It’s said, “It’s not what you do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that matters most for your diet, it’s what you do in between New Years and Thanksgiving that counts.”
Makes sense. Throughout the year, we try to make healthy choices, maintain a good diet, and get plenty of exercise. But during the holiday season, we celebrate together, and more often than not, indulge in food and drinks outside of our normal habits.
Eat Mindfully, Not Mindlessly
With all these temptations, you’ll want a plan in place so you won’t pack on the pounds while you enjoy the festivities. Add Nutrimeal™ as a meal replacement, and you’ll savor the holidays while maintaining a healthy diet.
Try This, Not That
Nutrimeal is a low-glycemic shake, rich in dietary fiber and protein. Available in chocolate and vanilla flavors, Nutrimeal is the perfect, satisfying meal when you’re on the go. Best of all, it’s a great base to build your personalized shake. Blend it with fruits or vegetables to give it an extra flavorful boost. Or get into the season with these holiday-themed recipes. No matter how you enjoy Nutrimeal, you’ll get the following benefits:
15 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber
Complete non-GMO protein
Low-glycemic index to help reduce carbohydrate cravings and provide sustained energy, to help keep you feeling fuller, longer
As you get ready for your next family gathering, try these simple tricks to sample all your yummy favorites without the overeating misery:
Portion control. Don’t deprive yourself, just eat smaller portions and less often.
Eat when you’re hungry. Don’t eat just because food is available.
Slow down. Enjoy each bite and put your fork down as you chew.
Pay attention. Mindlessly snacking can lead to overeating. Make each meal count.
Sneak in a workout. It won’t offset all the calories you might eat, but it’ll help.
Know when and where you’ll be eating. You’re less likely to overdo it if you know you’ll be joining family for a larger dinner.
And when you’re making your holiday plans, add Nutrimeal into your routine. With these convenient, travel-sized pouches, you’ll be able to shake up some goodness as you rush from the office party to your next family function.
You don’t have to memorize the nutrient content of all your foods. You can thank nutrition facts labels for that. It isn’t necessary to recall the sodium content of your breakfast cereal off the top of your head every time you shop. But getting the most information from reading nutrition facts labels can be tough, too.
Here’s six tips for pulling out the facts that matter most to you:
Start with the Serving Size
Every number on that nutrition facts label means nothing without some context. The serving size provides the context you need.
All the amounts that follow are based on that servings size. Sometimes the whole package of food is a serving, but that’s not always the case. That’s why you have to be careful.
Relying on the label’s serving size is a good idea because you can’t trust your judgment. It’s not an insult to you—in general, people are terrible at gauging serving sizes. Research indicates the average person’s estimations are off somewhere between 40-150 percent. So, you could be eating double the number of calories you think you are.
Please fight the urge to skip right to calories or fat content. Don’t start down the label without checking the serving size to put everything else in context.
Figure Out the Type of Fat
Reading nutrition facts is often a dive into the macronutrient content of the food. That’s a helpful way to break things down and give you the information you need. But the raw numbers might not be enough to make good decisions.
This is especially true with fats.
Paying attention to the type of fat and where that fat comes from can be more important than the total number. You want to avoid trans fats, but saturated fat can be more nuanced. That’s why you need to look at the ingredient deck to figure out if the source of fat is vegetable-based (usually healthier) or animal-based (usually unhealthier). Going the extra step will help you make the healthy determination.
Check the Sugar and Find the Fiber
Fats aren’t the only macronutrient that requires extra investigation. When you’re reading nutrition facts labels, look at carbohydrates, but also note the sugar and fiber amount.
While you might avoid sugar, your diet can benefit from more fiber. These complex carbohydrates aid in healthy digestion and keep you feeling full for a longer time. And you only absorb about half of fiber’s calorie content. All these combined effects help fiber support your weight-maintenance efforts. Make sure to find the fiber when reading nutrition facts labels.
Pay Attention to Protein
Just because it’s the final macronutrient mentioned doesn’t mean protein you should ignore it when reading nutrition facts. Far from it. If you’re managing your weight or exercising, protein is key.
A lot of studies have shown dietary protein’s ability to support weight-management programs. An analysis of 51 studies found that a sufficient increase in protein—over 58 percent per day, on average—showed favorable weigh-management results.
