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How to get through the Easter meal without overindulging.

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Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing, and Easter brings a lot of chocolate and candy, lemon squares, butter tarts, chocolate eggs….

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days, and every once in a while, its okay to enjoy some special treats, but it doesn’t always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

How can we easily work our way around the pitfalls of those amazing meals?

Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Eat “mindfully”

At The Gardens, we talk about mindfulness – have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment, being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.  (Stretch-receptors – its a real thing!)

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

This will help: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), choose a smaller plate, and put your fork down between bites (like they do in Europe!).  Only choose foods that are “worth it” to you – you don’t have to take one of everything – but enjoy the things you do take.  I love butter tarts, but the dairy and gluten will make me regret it – is it worth it to me?  Not usually – but if I take it, I’d better enjoy it or the after effects of that dairy/gluten/sugar combo are just not worth it.

Start with the salad

You may be yearning for those rich, creamy main scalloped potatoes or lasagna, but don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you’ll get some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re not only full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”, and these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have a glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

Tasty, quick and beautiful pre-meal water ideas

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries

You can also go the savoury route – make a combo of beautiful herbs, or add some to cucumber slices – my favourites are mint and basil, but you could also use stevia, cilantro (great with peach slices), thyme or lemon balm.

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or super-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut, and will help keep your water colder longer.

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