During the holidays, “more” is a popular motto. Whether that means spending more money on gifts or eating more food more often, the holidays typically encourage excess – often resulting in an increase in waste and waist. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are simple steps you can take to indulge yourself, without overindulging. Continue reading
As we become a more food-savvy society, consumers are looking beyond the supermarket shelf and exploring how their food is produced. Where does all this food come from?
Consider that, for example, livestock production – which includes meat, milk and eggs – contributes
40 percent of global agricultural gross domestic product, and uses one-third of the world’s fresh water (1). As one article put it, “There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock.” (1)
- Initiating an eating episode when there is no physiological need
- Eating too much during an eating episode
1. Use liquid vegetable oils for cooking and baking. Olive, canola, and other plant-based oils are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Try dressing up a salad or roasted vegetables with an olive oil-based vinaigrette.
2. Avoid trans fat. Read labels to find foods without trans fats. You should also scan the ingredient list to make sure it does not contain partially hydrogenated oils.
1. Upgrade the protein on your plate. The Healthy Eating Plate encourages you to eat protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken, or eggs in place of less-healthy options like red and processed meats.
For example, try a turkey or black bean burger instead of a traditional beef burger. Or slice up a fresh-roasted chicken breast or salmon for your sandwich instead of using processed high-sodium lunch meat.
Eating a healthy diet isn’t simply a matter of knowing what to eat – though that’s a major factor. It’s also about knowing how to acquire and prepare such foods, and last but certainly not least, it’s about being able to afford these healthier foods. One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is the belief that it’s expensive, a topic explored in a paper (1) coauthored by HSPH’s Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian.
The holiday season brings parties, presents and an endless array of festive foods. Some people adopt a holiday eating or exercise strategy to offset all the snacking and sipping, while others willingly overindulge, planning to start the new year with a clean slate and new diet plan — the popular but usually ineffective “I’ll start tomorrow” strategy.
Shared meals are a highlight of the holidays. And while it’s easy to overindulge when there are so many delicious dishes on the table, desserts can be especially easy to overeat.
- A 2013 study examining how sugar and fat affect regions of the brain related to overeating showed that when it comes to food cravings, sugar has a stronger impact than fat. (1)
With a few simple tips, you can enjoy sweet treats without overdoing it. Avoiding sugar altogether might be an unrealistic option, but with the right “sugar strategy,” you can indulge wisely.
1. If you don’t drink, there’s no need to start.
For some people—especially pregnant women, people recovering from alcohol addiction, people with a family history of alcoholism, people with liver disease, and people taking one or more medications that interact with alcohol—drinking can be dangerous and harmful to health. There are other ways to boost your heart health and lower your risk of diabetes, such as getting more active, staying at a healthy weight, or eating healthy fats and whole grains.