We humans hate being told what to do. If you are a parent than you know that all too well! But its also true of us adults. Too many restrictions on our actions or choices and we will start to rebel. This is one of the reasons that strict diets rarely work long-term.
One thing that can be helpful, if you are trying to cut down or eliminate an unhealthy behaviour, is to change the way you think about it. Researchers consistently find that if dieters tell themselves they 'can't' have something, they are far less likely to adhere to this rule, than if they say, I 'don't' eat that. In other words, its a personal choice, not an imposed restriction.
When I read about this, I realized that I have naturally always done that. I don't eat sugar or refined carbs. I don't eat fried foods. I don't regularly consume red meat. And I never feel resentful. Actually, I don't really ever think about it. My diet just doesn't include these things.
Now I have lots of clients, and friends and family, who are unwilling to give up anything, when it comes to their diet. Even then, there is a simple way to keep some of your less healthy foods in your diet, and that is to ADD to it. Add large quantities of veggies and some fruit, and keep those not so nutritious foods portion controlled.
A super simple strategy to losing weight or simply improving your diet, is to use the healthy plate approach. This means filling half your plate with veggies at each meal, and one quarter each with protein and starch. You can even buy sectioned plates to help you do this!
This works so well because while you may be cutting portions down on carbs and protein, you are heaping your plate full of high fibre, low calorie goodness, so you won't be hungry!
If you are on a weight-loss plan, or are simply worried about gaining weight over the holidays, try this approach. It means you can still have small portions of your favorites (ham, turkey, stuffing, etc.), but won't be going overboard, and will still feel satisfied and energized by all that good veggie nutrition.
If your holiday table doesn't usually include many healthy veggie dishes. Make some to add and create new traditions! Vegetables need never be boring. One caveat though, avoid preparing your veggie dishes with lots of oil, butter, cheese, etc., or they are no longer low-cal.
ere are 2 flavour-packed veggie recipes to try:
6 medium sweet potatoes, diced
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
Grated fresh ginger, about 2 tbsp.
2 cloves garlic, minced
Toss sweet potatoes with all other ingredients. Spread on parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 375F for 45 minutes, or until tender.
Roasted Veggies with Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) and Orange
You can use whatever veggies you prefer, so modify as desired.
2 lbs Brussels sprouts
4 celery spears, sliced
1 cup dried and rehydrated shitaki mushrooms
1 onion, sliced
Zest and juice of 1 navel orange
1-2 tbsp. Korean hot pepper paste
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
If Brussels sprouts are large, cut them in half and discard tough outer leaves. Toss veggies with the other ingredients and spread out onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 375F for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
I have shared this post with Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday.