Holiday Tips for Low Carbohydrate Living
If you are traveling by car or plane: PLAN AHEAD and take some low carbohydrate products with you that pack well. (Jay Robb protein powder, EAS Carb Control shakes, Power Crunch bars, etc).
If you are staying in the United States: Most large grocery chains as well as Target Stores and Walmart, carry Atkins products. You may purchase their shakes, frozen meals, or bars while traveling to help you keep on plan.
If you will be in another country: Most countries have MUCH smaller portions than we do. Try to choose foods on plan (meat, approved veggies, salad). If eating off plan, eat SMALL bites only. You will likely be walking more than you would in the USA, so be sure to take advantage of the extra exercise.
If you plan on dining out at restaurants:
-Most restaurants have online menus. Study the menu BEFORE you go so you can be informed about what you CAN eat when you arrive. Use your free smart phone app to check carb counts (such as My Fitness Pal, Lose It, Atkins app, CarbsControl)
-Always have a protein-based snack before you dine out. (A protein shake, piece of cheese, a couple of slices of bacon, a fruit flavored protein drink are good choices to eat before you arrive at any restaurant).
-Choosing to eat several appetizers instead of regular entrees are better choices. Entrees usually include rice, potatoes, pasta, or other “fillers” that are extremely high in carbohydrates. Appetizers do not. Appetizers are always smaller in portion size than entrees (although they sometimes are still ridiculous sizes).
-Avoid grains (rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, barley, oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat). No bread or wheat product of any kind unless low carb (that you have made yourself).
-Avoid potatoes of any kind (including yams or sweet potatoes). Rutabaga or turnips are fine. No beets (they are very high in carbs).
-Avoid anything fried, breaded, or covered with thick sauces. To make a thickened sauce, the chef usually uses flour or corn starch and in many cases sugar as a sweetener.
-Beware of salad dressings in restaurants! Most contain sugar in large amounts. Safest salad dressings in a restaurant are: oil and vinegar (not balsamic vinegar if you can avoid it which contains some carbs), bleu cheese, and caesar dressing. Both bleu cheese and caesar salad dressings are high in fat and taste good without sugar, so most manufacturers or chefs do not include sugar in the dressing.
-If you want to taste high carb foods (dessert), share a dessert with several other people you are dining with and just take ONE bite. If what you are wanting to taste is a “trigger” food for you, meaning you historically cannot limit it, THINK TWICE before eating it so you do not disrupt all of your hard work in weight loss. Fruit and desserts of any kind can awaken the CARB-BEAST inside and make it very difficult to limit your intake of them. Best to avoid them if at all possible.
-Avoid alcohol. If you must indulge, drink one glass of wine or liquor. If you are drinking hard liquor, no sugary mixers. Best to have it (vodka, rum, tequila, gin, etc) with ice or with DIET drinks as a mixer. No fruity mixers which contain many carbohydrates. On any diet, you will become intoxicated more quickly. No liqueurs (Baileys, Kahlua, etc as they contain LOTS of sugar).
If you are dining in a family member or friend’s home:
-Unless you are dining with immediate family who already knows your low-carb dietary pattern, dining with extended family and friends is the HARDEST place to dine when trying to stay on plan. We all want to avoid making our dietary journey become the focus of dinner conversation! Here are some tips to remain discreet:
-Practice your responses as to why you are declining high carb foods BEFORE you go.
-Politely say “no thank you, but I will have some more of ….” Then have a little more of what you CAN eat (meat, salad greens, cheese, bottled water, diet drinks, etc).
-“My doctor wants me to avoid eating (whatever item) to improve my (blood pressure, diabetes, overall health, eczema, asthma, fatigue, or whatever you choose). No thank you….looks great though!”
-Avoid saying you are on a special diet. The “food police” will make your meal-time very uncomfortable. Turn it into a medical reason.
-Have a protein snack BEFORE you go as above.
-Take a low carb protein bar with you for dessert.
-If you choose to indulge in some off plan food item, have a one teaspoon serving.
-Sometimes pressure is so great from family and friends, you may need to place some off plan food on your plate or simply accept a plate made for you. Focus on eating what is on-plan on your plate (meat, approved low carb veggies, salad). You can move around or swirl the rest
of the food (that is off plan). After dinner has been in progress for a bit, if someone asks why you are not eating all of your food, you can politely state that you
-If you feel that you must indulge in desserts such as pie or cake, remember the highest amount of carbs in pie are the crust so avoid it unless it is of superior, “to die for” quality. With cake, the highest carbs are in the icing (made of butter and sugar). Avoid the crust or icing and pick a SMALL portion (1/16th of pie, 2 x 2 inch piece of cake or less). If cookies are calling you, choose a TINY cookie (tea cookie size) and only one. Again, beware of awakening the cravings that WILL accompany eating those foods. They are harder to reign in than you think!
-Follow all of the tips above.
If you are able to bring a dish:
-Take something that you CAN eat (salad, meat, approved dish, low carb recipe treats.
Enjoy your family and friends over the holidays but most of all… YOUR NEW HEALTHY WAY OF LIFE, that will allow you to enjoy them for many years to come.