By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
The holiday season only comes once a year and we can’t totally say no to the usual Noche Buena, Media Noche spread on the table. Most if not all are calorie laden, high in saturated fat and sugar. That is why instead of depriving yourself, practice portion control, increase physical activity to burn those excess fats and calories and consume the following that will help you skip the Santa belly.
Apples, oranges, citrus peels, pears, guava, and carrots have a lot of things in common nutrition wise but we seldom recognize these bright colored fresh produce for their pectin content. Pectin is a soluble fiber that aids in lowering bad cholesterol and keeping you from accumulating abdominal fat. While you are building your appetite in preparation for the Christmas feast, have some fresh fruits or carrot sticks earlier during the day. Too lazy to munch on those crunchy fruits and veggies? Try making a smoothie. Blend an apple, an orange, and a carrot. It’s not only refreshing but also filling.
Oatmeal may taste bland and boring for some people but with creative cooking, it can be turned into a tasty breakfast or snack meal that could either be sweet or savory. Enjoy it with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, nuts, and banana slices or use it to cook arroz caldo instead of the usual white rice. You can even try to make your own blend. Oatmeal has soluble fiber that binds with cholesterol in order to be flushed out of the body. Declog your arteries, keep your heart healthy, and achieve a flatter tummy this season.
Fatty fishes like tuna, salmon, and sardines are all rich in the essential fatty acid omega 3. It is good for the heart, brain, immunity, and even skin. Omega 3 increases the good cholesterol HDL and decreases bad cholesterol LDL and VLDL. Prepare dishes with fatty fishes during meals that are not meant for feasting. Save the red meats like lechon or hamon for special occasions and eat fish or chicken on regular days. Other sources of omega 3 include chia seeds, flax seed, hemp seeds, kiwi fruit seeds, and walnuts, which can all be added to drinks and dishes specially salads.
Yogurt and probiotic drinks contain live micro-organisms that promote gut health as well as boost the immune system. Indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation are common during the holidays due to the type and amount of food consumed. Yogurt and probiotic drinks will help keep the harmful bacteria at bay. They also aid in proper digestion to prevent stomach upset and bloating. If you do not fancy the taste of these tart tasting food items, combine them with fruit smoothies. Use yogurt as salad dressings or dips.
Practice mindful eating during the holidays by consuming everything in moderation. Balance is the key. As I always say, there is no good or bad food, there are bad eating habits, which wreak havoc with our health and make the belly protrude.