21 tips to avoid food temptations over Christmas

Over the past ten years, I have gathered many tips on food temptations, and how to avoid them. Here are my favourite tips that I would like to give to you, to help you when hunger strikes! Have a go. You have nothing to lose… except for a few pounds. Even if only some of them work for you, it will make a huge difference to your waistline!

1. Pandora's box. Please, please, the first thing you really must do when starting out on any get fit goals or simply trying to trim up for that special occasion. Clear your cupboards of most of your temptation foods (you know what food I mean.) By throwing out (giving it away) you are making a commitment to yourself to make a change.

2. Keep busy. I think the nail is smacked on the head when you find yourself too busy to think about food. Sometimes we confuse hunger with boredom, and we often eat mindlessly when bored - I know I did! Go for a quick walk around the block, or if it’s too cold put on your favourite dance song (Eye of the tiger works for me every time!).

3. My tummy rumbles. Scientists have found that hunger pangs seem to come and go in waves. So, it won’t get worse and worse, but instead, in a little while, you won’t actually feel quite as hungry as you did. Just ride the waves, and nothing bad will happen to you. Oh yeah, have a glass of water and wait five minutes.

4. Fasting fit. Still talking about hunger; James Scott got lost while hiking in the Himalayans for 43 days. His only food at the time was a few caterpillars daily. He lived! I am not recommending eating caterpillars, but going without food for a while (intermittent fasting) can really help you in many ways.

5. Sugar rush? Sugar cravings are a big issue when trying to be healthier. When a craving hits - try taking chromium tablets. Studies have shown that chromium can normalise blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar utilisation. Chromium can help people with a sweet tooth too.

6. Keep well hydrated. At least two litres of water per day. The big problem these days is dehydration. People often confuse thirst with hunger, thinking they are drinking enough water, but the majority of us don’t. Drink up! Teas and coffees also count. You can download a water intake app, that will help you track your true water intake. ‘Drink Water’ is one of many that you find in your app store. 

7. Lemon aids. Water with lemon helps with food digestion and aids weight loss. Warm water with lemon, fresh ginger and honey is the best thing to have first thing in the morning, ideally on empty stomach. This concoction is detoxifying, and it will increase your metabolic rate.

8. Caffeine fix. Drinking green tea and coffee (in moderation) will also increase your metabolic rate and burn some extra calories. Try to cut down on milky coffees or adding sugar, simply half them.   

9. Warm yourself up on a cold night, with soup. Soups (any of them) contain a large amount of water and will fill up your stomach, which sends the message to your brain that you are full! Soups are brilliant if your goal is to be healthier.

10. Get minty! Brush your teeth when you start to feel hungry! Also rinsing your mouth with mouthwash will have a similar effect as well as nibbling on a few Tic-tac or minty sweets! Minty things work for some people, by removing cravings and curbing their appetite. Are you one of those? Try it. You have nothing to lose and super fresh breath to gain. Put that toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash or Tic-tac in your handbag - now!

11. Fruit is better than chocolate. When you are getting the taste for that sweet treat of yours - have some fruit. Fresh or dry fruit is good for you and contains many healthier natural sugars and fibres. Bananas contain potassium and magnesium and are shown to be a mood enhancer similar to chocolate. The same goes for dates - packed with potassium, magnesium, niacin, B-6, iron but half of the calories of chocolate.

12. Be a superhero. Eat plenty of proteins; chicken, fish, eggs and cottage cheese. Your body doesn’t store proteins in the same way as carbs, therefore no excess calories will be stored in your body. Proteins also fill you up for longer and build up your muscles.

13. Go green. Eat as many green leafy vegetables as you possibly can! Go crazy with broccoli, kale, green beans, Brussel sprouts; they are high in fibre, low in calories and will bulk up any of your meals.

14. Give your food your full attention. Focus on your food and eat slowly at meal times - chew every mouthful at least 20 times. The brain takes 15 minutes to get the message that your stomach is full. So, if you eat too quickly, your stomach will fill up before your brain knows you're full and you’ll end up eating too much. See what you can do at your next meal. Don’t eat while watching TV or on the phone, you have no idea what you are putting in your mouth.

15. Avoid Temptation! Never go food shopping when you're hungry - you know this one right! Always write a list and stick to it. You are much stronger than you think.

16. Cook big, make spare! Cooking in larger batches will save you time. Also, if we have healthy food in the fridge or freezer, we are much less likely to eat junk food. Cooked food can usually stay in the fridge for two or three days. Let the food cool to room temperature for two hours before refrigerating - if left longer bacteria might start to grow. If you don't think you'll eat leftovers within three days, freeze them immediately.

17. Prepare your work lunch box the night before.
It’s the easiest and cheapest way to eat well. You are in control! Shop meal deals can be good also. But choose wisely, salad lunch with quinoa, chicken, salad and veg are fab. However, the sauce that usually comes with it has loads of calories! Advice: do not be afraid to cut that sauce in half, the lunch will still taste great, and you’ll cut hundreds of calories off.

18. Have a healthy relationship with food. Don't try to deny yourself the foods you enjoy or feel bad if you occasionally succumb to temptation. For example, if you say to yourself, "I will never eat chocolate again!’’ Your brain will think, "eat that chocolate now." It’s same as saying to a child "do not run!’’ What they actually hear is run. Unfortunately, our brain does not hear the word not very well at all. So, have a bit of your favourite chocolate. A few squares will actually satisfy your needs and make you feel better. You’ll stay on your daily calorie target and most importantly you won’t feel guilty.

19. A picture tells a thousand words. Every time you eat or drink unhealthily take a photo and post it on your Facebook or other social media, or if you prefer every time you eat something healthy post it there. A printed picture on your fridge works similarly. This shows your accountability to the cause.

20. Eating is a social thing - so involve someone close to you (your bestie or member of your family) on the journey. It’s much more fun that way.

21. Change the way you think about food. If we do not change the way we do things (eat in this case.), we will be getting the same results we always have! Food is your good friend. We would die without food. Fact! Again, moderation and healthy food choices are your best allies here. Studies have shown that people who successfully lost weight and maintained their ideal weight, are the same people who learned how to change both their eating habits and their attitude towards food. Your time is here and now. Enjoy your journey of change.

If you get stuck - no worries, professional nutritional therapists are here to help you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Sutton, Surrey, SM1
Written by Angelika Cutuk-Short, MSc Functional Nutritionist / Hormone and Weight specialist
Sutton, Surrey, SM1

Angelika has a Masters in nutrition and is a qualified NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) coach. She is a specialist in weight loss management. She combines nutritional science with motivational coaching to change bad habits and introduce good ones. She is the nutritional editor for Locals Mum Online and nutritional consultant for Lemon Detox.

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