Simple Nutrition Secrets for Surviving the Holidays

Protein-rich_Foods

Photo credit: Smastronardo CC BY-SA 4.0

You need to consume more protein to burn fat. Protein isn’t just for building muscle. It’s for burning fat, too. A good way to keep holiday weight gain at bay is to greatly increase your protein intake over the holiday season. While protein helps build and preserve muscle, it also helps to control your appetite as well as boost your metabolism.

Eating more protein to burn fat was confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Physiology. One group was fed a high protein diet (just over one gram per pound of body-weight per day) while the second group consumed a protein diet near equal to that of the RDA.

The group eating the high protein diet burned more fat than the group consuming protein near equal to the RDA. One reason for the ability of protein to burn fat could be an increased “thermic” effect. The thermic effect of the RDA group was elevated 16% after eating. However, in the high protein group the thermic effect increased a lot after eating, almost 3-times that of the RDA group. This thermic effect of digesting your food peaks approximately one hour after eating.

By adding more protein to each meal, you increase your metabolism. Your body requires more energy (i.e. calories) to process protein than it does carbohydrates.

So go ahead and indulge a little in those high protein holiday foods such as the deviled eggs, shrimp cocktails and of course the holiday turkey!

Here are some good protein-rich food sources:

  • Whey protein
  • Eggs (Deviled during the holiday season)
  • Egg whites
  • Chicken breasts
  • Turkey breasts
  • Lean beef
  • Fish (tuna, salmon, shrimp cocktail)
  • Protein bars
  • Egg protein powder
  • Casein (cottage cheese)
  • Milk or Almond Milk

Post-Workout Shake:

A post-workout shake will help you get the right protein and the right carbs at the right time – immediately after your workout. You can prepare your post-workout shake before you hit the gym, stick it in a thermos and take it with you to store in your locker.

Simply choose your favorite whole food protein shake or whey protein shake, add a cup of frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), and then mix in a blender. You can alter how much of the powder and fruit you use to get the appropriate number of calories you want as well as shake thickness.

Or, you can try this version of the fat-burning post-workout shake:

Add 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups of orange juice, a scoop of your favorite protein shake, one serving of creatine, and then finish with a cup of frozen fruit. You can alter this any number of ways to suit your taste buds. You could add banana, or even some yogurt, which will also make the shake a little thicker in its consistency.

Want to indulge in some of those great holiday treats like pie? Instead of having it after a big holiday meal, save the dessert for post-workout. Have a serving of a good whey protein powder with water for your protein and then have that piece of apple or pumpkin pie.

Happy Holidays!

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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