Health

4 Food Swaps That Make Sense

Sensible tips will serve you well throughout holiday season

The holidays seem like a free pass each year to consume whatever food and drink we want. There are the traditional family casseroles over Thanksgiving with the family, the buffet of sweets waiting at the front counter at work, old friends back in town to meet over cocktails — and who can pass up the tray of cookies from Aunt Sue?

There is no shortage of food, nor excuses as to why you can’t have “just one more piece” of whatever might be in front of you.

If you’re among those who hate to say “no,” go ahead and indulge … just a little bit, anyway.

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In the meantime, here are some small swaps you might make elsewhere during the day. These will not only help you feel better this holiday season — they’ll keep you healthier well beyond it.

1.) Eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
For starters, before anything is even added, the process of juicing alone leads to a substantial decrease in nutritional value. When it comes to some of the healthiest fruits that the world has to offer, much of the fiber as well as the antioxidants are lost when the whole fruit is turned into juice. This is due to the fact that a great amount of these nutrients can be found in the skin as well as the pulp of the fruit.

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That, combined with a whole lot of added sugar, leads to many juice drinks being not nearly as healthy as they are portrayed to be. Instead, enjoy a nice fruit salad or even make your own smoothie with raw ingredients.

2.) Choose wheat bread instead of a bagel.
Although this may crush some of the bagel lovers out there, a single plain bagel can have as many calories as five slices of bread.

So instead of that choice, try substituting that with a slice or two of wheat bread. In addition, always try to mix in some fruit in the morning: this will give you some natural energy to start your day with nutrients that bagels simply cannot offer.

Whatever it is we are consuming before bed is going to be burned off or “used” at a much slower rate.

3.) Drink water, water, water — instead of soda, fruit drinks, or other beverages.
Water is easily one of the things most taken for granted on this earth. Seventy percent of the human body is made up of the stuff. Your muscles and blood are even mostly water, 75 percent and 82 percent respectively.

It’s the most essential thing we put into our bodies, as it benefits every last one of our bodily functions.

In addition to colon cleansing and healthier skin, water helps balance your lymph system — the system that helps fight infection and disease. It increases energy and can even help with weight loss. Not only will drinking more water make you feel less hungry, it can also boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent. In order to obtain the full effect of this, some experts recommend you drink 16 ounces of chilled water first thing in the morning.

4.) Forget late-night snacks. Eat smarter during the day instead.
Our bodies need food to convert it into energy. When food is eaten late at night or right before bed, our bodies don’t have any use for it, so the protein and carbohydrates are converted to, and stored as, fat.

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The amount that is stored as fat can vary based on recent physical activity as well as the type of food you’re eating. Also, while we sleep, our metabolisms aren’t exactly at their highest. This means that whatever it is we are consuming before bed is going to be burned off or “used” at a much slower rate.

Invest in some healthier snacks and try to consume more of your daily calories earlier in the day.

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