Countdown to New Year’s: No-Resolutions Resolution Week 4
For the fourth week of our No-Resolutions Resolution game plan, let’s get serious about snacking, a habit that often gets a bad rap. But it’s actually not so bad; you just have to know the best way to manage the munchies. The key is to chow down on the right stuff.
High-fat, high-calorie snacks are an obvious no-no. But healthful in-between meal snacks that are low in calories and high in nutrients keep your blood sugar up, keep your metabolism going and prevent you from overeating the next time you hit the holiday table. So, instead of reaching for a bag of chips (empty calories), go for something substantial that's nutritious too. Reach for an avocado. Seriously. They're packed with B6 and folic acid, which help regulate blood pressure and act as a kind of therapist for your nervous system. When your anxiety steers you to the refrigerator, mash up an avocado and season with lemon and salt, then spread on gluten-free crackers. Or cut up a few carrot sticks and celery, and dip into a zesty avocado salsa.
Another soothing snack: almonds. Chock-full of magnesium, they keep cortisol, known as the "stress hormone," levels low while delivering good fats. Almonds are good on-the-go fuel, or whip them into a blueberry-almond smoothie  for when you’re craving something cool and creamy.
There's a lot of work that goes into planning a holiday meal. After a long day of prepping, cooking, serving, standing, socializing and dishwashing, you likely will find yourself collapsed on the couch watching television, or in front of your computer catching up on emails, and perhaps ready for a late-night snack. Unconscious eating occurs when your brain is tuned in to something other than the eating. When you're focused on other things, it's hard to pay attention to what — and just how much — you are putting into your mouth. Eat only when you're sitting at the table; not while you're mind is somewhere else.
Even if you are eating healthful snacks, remember that size matters. If you're on the move, premeasured 100-calorie packages are a great convenience, however, ideally avoid processed foods and reach for a fruit or veggie. A cup of sweet and tart blueberries contains just 85 calories, and let’s not forget they are a superfood. One juicy apple falls under the 100-calorie mark, as does 1/3 cup of edamame.
Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book.