will offer them or how much food we will accept to consume.

AVOID STRICT DIETS BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS.
By following a balanced diet throughout the year, the body acquires better hormonal balance, better hydration and therefore better fat burning. Therefore, it can properly metabolize the most caloric foods of festive meals, without fat storage.

FOCUS ON THE FREQUENCY & COMBINATION OF MEALS.
The trinity of “something fresh, a source of protein, a complex carbohydrate” becomes more important during the holidays.

ACTIVATE YOUR METABOLISM.
By eating the fruit or the salad first at the festive table, the body secretes the appropriate digestive enzymes and activates fat burning. Then you can proceed with whichever delicacy you want, since no food is forbidden!

TRY NOT TO SAY NO…
If a “no” is needed, it is in processed foods, foods full of preservatives and some ways of cooking. You do not need to deep fry or fry your food to make it taste good.

PREFER TRADITIONAL FOOD.
The Greek Christmas tradition includes many healthy foods, such as lamb or pork roasted in their own fats, greens and vegetables. Even the traditional sweets, melomakarona and kourabiedes, if you consume them 3 hours after your meal, your body will be able to digest them. A fruit before and a mountain tea along with the dessert will not only hydrate the body, but also activate the elimination mechanisms of unnecessary substances.

PREPARE YOUR DISH.
Whatever you eat, eat it on your plate and enjoy it! Chew your food well, taste it properly and stop when you feel full. Notice which foods from the festive table you really want and start with them.

SMILE.
By smiling at those around you, you will be able to avoid emotional overeating. Share those smiles generously!

KEEP MOVING.
Your body won’t lose its shape in just two days. However, maintaining a healthy weight requires a negative calorie balance. Therefore, go for a long walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, dance. To better build muscle and regulate the feeling of satiety, which may be disorganized during the holidays, you can add vegan protein powder to your diet post-workout.

MOISTURIZE.
Water is the main component of the body. Adequate hydration also contributes to fat burning. So don’t forget to drink plenty of water or a herbal infusion in-between meals (mountain tea, chamomile, mint, fennel), to stay hydrated and avoid snacking due to dehydration.

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