The winter holidays are deliciously social and festive. Enjoying time with loved ones by indulging in that extra piece of cake or sipping that 4th glass of wine is all, of course, necessary and an act of self love to feel happy in the moment but what I hope to provide is a way to maintain that winter glow and feeling of happiness even after the holidays are over!
As New Years resolutions begin to resurface in common conversation, especially when it comes to weight management, it is always good to reacquaint oneself with the foods that can help with some of these goals. I have listed below a handful of nourishing, whole foods that you can incorporate into your diet in the New Year to manage and stabilize weight, supporting you to feel your best coming into 2017!
Along with the importance of diet, there are key lifestyle choices to keep in mind for supporting overall health.
- Getting optimal hours of a deep, uninterrupted sleep are incredibly necessary for weight management
- Managing food consumption, as well as properly chewing your food
- Consuming a minimum of 8 cups of water daily
- Opting out of purchasing or eating processed, deep fried, over-cooked or GMO foods
- Daily exercise
With the abundance of so many health related tips and tricks out there it’s hard to know which ones will work for you. The foods I’ve listed below work on a grand scale to assist one’s appetite control, support proper elimination, supply nutrients and provide energy.
Calories in, calories out, is the old mentality of how weight loss works. However, research shows that it is the quality of the calories in that has a big impact on shedding extra pounds and feeling your best. Consuming high sugar, processed foods or choosing man-made low-fat food items are not recognized by the body and therefore, broken down much differently than whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean proteins. Ensuring the majority of food you consume in a day involves whole foods is a major step in achieving optimal weight management. Fibrous foods are also important, as they have been shown to promote weight loss, by decreasing insulin levels and enhancing blood sugar control.
It’s a very high soluble fiber food, and can help induce a sense of satiety, causing one to feel full and therefore less likely to overeat or have those sugar cravings. Incorporate into a warm oatmeal, sprinkle on a salad, add to your favorite smoothie or simply mix on its own in warm water. Psyllium is referred to as a powerful bulking agent, be sure to drink plenty of water when consuming to keep bowels thoroughly moving.
Gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, this popular superfood is high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and numerous beneficial antioxidants. Being an incredible source of plant based protein, quinoa helps to increase ones metabolism, provide energy, stabilize appetite and reduce cravings. Quinoa is a low glycemic index food, resulting in little to no blood sugar spikes, aiding in optimal weight management. The high quality of the fiber provides a satisfyingly full feeling, which is why it is a great addiction to your new years repertoire.
Honest fact: healthy fats aid in weight loss and do NOT make you fat! Avocados are rich in health-promoting monounsaturated fatty acids, which work to speed up the process of taking new and stored fats and turning them into beneficial energy. They contain a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and Vitamin E, providing positive mood boosting properties, preventing blood sugar spikes, and supplying one with the nutrients needed for healthy, soft and glowing hair and skin… what’s not to love!
Packed with fiber and incredibly nourishing, oats are an exceptional food choice for weight management. They digest slowly in the body and have a very minor effect on blood sugar levels, keeping that full feeling for longer. FYI: Oats are available as a gluten-free option as well.
Apples are a great sweet and crunchy snack as they are high in fiber and reasonably low in natural sugars, considered a low glycemic food. They not only assist with ones weight but provide immune health support because of the added vitamins!
Green leafy vegetables:
Kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard are a few high quality, health promoting, leafy greens that provide the body with an abundance of beneficial properties in supporting ones overall health. They contain various vitamins, minerals and fiber, providing optimal nourishment, support for proper elimination, digestive tract health, and immunity strength! The health of the digestive tract will directly effect weight.
Fish that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids are cold water oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies or herring. Omega 3 fatty acids lower your insulin levels, block fat storage in your body, and help speed ones metabolic rate.
Flax seed, chia, walnuts and spinach:
These foods help to lower the stress hormone cortisol. We want to ensure we consume omega-3 fatty acids especially when feeling stressed. Stress causes insulin and cortisol levels to be elevated in the body, which increases blood sugar levels and slows weight loss by storing fat, in this case most often in the abdominal area. Keep your stress levels managed and consume Omega 3s daily for optimal results!
These high-fat, high-protein, little nuts are an ideal snack choice throughout the day, especially when keeping your weight in mind. They are metabolism boosting and nutritionally dense providing a great source of vitamin E, protein, and fiber. Only a small handful with keep one feeling satisfied, contently full and assist in the blood sugar levels so fewer sweet cravings arise.
These luscious red veggies support weight management by promoting the body to release a special hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK boosts ones feelings of fullness and satiety, minimizing overeating and the strong sugar cravings that may come up throughout the day. They also work powerfully in controlling the appetite and have a powerful effect on reducing cholesterol.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Breaking down food that is being consumed and absorbing the nutrients is undeniably just as important as the food we choose. Apple cider vinegar creates an acidic environment in the stomach, working to combat low stomach acid. ACV contains beneficial probiotics and digestive enzymes that promote a healthy digestive tract, resulting in regular elimination that positively effects weight management, ones mental/emotional mood, energy levels and so much more.
Broccoli is high in chromium, a mineral that works to increase insulin sensitivity throughout the body and help to control blood sugar levels. This green veggie is low in calories, packed with essential nutrients and very high in fiber, which contributes one to feel full and satisfied longer, as well support the digestive tract in eliminating built up toxins found throughout the gut.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are a great way to re-establish healthy gut flora and improve bowel health, mood and energy. It is recommended to incorporate some form of fermented food into your day – whether it be kimchi chopped onto a salad, kefir with granola or a kombucha, this will improve digestion, nutrient absorption, and promote proper bowel health.
High in antioxidants and fiber while low in calories, pomegranates are a wonderful holiday fruit and are incredibly versatile. Snack on this refreshing fruit raw, incorporate into baked goods, or sprinkle over salads. Consuming this sweet and sour fruit will keep you feeling full for longer with the high amount of fiber, prevent oxidative stress and stimulate/support weight management.
Low calorie, fiber rich cabbage helps to control appetite by keeping you feeling full for longer. It is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. Not only promoting weight management, but supporting one’s skin, hair and mood throughout this winter season.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are extracted from coconut oil and boost the body’s ability to burn fat and lose weight by increasing metabolic rate. MCTs are easier to digest and not stored as fat like the long-chain fatty acids found in plant-based oils such as safflower oil. Try adding MCT oil to your morning coffee or smoothie. A tip: Make sure you start off with only half a teaspoon and work your way up to a tablespoon, as your body will need to adjust to this form of pure fat.
This spice helps regulate blood sugar levels and speeds up your metabolism. You need to consume at least 1 teaspoon daily to reap the benefits. Cinnamon also has a warming sweet taste, which can satisfy a sugar craving.