We all want to throw food caution to the wind when it comes to the holidays and the food orgy that comes along with them. Problem is that an awful lot of eating transpires from Halloween to New Year's Day. And the kind of eating that we do is mostly chock full of treats, and caloric entrees, and caloric laden alcoholic drinks, and creamy dips and delectable desserts. That can mean extra pounds and some unpleasant digestive changes, especially in a dieter or someone who has been mostly eating healthfully. So just maybe, if there is one thing we track through the eight weeks from October 31st to the New Year, it should be our daily fiber intake.
Why fiber? Because if you target eating a certain amount of fiber daily, it will guarantee that you are consuming whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes which are all super healthy foods. So while you go off the grid, in terms of full time healthy eating, if you incorporate some of these foods in small portions daily, you will offset the negative health impact of the holiday gorging going on. You may also find that you can control portion sizes or frequency of consumption of all those holiday goodies since fiber-tich foods tend to be quite satiating. So they may help you with portion control when it comes to the specialty foods being offered.
What can adequate daily fiber do for your health?
It protects against heart disease
It may help with weight control
It may help to keep body mass (BMI) at healthy levels
It may help to lower risk of diabetes type 2
It may help to fight certain types of cancer
So which foods are high in fiber?
Barley, oats and air popped popcorn, quinoa and brown or wild rice.
Black, kidney, pinto beans, green and split peas
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Almonds, flaxseed, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts
You can already see how easy it would be to include these foods in recipes or to even swap out certain ingredients for these. Make a green salad with walnuts and strawberries. Create a vegetable and brown rice side dish. Make almond and pumpkin muffins with unsweetened applesauce. Make a hearty bean chili and use "sourdough" bread bowls to serve it. Make sure every meal includes berries for dessert. Start every day with a bowl of slow-cooked oats, add some berries and flaxseed and a sprinkle of almonds. That morning meal will sustain you and may help you to pick and choose small treats rather than fueling on them through out the day. Remember that you need to look at the "totality of celebratory foods" in terms of really being clued in to just how much food gorging is going on. Often times we simply feel an isolated celebration is justified and we don't add up all the days of festive eating that continues through the end of the year holiday season.
So this holiday season sing the mantra, "Go fiber...go fiber."
Published On: October 19, 2011