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  • Dr. Nancy

5 Ways to Stay on Track During Sugar Season

Sugar Season is upon us. It starts with Halloween and goes through Valentine’s Day. Often times that means that for 1/3 of the year your health strategy becomes hijacked.

Warm Apple Tart Anyone?

There’s nothing better than knowing that you’re progressing in your wellness journey and sticking to your healthy eating. Nothing better, except that mini Snickers that your child received trick-or-treating or that slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

Actually, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around all bets are off in favor of pumpkin lattes, holiday parties and treats galore. Sugar Season is the season of gluttony.

To be clear, there really is nothing wrong with these treats in moderation, but sometimes those little treats lead to you completely straying from your path... and you might have trouble finding your way back. Before you know it, it is time for spring cleaning and the thought of bare-arms and wearing shorts (we are not even going to talk about putting on a bathing suit) has you in a downward self-confidence spiral.

It does not have to be this way. Here are 5 tips that can help keep you on track:

1. Don’t let one cheat meal throw off your entire week

Often, when we slip up and have a cheat meal or even a full day of unhealthy eating, we write off our hard work as “undone” and give up. We get back to unhealthy eating habits and steer right off the track.

We all indulge sometimes— don’t let one unhealthy meal or holiday party lead you to believe that you’ve undone all your progress. Simply get back on track and have a healthy, balanced meal for your next meal.

2. Eat whole, unprocessed foods

Instead of complicating the “healthy eating rules” and measuring, calculating, and recording everything you eat, just remember to eat real, unprocessed, whole foods. Be intentional.This makes things very simple for you. This means eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and proteins. Stay away from the pre-packaged meals and foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce. This will often save you money and is the healthiest way to fuel your body.

At parties stick to the veggie and fruit platters and avoid loading up your plate with sugary desserts. If you are uncertain what will be served, consider eating a salad before the party so you will not be as hungry and tempted by any unhealthy fare.

3. Plan and prepare your meals

The key to maintaining your healthy eating is always to be prepared. Don’t let a busy week leave you with no other option than to order takeaway. This time of year is especially busy and makes a strong case for meal-prepping. Dedicate one day in the week towards washing and cutting your veggies, preparing some staples such as brown rice, quinoa or chicken breast, and store them in the fridge, so you have healthy options for the entire week.

4. Keep an emergency food kit with you

Again, planning and preparing your meals is the most valuable thing you can do. If you’re hungry at the mall or your friend has no healthy snacks at her house, be prepared! Keep an emergency food kit with you. Pack a bag of nuts and seeds, homemade granola, hummus and carrots, an apple, or even some dark chocolate for dessert. Pack whatever healthy snacks YOU enjoy, so that you will actually eat them, and always keep a bottle of water with you.

5. Stop restricting yourself and enjoy life!

A healthy, sustainable lifestyle is all about balance. Don’t be so restrictive with your diet, or you will end up hating it, and you won’t enjoy the foods you eat. That’s no way to live life!

Eat healthy, whole foods, and occasionally indulge in a treat. No shame. No guilt. No judgement. A negative mindset surrounding food is much more destructive than treating yourself once in a while and really enjoying it.

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