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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 20/01/2013

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Here are some health tips for a fresh beginning
The New Yearis finally here. Of course the holiday season brings with it lots of celebration and happiness with end of year festivities and Christmas parties; however, some of us may indulge a little too much.

Over-indulgence can frequently be a problem during this time. After all, Christmas and the New Year only happen once a year and you deserve a personal reward.

Yes, you have worked hard all year and accomplished some important things. So, there is nothing wrong with celebrating .

But frequently guilt sets in the next day. In order to get back to your fitness levels and recuperate from holiday excesses, here are some simple guidelines that will put you on the path to a healthy new year.

These are New Year resolutions that you'll want to keep and are also sustainable compared to the fad diets which usually don't work.

Fill the plate with colourful vegetables

Veggies are a must have on your plate. There are many more vegetables to try than just the regular lettuce and tomatoes. Bright-coloured and dark green leafy vegetables are especially loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. They are also high in fiber, which makes them very filling. In addition, they are low in calories " good to help trim the waistline. When you fill up your stomach with veggies, you are less likely to feel the urge to binge on other high-fat or processed foods.

Snack on fruits - fresh or dried

Whenever you feel like snacking, grab a fruit instead of chips or cookies. Like vegetables, fruits are high in antioxidants and fiber and low in calories. To make it fun, use yogurt or hummus as a dip. This way you'll get some calcium as well as protein " which helps one to feel full longer. And don't forget about dried fruits. Mixing them with whole-wheat breakfast cereal and nuts makes a nutritious snack.

Look for alternatives to processed meat

Instead of always packing sodium-loaded processed meat sandwiches, try using leftover high-quality protein from the night before. How does a grilled fish burger, teriyaki chicken breast sandwich sound to you? These protein alternatives are usually nitrate-free and more heart health friendly.

Choose whole grains

It is recommended to eat at least 3 servings of whole grains every day. Not only are they high in fiber, whole grains also contain an array of antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables.

The easiest way to increase whole grain intake is to replace some of your refined-grain products. For instance, use whole-grain bread instead of white bread when making lunch sandwiches. Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, and pancakes.

Toss brown rice, wild rice, or barley in your vegetable soup. Or snack on popcorn instead of chips on family movie nights. (Yes, popcorn is a whole grain!) Don't forget, you don't need to completely wipe out all refined grains. You can always try serving half whole wheat/half refined as a starting point.

Reduce the intake of Highly Processed Foods (HPFs)

HPFs are the true culprits where obesity is concerned, not carb, gluten, or meat. Frozen fish sticks have almost 12 times more fat than natural fish fillets; chicken nuggets have four times more fat than chicken tenders.

You can easily chow down on a bag of chips or a chocolate candy bar with 300 calories; 300 calories is what's in a lunch size 6-inch sandwich! So, steer clear of HPFs and start eating wholesome, natural foods instead. Tips courtesy Dr. Atul Aundekar, Chief Medical Director, iCARE Clinics


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