Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays

Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays - Bent On Better - Matt April - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays

 Top tips for healthy eating during the holidays:

– Carb cycle

– Build a better plate

– Exercise 

Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays - Bent On Better - Matt April - Healthy Eating
Photo by Fresh April Flours

Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays

Today I want to talk all about my healthy eating tips for the holidays. Now that Halloween is just around the corner, and with Thanksgiving and many more to follow, unhealthy foods seem inevitable.  But I’m here today to share with you a way to beat the unhealthy foods and to avoid unwanted body fat. The secret to beating the holiday treats is simple, keep reading to find out…

Tip #1: Cycle Your Carbohydrates

As I’m sure you’re well aware, carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy.  But if you want to learn more about carbs, click this link to read my post from last week all about carbs.  Second to carbs, eating a diet higher in protein and healthy fats can keep you fuller, longer, and fuel you through your day.  

Right now you may be asking yourself, what is “carb cycling?” 

Carb cycling is manipulating your carbohydrate intake over a period of time.  During my last few weeks of my Better Eating For The Best You segment, I used the power of real foods and some carb cycling in the final few weeks to accelerate my results. Carb cycling made its way into the spotlight back in the 1970s when physique competitions and body building caught traction and the sport of body building became popular.  In more recent days, many main stream fitness celebrities (such as Chris and Heidi Powell of reality TV show Extreme Weight Loss) have endorsed and recommended carb cycling for fat loss to their clients, Chris even wrote a book about it!  

But you and I both know you’re not reading this blog because you’re trying to be a fitness model or physique competitor (but in the off chance that you are, great job! Keep it up, you can do it!).  So, why would you bother with carb cycling?  How do you even do it, being a regular person who just wants to be healthy, fit, and with minimal body fat?  Well, my friend, I’m here to share with you the secrets of the industry and how you can use carb cycling to avoid those unwanted pounds (especially during the holidays, and still indulge)!

The carb cycling basics: 

Throughout the week, you rotate through high carbohydrate day (HC), moderate carbohydrate day (MC), and low/no carbohydrate day (LC). 

All days require a high protein intake.

Your fat intake is inversely related to your carbohydrate intake. So this means your fat intake is low when your carbohydrates are high, and vice versa.

Carbohydrate: 2-2.5 grams per pound of body weight | Protein: 1 gram per pound | Fat:  up to 0.15 grams per pound

Carbohydrate: 1.5 grams per pound of body weight | Protein: 1-1.2 grams per pound | Fat: around 0.2 grams per pound 

Carbohydrate: 0.5 grams per pound of body weight (should only come from greens) | Protein: 1.5 grams per pound | Fat: around 0.35 grams per pound

You should double your usual consumption of green, fibrous vegetables on MC and LC days.

Make sure you’re drinking lots of water, since protein requires 7x the amount of water to digest compared to carbs and fat.

Your cycling should go HC | LC | MC | LC repeat. 

Example of how to do your carb cycling for Halloween (which falls on a Saturday this year, which is pretty much known as international party day for almost everyone since it’s the weekend… so you’re welcome).  

Start on preparing on Tuesday the 27th with a HC day.

Wednesday should be a LC day.  

Thursday will be a MC day.

Friday will be a LC day.  

Saturday (Halloween) will be your HC day.

Then you will follow with a LC on Sunday.

Tip #2: Build A Better Plate 

The concept of choosing the smaller plate to have a smaller portion is true!  “Switching from 11-inch plates to 10-inch ones makes people take less food, and waste less food, because the smaller plate makes a normal serving look more satisfying1.”  But with so many great choices over the whole holiday season, how can we go for the smaller plates?!  There is no way it will all fit!  I want it all!!!!  (Sorry, sorry, I need to calm down, sometimes food gets me really excited).  Now you may be saying to yourself, this is a good idea in theory, but how am I supposed to use “smaller” plates when I’m not at home and there is only one size plate available– HUGE.  I guess you’re going to have to build a better plate by assembling a winning, and satisfying, plate.

How to build your plate:

– Double up on green veggies
(or any available vegetables, not including candied yams!).

– Reach for the protein, first!
(and by first I mean eat your protein after you eat all of the green veggies on your plate 😉 )

Skip the gravy, butter, cranberry, and candied anythings
(you don’t need them, the food is tasty enough and there are better things on the table to choose from)

– Wait at least 10 minutes before you go for seconds
(sometimes we eat fast in excitement or due to social environments and our brain and stomach need time to realize we’re full)

– Slice the slice in half
(yes, I’m referring to any and all desserts, you can have it…just slice it in half!)

– Fill your glass to the brim with water
(and drink it ALL before you consider going for seconds, it will help with digestion and may just help make you feel fuller, sooner)

and on Halloween, reach for and limit yourself to only fun sized candies, and keep them in moderation.

Tip #3: Exercise

As the colder temperatures take over in the Northeast, we start to stay inside more and become less active.  And let’s face it, we know what happens when we become less active but eat more around the holidays…

Less activity + more food =  weight gain.

 How can we prevent unwanted fat and weight gain during the holidays?  Of course how much you’re eating and what you’re eating are key parts, but let’s not forget how important exercise is in this as well. Healthy eating can brought on by exercising.  

Think about it, if you start your day with a solid 30 minute exercise (I mean, come on, that’s only 2% of your day, you can do it!), you’ve already started the healthy habit domino effect for the day!  From there, you choose to drink a green protein smoothie for breakfast or have some eggs and broccoli INSTEAD OF a donut or a super sugary latte from Starbucks.  Going forward you plan your day accordingly, skipping the burger and fries for lunch and reaching for a grilled chicken salad with some olive oil and vinegar.  You end the day at home with a wholesome, well-balanced dinner of sweet potato, peas, and salmon.  Way to go!

But why bother exercising on the holidays?

 Isn’t that a time to take a break, and relax?  

Yup, AFTER you’ve earned it from doing a solid workout and made some room for those meals! 

But look, some of us just have no idea where to begin with workouts… We head to the gym thinking we will do something, and spend 15 of our 30 minutes wandering around from area to area, deciding if we want to try that one.  

Why waste your valuable time?  


Let me help you with a custom training program.  With the online personal training program by Bent On Better, you will receive many resources along with your personalized training program, but most of all, you will receive health and nutrition counseling from me.  Best of all? I will be there to hold you accountable. If you’re in the West Chester area, let’s get started together! 

You’re a healthy guy or gal, and I know you value your health (keep reading my blog).  But here’s the thing, I have to remind you that these tips are provided for your information and are not intended as medical advice. Please work with your health care professional to determine what’s right for you.  Just remember, eating right starts with you.

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Thanks for joining me again this week, I’m glad you decided to come back. If you’re new to the blog, welcome! Visit my Start Here page to get the low down on this whole Bent On Better thing.

If you have any questions you’d like addressed personally, feel free to email me at [email protected].

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates, available for both iOS and Android on Stitcher

Cover photo by Fresh April Flours

1. “Portion Control May Be All in the Mind, Studies Suggest.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

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