WALLINGFORD — The holiday season is upon us and that means there is no shortage of decadent sweets within arm’s reach. Having the occasional treat isn’t going to significantly interfere with your health and wellness goals.
However, making a habit of choosing processed foods or those with a high glycemic index could potentially cause drastic shifts in blood sugar levels, said local nutritionist Jennifer Thomas. Thomas, of Wallingford, owns Evolved Nutrition and is a Connecticut state certified nutritionist. She has some tips for snacking healthier during the treat-filled holidays.1. Building a solid foundation
“Stick with more natural foods. They work with the systems in our bodies that tell us we’re hungry and tell us when we are full,” Thomas said.
The more you give your body a solid foundation with nutrient dense foods, she said, the easier it will be to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Thomas said for most people’s lifestyles, “Just one snack a day is ideal.”
She added, the best time to have a snack is the period after lunch and before dinner. You can take what you would normally eat for a meal and cut it in half, or have a specific food meant to snack on.2. Premade foods
Market centers are quick and convenient places to find snacks on-the-go. The first aisle of West Center Market in Wallingford is stocked with tropical fruits, berries, and vegetables. Back towards the deli, there is a Prepared Foods section where patrons can choose from salads, soups, and more.
Bmuse café in Wallingford has hummus and veggie cups, smoothies, and yogurt parfaits to-go.
Hummus and veggie cups at Bmuse cafè in Wallingford can be a good healthy snack during the holidays. |Kristen Dearborn, Special to the Record-Journal
“That’s definitely a snack that I would frequently recommend,” Thomas said of hummus with peppers, carrots, and celery.
“Guacamole and veggies can even work too,” she added.
The first thing Thomas tells her clients to analyze when choosing a packaged food is the ingredient list. 3. Nutrient content
Thomas said while the nutrition facts may look good, the ingredient list reveals what the contents of the food actually are.
She warns her clients beware of artificial fillers in foods and recommends having nuts and a piece of fruit to ward-off hunger between meals. It’s not necessarily the calories that matter, but rather the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that make up those calories that are going to count.
She doesn’t typically recommend constant snacking.
“It is important to have periods of time between meals where our body is digesting” said Thomas.4. Plan to indulge
Thomas said when she coaches clients, she walks them through experiences where they may crave sweets such as during social or celebratory events.
“We want to be picky because there are too many over-indulgent foods…You want to choose what is really worth it to you,” she said.
She encourages her clients to predetermine when they will eat treat foods so they can feel good about enjoying them and not be tempted to over do it.
The key is to, “Learn how to accept those foods for what they are, which is delicious, but also things we shouldn’t eat all the time.”
For more information visit: evolved-nutrition.com.
Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris– https://dearfitkris.com/