The holiday season is often full of parties with endless appetizers and desserts, making it difficult to stick to your regular healthy eating plan. Most people understand that these types of foods are not the best choices as they tend to be high in fats and sugars. Yet what is just as important to your health, is that these same foods also lack fibre.
What does fibre do in the body?
Fibre is required for several important functions in the body including; keeping your bowels regular, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol levels[i]. Health organizations including The Heart Stroke Foundation of Canada,[ii] the Canadian Diabetes Association [iii] and the Canadian Cancer Society[iv] all recommend fibre for preventative health.
According to Health Canada the adequate intake (AI), for fibre is 14g/1000 kcal/day. This works out to be around 21-25 grams per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men. A Statistics Canada survey found that both groups were consuming well below the AI of fibre that is recommended[v]. This is not surprising as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans are considered the best natural sources of dietary fibres, and these are the same foods that are often lacking in our meals, particularly during the holidays.
Are there better choices for high fibre foods at holidays parties?
Look for the raw veggie and fruit trays laid out at parties during appetizers and desserts. When it comes to meals, load up on the salads. Not only vegetable salads but try salads that include beans and lentils or whole grains and seeds such as quinoa, bulgar and chia seeds.
Concerned about putting on excess weight over the holidays?
As a bonus, fibre increases satiety (the feeling of fullness), which in turn reduces hunger and therefore calorie intake helping you to avoid weight gain[vi]. A quick and easy method is to add supplemental fibre to a protein shake before you head out to a holiday party. Made quickly in the blender, you can sip on it as you get ready to leave. By providing yourself with extra fibre, you will be less likely to crave and fill up on all the unhealthy appetizers when you arrive.
Whatever your choices this holiday season, enjoy them! Wishing you a fun filled and joyous holiday season, and a happy and healthy New Year.
[v] Health Canada. (2012).Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone? Accessed Oct 25, 2018