Here is Your Holiday Meal Survival Guide
By Jonny Bowden
Yes, you can indulge as long as you do some simple macronutrient balancing
The holidays are here but that doesn’t mean you have to choose between staying true to your diet and indulging in your favorite seasonal dishes. Nutrition Myth Buster Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS has an easy approach to eating without denying yourself or spiking your blood sugar level.
“Around the holidays, there are a lot of pressures to eat foods we might otherwise avoid,” he observes. “Here’s the good news. You don’t have to fill your plate with just one or two dishes and skip the rest. In fact, I’m strongly advising you against that!”
Bowden says these five simple holiday eating survival tips will help you relax and enjoy the festivities without feeling overwhelmed or guilty.
Don’t come hungry. “Everyone makes this mistake. It’s the exact opposite of what you should do. Arriving hungry for a big meal is a guarantee you’ll overeat, and you’ll release even more insulin in response to blood sugar.”
To stave off hunger, one of the best things you can do is to eat more nuts. “They’re satiating, and they have fiber and protein plus minerals and good fats.”
Think of food ingredients like your circle of friends. “You may have friends you confide in and friends you attend games with. They’re not necessarily the same people. But they all add value to your life. Start thinking of foods the same way. Salmon has omega-3s but no fiber. Some high-fiber foods have no omega-3s. Foods have many different components that work together to create a net gain or net loss.”
Don’t skip foods because single-ingredient studies warn of dire health consequences. “Those studies are almost always flawed. When researchers separate an ingredient from its natural food source, then feed it in massive amounts to lab rats, you’ll nearly always get unreliable results. I recently saw a study condemning palmitic acid, which the body makes on its own! It’s also found in lots of foods, such as avocados, cheese, coconut oil, and palm oil. They singled out palm oil, but it is rich in heart- and brain-healthy tocotrienols and carotenoids. Study after study has proven how nutritious it is!”
Fill your plate with a balance of each macronutrient. “As soon as you start eating just carbs, just proteins or just fats, you’re going to start having problems. You’re better off eating a little bit of everything on the table. Eating balanced amounts of all three macronutrients will fill you up and keep you satisfied, without outrageously spiking your blood sugar. Start with eating the protein, then dig into the carbs.”
Bowden also advises walking for 10 to 15 minutes after eating. “You’ll feel so much better and your digestive system will work so much better. It’s a tradition to walk on Thanksgiving but it should be something you do every night after a meal.”
Biography: Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”) is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health, and the best-selling author of 15 books on health. Dr. Jonny — a former professional pianist and conductor — earned six certifications in personal training and fitness, has a Master’s degree in psychology, a PhD in holistic nutrition, and is board certified by the American College of Nutrition. He has written, contributed to or consulted on hundreds of articles in publications as diverse as the New York Times, People, Us, O the Oprah Magazine, In Style, Vanity Fair Online, People, GQ, Forbes Online, Clean Eating, the Huffington Post and countless others.
He is the best-selling author of 15 books, including “Living Low Carb”, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” and his latest, the revised and expanded version of “The Great Cholesterol Myth” (2020).