The holidays can be a tough time to stay on track with healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, this can have negative implications on our health and wellbeing, including weight, inflammation, and disease. What’s more, food manufacturers have added increasing amounts of sugar in our food – even foods we wouldn’t consider sweet like crackers and spaghetti sauce. Like sugar, sodium is also a far greater part of our Standard American Diet than we are meant to consume. With roughly 5- to 70 million people in the United States suffering from hypertension, much of the population would benefit from a lower sodium diet. 

Between the majority of food available at restaurants and in stores, plus the added temptation of holiday events and sweet treats, it can feel seemingly impossible to stay healthy. As your local Altamonte Springs health and fitness experts, we’re here to help -> read on to learn how you can cut sugar and sodium from your diet not just at Christmas, but all year round. 

Manage sugar cravings with probiotics. Research is only just beginning to understand the many ways our gut microbiome impacts us, including cravings, mood, anxiety, hunger, focus, inflammation, and metabolism. One interesting find is that by cultivating a diverse gut microbiome, we can impact our cravings. You ever hear that the more you eat of something the more you grave it? That’s good and bad news depending on what you’re eating – but with high quality probiotics and a stronger nutritional foundation, you can potentially shift your tastes and cravings. The typical holiday indulgences wreak havoc on our gut health, so this is the perfect time to incorporate gut friendly foods like bone broth, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, kimchi, and kefir. 

Make healthy swaps. This can include actual meal and food swaps, as well as changes to your favorite recipes. Focus on adding in more healthy foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, greens, and fermented foods. Research lower sugar versions of recipes, or recipes that incorporate things like dates and raw honey instead of large amounts of sugar. As far as sodium, taste your food before you automatically salt it. Also incorporate other spices like garlic, lemon pepper, rosemary, or a fun seasoning blend for added flavor. 

Check labels when you shop. This includes drink labels! Sugar can often be lurking under other names, so be sure to keep an eye out for alternative names for sugar and sweeteners, including corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, sucralose, corn sweetener, and evaporated cane juice. As far as salt, opt for low sodium options whenever possible. Be especially careful with frozen and prepackaged meals, as they tend to run high on added sodium. 

Plan and prep. Plan your meals for the week, and shop and prepare what you can ahead of time. Crock pot recipes are a favorite this time of year, incorporate rich, autumn flavors and spices for extra satiation and enjoyment. Be sure to consider breakfast, lunch, and healthy snacks in your preparation. 

Need more help with your health and fitness goals? Get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolutions and contact us to learn about how we can help you get on track, including private gym membership options, personal training, fitness classes, and more!

Altamonte Springs Gym – conveniently located just minutes from Longwood, Casselberry, Apopka, Winter Springs, and the Greater Orlando area!