Top 8 Foods To Keep Your Spirits Up And Your Weight Down Over The Holidays

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

There is no question that there is more of an emphasis on tempting foods, decadent desserts, and specialty cocktails over the holiday season. There is also added stress due to the demands of the season and a higher workload with tighter deadlines at the office. During this time of the year many people are already dealing with feelings of melancholy and depression. Stress just becomes their permission slip to overeat and indulge in the merriment of the season (translation: excess food and booze).

Don’t worry, help is on the way. There are foods you can eat that will actually keep your blood sugar levels even out so you are better able to remain calm and not succumb to seasonal bouts of depression. And there are tricks you can implement and foods you can substitute that you will still be able to enjoy but not have to dread facing the scale the next day. Here is the list of top 8!

 

1. Chocolate

Yes, it’s true, chocolate is good for you. Just make sure that it is dark chocolate and it will help elevate your mood and alleviate any stress and tension you may be experiencing. The sweet treat is made up of an ingredient that mimics serotonin which is the chemical your body releases when you exercise and get that “runner’s high.” It also contains magnesium which provides the real calming effect.

 

2. Spinach

When you are out shopping and you stop for lunch, you may want to opt for a spinach salad. Spinach is not only an antioxidant but it is brimming with the B vitamin known as folic acid. Treating yourself to this nutritious veggie will help provide you with extra energy and keep you from experiencing mood swings.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

3. Low-fat yogurt

Low-fat dairy products contain selenium and have been shown to relieve people who consume them of incidents of mild depression. In addition to certain dairy products other foods that contain selenium include lean meat, beans, seafood, and whole grains. All of these foods are already good for you so any extra benefits are just a bonus.

 

4. Salmon

Foods that are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids should already be a part of your regular diet. These foods benefit your overall health, especially in your heart. It has been shown that people who consume foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to become depressed. Salmon is a great way to get a good dose of these fatty acids as well as mackerel, sardines, tuna, flaxseed and many of the dark green leafy vegetables.

 

5. Nuts

Even though some nuts have more fat content than others, the nutritional benefits outweigh any negative aspects. Walnuts are an excellent treat for anyone who has issues with their heart. Pistachios also contribute to healing the heart as well as keeping blood sugar levels on an even keel. Whether you munch on them at a party or have them crusted on a piece of fish (joining two foods that will put you in a good mood), make sure you try to include them whenever you can.

 

6. Avocado

If you already like avocados you’re in luck. Consuming avocados ensures that you are getting a good dose of vitamins C, E, fatty acids, and carotenoids.  This popular fruit actually has more potassium than a banana and the fiber content will help to keep you feeling fuller longer which will help you to better resist some tempting treats. With the recent popularity of guacamole, it should be pretty easy to increase your intake of avocados over the holiday season.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

7. Berries

Most berries, whether it’s strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, are a naturally sweet treat. When they are fresh and in season they are almost like eating candy and can be a great substitute for more high-calorie selections. One of the major reasons berries can help keep you in a good mood is that they contain, anthocyanins and anthocyanidins. These are nutrients that help alleviate stress and cut down on episodes of depression.

 

8. Carbohydrates

While carbohydrates seem to always get a bad rap, they are actually the component that helps to move a vital amino acid to your brain. Without  carbohydrates to push tryptophan through your bloodstream you will experience a drop in your blood sugar levels and quickly find your mood hitting bottom. There are good carbohydrates, which are complex and come from fruits and vegetables, and simple carbs which are what most junk and fast food selections consist of.

The foods listed above can definitely have an impact on your positive demeanor. When you are feeling calm and your mood is positive, you will find yourself less likely to indulge or overeat foods that you know will put on the pounds.

Try to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Staying hydrated will keep you from feeling ravenous and tempt you to grab the first foods you come across. Don’t show up at a party or event hungry. Eating a small snack before you go out will go a long way to ensuring you don’t overdo it. If you find yourself confronted with a buffet, opt for protein first, then fruits and vegetables.

 

READ ALSO: The Do’s and Don’ts of New Year’s Resolutions

 

Do your best at taking some time for yourself and paying attention to your body’s nutritional needs. It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself to foods and beverages you don’t consume on a regular basis. Just follow the 80/20 rule – follow your program 80 percent of the time and treat yourself 20 percent of the time. Enjoy yourself and if you go off the wagon just brush yourself off and get right back to your regular routine the next day.

References:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.medlineplus.gov