The holidays are a great time to enjoy meals and parties with family, friends, and coworkers. However, if you are like most people in the United States, the holiday eating can really get out of control and lead to major seasonal weight gain. Even if you work out consistently, it might be no match for the plethora of cookies, candy canes, eggnog, champagne, and other rich treats. The key to surviving and even thriving during this foodfest free-for-all is to educate yourself and have a game plan!
My solution (to every problem) is protein! Haha ok well maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but choosing the right lean proteins can be a huge first step in conquering the holiday weight gain trap. Lean proteins can help to play a major role in muscle growth, muscle recovery, immune system health, bodily functions, and feeling satiated (full) among many other things. If you are working out consistently and/or intensely, getting enough protein will be necessary for optimal performance.
Sounds simple enough right? Well it's not always so cut and dry. There are good sources of protein that can help you stay leaner, and lower quality sources of protein that usually contain significant amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sugars, and other unsavory chemicals. Good sources of protein can include eggs, egg whites, skim milk, turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon, and soy products. Poor sources of protein include fatty burgers, fast food, processed and frozen foods, bacon, whole milk, pastries, butter, cream cheese, and unfortunately hundreds of other items and products.
Soy is the only plant source that provides complete proteins comparable to animal-derived proteins, which means they provide all of the essential amino acids. Soy also contains primarily unsaturated and heart healthy fats unlike a lot of animal-derived protein which instead can harm your cardiovascular health. You can get your soy protein in the form of cereal (like Kashi Go Lean), smoothies (like Odwalla), protein powder, imitation meats (like tofurky , bar (protein / energy bars such as PowerBar Protein Plus), or snacks (edamame). You can get in your supplemental protein with these lean sources or just substitute them in for other meals and/or fattier sources of protein. I also like to get in a nice protein-rich snack before I go out to eat or to a party, so the chances that I will overeat there will be greatly diminished. Overall, you'll have a net gain in protein and a net loss in bodyfat to end 2011 on a good note and start 2012 strong!
Keep these tips and suggestions in mind when they pass around that plate of bacon-wrapped scallop or ask if you want another slice of that Christmas ham! There are other options when it comes to protein that can keep you lean and mean this holiday season! Happy Holidays and Stay Healthy Everyone!
|Cheers to Lean Proteins!|
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