How to be Go Condition for Holiday: Diet Swaps
By Colleen Gulick
With the holidays upon us you don’t want to be “that person” who turns their nose up at everything. Here’s a few quick tips on how to indulge without the bulge.
Halloween, my favorite holiday, kicks off the festive season with plenty of fun and everyone’s favorite candies.
It is easy to raid the kid’s Halloween loots or snack on the leftover candy. Plus, all those miniature bags make us feel justified in eating 2, 3, or more candies at once. This is an easy way to rack up the calories (and sugar) at the beginning of the holiday season. While everyone deserves a little indulgence now and again, here are a few tips on how to treat yourself while minimizing the bulge.
- Eat sweets last
When you eat candy on an empty stomach the high sugar content spikes your blood sugar then quickly overcompensates by having your blood sugar take a nosedive about 1-2 hours after your snack. This phenomenon is called reactive hypoglycemia and can cause you to feel hangry (hungry and irritable). A simple way to reduce the likelihood of reactive hypoglycemia is to have sweets at the end of your meal. This will minimize the glucose spike, have you feeling full longer, and reduce the likelihood of binge-snacking due to sudden food cravings from low blood sugar.
- Put your candy to use post workout
Turn a sweet treat into a performance boost by eating your candy of choice post workout with your protein shake. It is common to see athletes drinking a protein shake after a workout. Protein helps to build muscle and recover for the next training session. Adding simple carbohydrates (like the glucose and fructose found in many candies) to your post-workout protein is also beneficial for recovery.
Carbohydrates after a workout help to restore glycogen stores, a stored form of glucose that is a backup fuel used for high intensity exercise. Restoring glycogen quickly is especially important for individuals with two high intensity workouts in the same day or tournament style play with back-to-back competitions.
Another benefit to your post-workout chocolate bar is that consuming carbohydrates with your protein (in a 2:1 to 4:1 ratio, depending on your workout duration and intensity) can enhance the efficacy of your protein shake. While it might not be the best idea to consume all of these post-workout carbohydrates in candy form (it’s a lot of fat), swapping a few Twix bars in your gym bag every once in a while won’t hurt.
- Take your snack on the move
Exercising after eating, or eating your candy during your workout (cue the Reese’s on the treadmill), will help to utilize some of that glucose and fructose to fuel your exercise and reduce the likelihood of reactive hyperglycemia. Many athletes take high carbohydrate snacks with them to fuel longer, high intensity workouts. While candy won’t pack the same nutritional punch as some other options (like Go Condition’s Focus Bars), feel free to add a sweet treat into the mix during holiday season. As a word of caution, choose a snack that won’t melt in your pocket. Think about prioritizing candy corn or skittles over chocolate.
Whether your go-to indulgence is a Snickers, KitKat, or Laffy Taffy, a few tricks can help you keep your treats and keep your holiday season full of joy (or Almond Joys).