A similar analysis showed that dietary protein increases showed favorable effects for muscle and strength during resistance training.
So, protein is a big plus for those focusing on diet and exercise. But it’s also important for general health. Dietary protein provides the essential amino acids your body needs to carry out its daily functions.
Don’t Miss the Micronutrients
The essential vitamins and minerals are listed on the label. This will help you see how much nourishment you’re actually getting from what you’re eating.
On most labels, you’ll also see a percentage of daily value. That number is based on recommended daily allowances, which are about avoiding deficiencies. It doesn’t consider optimal amounts needed to live your best life.
Sodium is one micronutrient you won’t find with the other vitamins and minerals. It’s typically listed with the macronutrients. And if you’re watching your sodium intake, check this important number.
Keep Your Health Goals in Mind
Every person is different. Everybody has different health goals. That makes each label look different to each individual.
You have to look at labels through the lens of your own health goals. When you do that, each number starts to take on new meaning. Here’s one example: if you’re managing your weight, a low-calorie count might be intriguing. But if you’re a body builder, high calories might be more important.
And don’t lose sight of the big picture. Put what you’re about to consume in the context of what you will or have eaten over the course of an entire day. Think of nutrition as a daily bank account. What have you put into your nutritional savings account and what will you be withdrawing?
Reading is Fundamental
Get in the habit of reading labels and learning about the nutritional composition of your food. Over time this becomes easier and eventually will become second nature. You’ll never have to memorize every detail. But at some point, you intuitively begin to know the nutrient content of the food choices in front of you. Educating yourself will help you reach for healthier alternatives to fuel your life.
This is all part of getting serious about your food. In coordination, you should write down your health goals. Then ask how you want food to fuel your life, and what ratios of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) make you feel the best and help you achieve the health you desire? After you have your health goals, utilize a nutrition facts panel to help you achieve them.
But, remember, there is still no substitute for eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible, exercising, choosing healthy sources of protein, and ensuring you get optimal amounts of all essential micro- and macro-nutrients your body needs for optimal health.
I think it’s safe to say, most everyone knows how crucial protein is in your diet. In the body, proteins break down amino acids that promote cell growth and repair. An added benefit: they take longer to digest than carbs, which means you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories. Whether you are a body builder or keep up a casual exercise regimen, no one can deny the power of protein.
So, how much protein do you need? It’s suggested that men eat between 1 and 1.5 grams and women eat between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Depending on the intensity of your exercise and training, you may need to eat closer to 2 grams.
I also think it’s safe to say that if asked, most of us would be pretty quick to say that most animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) are great sources of protein. But what if you don’t eat any animal products? Do you have to give up on your high-protein dreams? Absolutely not.
Thankfully, there are several high-protein options for those who choose a plant-based diet.
Foods in the legume family (green peas, lentils) are a great source of vegetarian protein. One cup contains 7.9 grams—about the same as a cup of milk. If you don’t like these foods as a side dish, try blending them into a pesto. a pesto or hummus.
Quinoa is my favorite grain and not just because I love the nutty taste! It contains 8 grams per cup as well as ALL NINE essential amino acids the body needs for growth and repair. You can eat it on its own or add it to soup. I sometimes swap out my morning oatmeal for quinoa—delicious!
Nuts and Nut Butter
All nuts contain healthy fats and protein, making them the perfect addition to a plant-based diet. It’s always best to choose varieties that are raw or dry roasted. If you’re selecting a nut butter, make sure to check the label to see if it has added ingredients. Manufacturers love to sneak in added sugars. Choose a brand with only salt or no additives.
With so many different varieties, it’s easy to find one you’ll love. While they all taste different, they have one thing in common: lots of protein. Two cups of beans contain about 26 grams! The best part? You don’t have to make them from scratch to reap the benefits. Simply rinse and heat canned beans and you’ve got yourself a high-protein dish!
You probably recognize the name from the famed Chia Pets, and yes, it’s the same plant! These seeds are delicious and contain 4.7 grams per two tablespoons. I love adding them to green smoothies, oatmeal, or even making chia seed pudding.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
I’m not going to argue with getting protein from chocolate! Unsweetened cocoa powder contains about 1 gram of protein per tablespoon and is the perfect thing to add to your protein shake or smoothie. Try it out with banana, peanut butter, and your favorite protein powder.