Jump start your New Year’s diet plan and eat right, not less

Make healthy choices this holiday with these tips from Atkins

The holidays can be a daunting when you're trying to make healthy choices and eat well.

Food and drink are everywhere and can be hard to resist, especially when high-sugar and carbohydrate snacks put you on the glucose roller coaster. Better choices are easier to make when your hunger is in check, so plan ahead and stay satisfied during the day.

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Use these tips from Atkins Dietitian Pat Baird to maintain steady blood sugar (glucose) levels, otherwise you're likely to eat anything that's not nailed down. The essence of the Atkins program is adequate protein, healthy fats, and controlled carbohydrates.

Many of the recipes recommended are found in the book, Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less. If you start using these tips now, you're likely find yourself feeling a lot better, and you could lose a little weight, instead of gaining those dreaded holiday pounds.

Begin with Breakfast

Start with Breakfast.  Simple foods with a low glycemic index and protein will keep you going longer throughout the day.  

Breakfast has been shown to improve weight loss and weight management as well as boost the immune system and stabilize blood glucose levels. We wake up groggy partially because our blood glucose level is low.

An avocado smoothie, or antioxidant berry smoothie are a great way to start your day. Not only are they quick and easy to prepare, the Atkins recipe includes Protein Powder, which will provide more satiety and keep you going longer in the day.

Beware Hidden Sugar

Keep healthy snacks on hand.  A half an avocado or hard-cooked egg is a perfect boost during the day.  

"Hidden Sugar" is foods that break down into sugar in our bodies quickly. Our body sees, the sugars, but we don't. Refined carbs like bagels, pretzels, and mashed potatoes contain hidden sugars.

Meals and snacks with adequate protein, healthy fat, and high fiber carbs contain little hidden sugars. Some snacks that can keep on hand are hard-cooked eggs, a half an avocado, and hummus using sliced vegetables to scoop, rather than a high carbohydrate chip.

Re-Think Sides at Holiday Meals

Sauteed spinach with carmelized shallots is a healthy, satiating alternative to high carbohydrate sides.  

Mashed potatoes, candied yams, and other traditional holiday sides are loaded with hidden sugars and can sabotage your steady glucose levels. Replace these sides with non-starchy vegetables to add color and dimension to you meals and avoid the dreaded "food coma." Think Brussels Sprouts, Scallion-Cheddar Cauliflower Mash, or Sauteed Spinach with Caramelized Shallots.

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Have healthy alternatives as snacks available at your holiday parties. You'll be surprised how often your guests will choose a healthy option when one is available. They'll appreciate it too.

Read Food Labels

The newly redesigned and easier to read food labels are your friend. 

The newly redesigned food labels are making it easier than ever before to determine exactly what ingredients are in the pre-packaged food items you buy at the grocery store, especially hidden sugars. Check the labels and make sure the foods you are buying contain less than 5 grams Added Sugar, and less than 15 grams Net Carbs.

This story is sponsored by Atkins.