The best way to keep weight gain at bay.
Diwali has come and gone, leaving in its wake a refrigerator busting with boxes of mithai, chocolates and more. Festivities equal rich food and an endless array of calorific treats and sweets. Women are prone to snacking, not a bad habit in itself. In fact many nutritionists urge you to snack every couple of hours. It’s the quality of what you eat that is all important. Wolfing down a samosa or two kaju katlis or packets of namkeen is hardly what the doctor ordered. Sure, most of us struggle with mindless eating when we’re bored, lonely, stressed or preoccupied, feeling terribly guilty when we can’t get into our favorite jeans. Help is at hand though. Simply follow these eight practical healthy eating tips to boost your will power and slim your tummy.
# 1: Stop buying unhealthy snacks
Remember this simple dictum: If it’s not in your pantry or office desk drawer you can’t eat it. To make sure you stay away from unhealthy snacks (think chips, frozen packets of French fries, colas, ice cream, ready to eat treats and biscuits) don’t buy them in the first place. Go food shopping after lunch or breakfast. You’re less likely to buy unhealthy foods when you’re feeling full. Make a list of foods to buy and stick to the list.
# 2: Don’t skip meals
Had a heavy dinner or big dessert? That doesn’t mean you skip breakfast altogether. By mid- morning you’ll be so hungry you’ll wolf down anything that comes your way. Carry healthy snacks while on the go, such as apples, roasted channa, yoghurt dip with sliced carrots or a whole wheat vegetable toasty. Small, fiber rich snacks between meals is the key to keep hunger pangs at bay and stop you from nibbling at every chakli, potato wafer and slice of cake that comes your way!
# 3: Beware hidden fats and sugars in ‘healthy’ snacks
From sugar-free chocolate and low-fat chips to energy bars and ‘healthy’ cookies, there are countless foods that pack a ton of hidden calories. If it’s truly ‘low fat’ it makes up for it in sugar calories or vice versa. Take health bars for instance. Sure they contain dry fruit, nuts and oats, all ‘healthy’ treats but held together with sticky fructose that isn’t so healthy. Zero sugar ice cream has enough fat to clog your arteries. The problem is, manufacturers pile on the sugar or salt or fat to make the snack palatable even though it’s touted ‘zero something or another’. Nykaa’s advice: Eat a small portion of the ‘real’ thing to satisfy your craving. Then eat your usual healthy snacks such as apples, air popped corn or kurmura.
# 4: Brush your teeth after every meal
This is the best way to stop snacking. No one wants to pop a sticky snack into a clean, minty fresh mouth. Brushing after meals reduces plaque formation and tooth decay. Besides, you’ll promote healthy gums and teeth. So not just you, but your dentist too will be delighted with your new eating habits.
# 5: Drink lots and lots of water
Did you know that thirst is often mistaken for hunger because the brain can’t differentiate between the two? Each time you ‘feel hungry’ drink a glass, even two of water. Ten minutes later, if you still feel hungry eat a healthy snack.
# 6: Make each meal extra-tasty
Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. If you equate healthy with boiled spinach and insipid daal with a dry roti, you couldn’t be further from reality. You can eat your fill of a rainbow array of veggies and fruits, nuts, seeds, fish and chicken, cooked in a couple of teaspoons of oil and whole grains. Use spices to liven up the flavor of foods. Oil, butter and cheese simply drown the natural flavor of foods and after just a week of healthy eating, the thought of an oily gravy or deep fried cutlet will be revolting.
# 7: Work out when you’re most vulnerable
Each of us knows when we are at our weakest. Some of us get up in the morning feeling ravenous, others feel faint at lunch time and for many more, the 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. window is the toughest to get through. When untimely hunger pangs strike do something to divert your mind. Take a walk, call a friend, play with your kids or re-arrange your cupboard. Keep some healthy snacks handy just in case the urge is too strong to overcome.
# 8: Maintain a food diary
Rare is the woman—or man—who admits to unhealthy food habits. “But I hardly eat” is the common refrain of even the most portly among us. End this cycle of self-denial and self-deception by maintaining a food journal where you note down every morsel that crosses your lips, even if it’s a bite from your son’s burger or lick of your daughter’s ice cream. You’ll be surprised by the amount of junk that you end up consuming without realizing. In fact, a food diary is the best way to make you accountable for everything you eat and forces you to think twice before mindlessly nibbling on foods that are not particularly good for you.