Detoxing After The Holidays

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Grab Some Mood-Boosting and Energy-Fueled Foods

After all of the sweets and treats over the holidays, you can improve your energy levels and mood for the New Year.

Trying to eat healthy foods during the holidays, despite our best efforts, is not always an easy task. Between parties, celebrations and family gatherings, the temptation to steer away from a sensible eating plan is just too great. However, after the tree is put away, the decorations are back in storage, the last cookie has been consumed, and all of the relatives have left, you may find yourself feeling a bit drained, lethargic and perhaps a bit tired or sluggish. While the chaos of the holidays is partly to blame for how you might feel, the foods you consumed throughout all of the festivities (sweets, rich meals, alcohol and more) most likely played an integral role, as well. So, as we turn the corner into a new month and a new year, it is a great time to focus on creating a healthy menu for foods that give you the energy you need and deserve. The fuel you put into your body at this time can help you power through the long winter months ahead and make you feel great at the same time.

To kick start your efforts, you need to ditch sweet treats, junk food, fatty meals and booze. However, this is not something for which you just flip a switch. Studies have shown that suddenly eliminating sugar and fat from your diet can produce symptoms similar to those of a drug withdrawal, leaving you feeling low and irritable. To minimize those possible effects, start the detoxing process by getting enough sleep. If you don’t get enough rest throughout the night, the first thing your body craves in the morning is sugar.

The idea with transitioning to a healthier diet after the holidays – and one that will boost your energy levels – is to evolve into an eating lifestyle. Quick fixes just won’t cut it. To begin, upgrade the quality of your meals. Incorporate carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat into mini meals that you eat about every three hours. This will keep those energy levels sustained and by-pass those blood sugar lows that can make you feel tired and eager to grab a candy bar.

When you awaken each morning, drink a glass of water. Or, if you prefer, drink some green juice or take a daily probiotic. Before you hit the sack each night, take magnesium supplements or consume magnesium-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds or almonds. These will help you de-stress and relax.

During the day, eat every three or four hours to fuel your metabolism and prevent those between-meal cravings that lead to poor food choices. The goal is to improve your overall energy levels and keep you focused throughout the day.

Aim for whole gains, lean protein, and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget some low-fat or fat-free dairy and a small amount of healthy fat for that long-lasting energy boost you need. Avoid sodas, coffee made with sugar and energy drinks. Sure, you may feel great for about an hour after consuming these, but the inevitable crash is right around the corner. Alternative beverages include water, low-calorie flavored water or unsweetened tea.

Now that you have a basic game plan to combat the post-holiday sluggishness and to regain a healthier eating plan, here are a few foods that will improve your energy and power you all day long.

Motivate with Magnesium: Almonds make a great snack that will convert food to energy. Full of magnesium and B vitamins, they help maintain focus and concentration. Just one ounce – about 23 nuts – should get that motor running.

The Power of Peanut Butter: Yes, this is calorie dense, but just a smidge goes a long way. Plus, it contains the healthy fats, protein and fiber your body needs to keep hunger at bay and to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Start your day with a piece of toast with some peanut butter on top of it instead of butter or jelly.

Go Fish: Bursting with omega 3 fatty acids, salmon has been known to reduce depression and improve mood. Plus, it’s great for your heart, as it lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Further, its high protein count keeps you feeling fuller longer and keeps your energy levels up.

Grab a Bowl of Oatmeal: Full of fiber, this filling meal provides the lasting energy you need. Because it takes so long to digest, your blood sugar levels will remain stable and you will feel energized and focused. As such, you are less likely to guzzle down another cup of coffee or grab a mid-morning doughnut or bagel.

Treat with Greek: Greek yogurt, especially when mixed with fresh berries or chopped nuts, is a nutrient-packed treat. It is chock-full of hunger-satisfying protein and can help you jump-start your day. Opt for the non-fat version to keep unnecessary sugar consumption in check.

Keeping these snacks on hand will help you navigate your day with more energy and motivation, improving your day-to-day functioning so you stay on the road to a healthier life in general.

Sources: prevention.com, eatright.org, everydayhealth.com

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