Low carb eaters are a different breed than your typical dieters. Instead of counting calories and choosing low-fat everything, they’re opting for a daily intake of healthy fat as their main source of fuel for energy. This way of eating is referred to as the ketogenic diet because the goal is to achieve elevated ketone levels in the bloodstream which is how you know your body is burning fat, rather than glucose, for fuel.
Luckily for low-carb, high fat eating folks, Christmas is a very keto-friendly time of year. If you’re looking to minimize your carbohydrate intake during the holiday season, it is quite possible that you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods that are typically served at parties. Here are some tips for not falling off the wagon when it comes to low-carb Christmas and holiday menu favorites.
When it comes to dipping, swap out healthy fresh veggies for bread, crackers and chips. Most keto eaters can enjoy their share of creamy dips, soups and spreads while dining on celebratory fare. Rather than dunking in cracker, opt for celery sticks, cucumber slices, green peppers, snap peas, radishes, tomato halves, broccoli and cauliflower.
Pair your high-fat choices with healthy greens. A fresh salad of leafy greens topped with olive oil and vinegar makes the perfect digestive accompaniment to cured meats such as aged salami, dried sausage or prosciutto. In fact, once you’re all-in with keto eating, you will likely begin to crave more acidic foods as well as develop a new appreciation for fresh salads. It’s all about your body wanting to increase intake of the foods that it needs to maintain a healthy balance. Leafy greens will help keep you regular while the acid and healthy omega-3 oil will help you run those fatty meats through your system quicker.
Avoid dips made with packaged soup mixes. These will typically contain MSG and an artificial and addictive form of sugar called dextrose which can seriously spike your sugar levels and take you out of fat-burning mode. This may be more difficult to do if you’re attending someone else’s holiday celebration. However, one workaround would be to show up with a couple of your own, homemade dips that you prepared in your own kitchen and seasoned using simple spices, dried onions, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
Instead of pasta, potatoes, or rice with dinner opt to pair healthy green vegetables along side of your roasted meat selections. If you’re attending a holiday buffet or something like that, you’ll want to add some fresh broccoli, spinach and green salad to your plate. Some green colored veggies, like string beans and zucchini, do contain slightly higher levels of carbohydrates. But you may be able to justify a small serving of these depending on your total carb intake for the day.
Dodge dessert if at all possible. Probably the worst temptation to face as a low-carb eater surviving the holidays is the dessert table. Your best bet might be to simply exit the room while dessert is being served and eaten. You could use this time to take a brief walk outside in the fresh air. You might head to the restroom to freshen up, or find someone to chat with outside in the lobby if you’re at a hotel or restaurant.
If you do slip back into old habits at this vulnerable time of year, pay attention to how you feel when your body is full of carbs and sugar. One interesting thing that can happen when you switch to a low-carb diet is that you’ll have more energy. Then if you happen to eat a lot of carbs, you might notice that you feel especially sluggish and lethargic after your body comes down from the brief sugar high. You might decide that you really don’t care for the feeling. Knowing this, you can use the memory of how tired and low you felt after binging on sugar, to stay strong for the next temptation that comes up.