Small change, BIG difference — Elienne Horwitz

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Do away with all-or-nothing mentality

Jewish holidays and Shabbat are a great time for family and friends to get together and be reminded of our heritage and, of course, to eat traditional yummy food. Sometimes patients start worrying about how they will stick to their healthy eating over the holidays, but as they soon discover, it is not as difficult as one might think.

The most important thing is to continue with healthy eating, enjoy the meals in moderation, and get back on track at the very next meal! Do away with the ‘all or nothing’ mentality: You know, that voice that says “well you have already had one kichel, why not have six?”

Here are eight tips to try over this Rosh Hashana (and going forward this new year) that will lead to a much healthier outlook on eating:

Don’t weigh yourself over the holidays. Just get back on track at the very next meal and do a little extra exercise. Rather have a goal of maintaining your weight rather than losing weight.

Don’t skip meals so that you can overeat during the holiday meal later.

Don’t ‘drink your calories’, rather stick to water.

Eat something small before you go out. This may sound counter-productive, but it takes the edge off your hunger and enables you to make healthier choices, especially since the meal will probably be a bit later than usual.

Eat chicken, turkey and lean roast beef instead of fried fish or schnitzel or kugels.

When it comes to buffets, bulk your plate up with vegetables and salad and then some protein and starch. Same goes for dessert – dish your plate up with fruit first, and then a little dessert.

Choose one or two of your favourite holiday foods (e.g. tzimmes, kugel, kichel, gefilte fish, soup with matza balls, raisin challah or honey cake), dish up a small serving, and enjoy it!

Savour the flavours, textures and smells of the meal, and enjoy being with family and friends.

Elienne Horwitz is a registered dietician in Cape Town specialising in weight loss, increasing muscle mass, sport, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pregnancy, PCOS, GIT disturbances (like IBS), and food intolerances.

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