Incorporating an indulgence into a healthy meal plan can be satisfying and very beneficial to your waistline. Allowing yourself to indulge will keep you satisfied and less apt to graze and gain weight. Whether it’s daily or weekly, knowing in advance what, when and how much of your indulgence you plan to eat is essential. For instance, if you love chocolate chip cookies, have one and enjoy it. Don’t deny yourself the “real thing.” Depriving yourself of foods you enjoy most may lead to overindulging in other foods.
During consultations with weight-management clients, I refer to the “wow factor,” or how long their taste buds react excited to the foods they eat. Typically, this can last anywhere from two to four bites. Any further consumption can become mindless eating which, in turn, may lead to weight gain. However, there are times when we can’t stop ourselves from overeating. That’s when I recommend tricking your taste buds. You can do this by reaching for the nearest fruit or vegetable and having a few bites. By doing so, the urge to indulge will subside. Being aware of how your taste buds respond to food will help you determine your “wow factor.”
Whatever your indulgence may be, sweet or salty, make sure it contains some nutritional value. One of my favorite indulgences is dark-chocolate almonds. Not only do they satisfy my sweet tooth, but they also give me a midday boost of energy. Even a small portion of these tasty almonds provides significant health benefits. They lower blood pressure, reduce stress and help to prevent heart disease. Dark chocolate is known for being rich in antioxidants, which help our cells live longer and potentially protects them from disease. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B2, calcium, protein, and monounsaturated fats. Together, the dark chocolate and almonds are deliciously nutrient-dense. If you eat healthy and exercise regularly, you deserve to indulge and enjoy.
Another one of my favorite indulgences is guacamole. Avocados are packed with nutrients that help control our appetites and lower cholesterol. They also contain antioxidants that boost our immune systems and slow the aging process.
Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenAgresti or schedule a consultation using her website www.pronutritionconsulting.com.