5 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Festive Season

Food and Healthcare Press Releases Friday December 1, 2017 17:17
Bangkok--1 Dec--Hill+Knowlton Strategies
By 'Chef Nan' Hongwiwat, Chef and Lifestyle influencer

With New Year just around the corner, it's the best time to celebrate with loved ones and indulging in guilty-pleasure foods. Because let's be honest, when it comes to celebrating, healthy eating might not be the priority. But with some smart and simple tips, it easily can be!

As a chef, I always get plenty of requests asking for healthy weight-loss food recipes, especially in the festive season. But my philosophy is to integrate healthier habits during festive times and not only does your family still have a great shared time, but your waistline will thank you later. And coming from a chef who loves food, you know I wouldn't make it hard for you!

If you always end up regretting holiday weight-gain, today let me help you with my best healthy tips, tried and tested over years of catering celebrations and cooking for the family.
1. Drink more water

With all the tantalizing foods at parties, it can be hard to resist. Don't fret! There's a zero-effort way to resist food cravings. Always keep a glass of water close to you, and sip constantly. When you drink water, it tricks your body into thinking it's already full, explained Dr. Amanda Daley, Behavioral Medicine Specialist from University of Birmingham[1], making it an easy yet effective way to prevent excessive calorie intake. A small sip of plain water between each bite also slows down your eating process, without adding any calories and keeps you hydrated too.

2. Eat more fiber

Whether you are planning to cook or eat out this New Year, remind yourself to fill half your plate with plant-based foods such as vegetables, nuts and fruits which are the best natural sources of fiber. Besides benefiting digestive system functionality, plant-based foods make you satiated much sooner. Research published in 'Nature Communications' Journal explains that when your body digests fiber it releases acetate that travels to the brain's 'hypothalamus' area, which triggers chemical reactions that suppress hunger[2]. So, whenever I cook for my extended family, I always make sure that I double the vegetable-based dishes to fill everyone up with healthier alternatives.

3. Cook at home, with good ingredients

Not only do home-cooked meals offer a relaxed way to socialize with family, it also offers significant health advantages because we have control over what ingredients we use. One of my favorite tips is to switch to a healthier plant-based cooking oil such as olive oil. This is because apart from making your food taste even better, olive oil provides plentiful scientifically-proven health benefits. Olive oil contains a high level of healthy fats like monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) which help lower the risks of heart disease and stroke[3], making it one of the best cooking oils for you and your family. And for those of you who are concerned about consuming oil because of weight gain, a recent study published in the Biochemistry journal[4], proves that a phenolic compound in olive oil can help you lose weight.

4. Stay active

We all know it's a real challenge to squeeze a workout into your day with all the social gatherings you have been invited to. But it can be done - it just takes a bit of creativity. I like to workout first thing when I wake up, then it's done for the day. Another trick when I'm at a party is I try to walk around and mingle with others. This helps you focus on socializing, rather than tempting party food. Or why not hit the dancefloor at the party and show your best moves! It's a fun way to offset those 'holiday dish' calories.

5. Everything in moderation

I have one more secret rule that makes sure a chef, who could eat all day, stays healthy. And it's simple: eat until you are 80% full. The phrase, translated from the Japanese saying "Hara Hachi Bun Me," is scientifically proven to be behind Okinawa's longevity secret. A simple hack I always do is cutting myself a slice of chocolate cake, and sharing with my wife. This way, us chocoholics both can enjoy the taste of chocolate cake without having to over indulge.

I hope you enjoy my easy tips for holiday-season healthy lifestyles! The last advice I have for you is that the best present you can give yourself and your family, is healthy ingredients that taste good and also look after your health in the long-run.


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