Holiday Health Tips from Celeb Nutritionist Christine Avanti


(Source: FameFlynet Pictures, Courtesy Christine Avanti, FameFlynet Pictures)

You've been doing so well: getting regular exercise, eating reasonably right, and doing your best to cultivate a lifestyle based upon overall wellness and balance, as opposed to that dramatic binge/purge; indulge/ deprive cycle that's a dangerous detour on the road to health––especially during the holidays.

Enter Thanksgiving, otherwise known as the "overeat and feel bad about it" holiday, or in some circles, the "eat your emotions" family jamboree. We know our good intentions might need some back-up. So in the name of balance, we chatted with celebrity nutritionist Christine Avanti, whose 2012 book Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food (Rodale) helped us learn what balanced eating really is.
No wonder she's worked with Chelsea Handler, Audrina Patridge, and Elizabeth Berkley, to name a few. Here's what she had to say:

What's the difference between a diet and a healthy lifestyle?
Dieting is about deprivation and healthy lifestyle is about learning how to properly feed yourself delicious and nutritious foods while maintaining balance.

How can we avoid that Thanksgiving dinner binge?
Start eating 'PC' (lean protein with healthy carbs) or 'FC' (unsaturated healthy fats – like olive oil, avocado, or nuts, combined with healthy carbs) combo meals every three to four hours, so you are no longer fighting off food cravings and extreme hunger. Then, when you arrive at a holiday gathering you have more control over food choices and portions.

Can you give us some "PC" combo examples?
Breakfast: sweet potato stuffed with low fat cottage cheese, a little almond butter, a drizzle of honey sprinkled with cinnamon. Lunch: lentil soup. Lentils are a great balance, they have 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs per cup. Snack: nuts and a small fruit.

What about a holiday dinner party?
First, try to find a lean protein: shrimp cocktail, chicken, turkey, or sushi appetizer. Second, choose your favorite carb, that you know you cannot resist, and allow yourself a small portion. If you have been eating balanced meals though out the day, your body will not be craving sugar and you won't feel like binging on party foods; rather, you will be craving a healthy, balanced meal.

What are some of your favorite ways to maintain a healthy eating style, throughout the holidays and year-round?
I follow the three rules of the Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food book. Eat every three to four hours. Eat 'PC' or 'FC' combos. Avoid refined sugars, fats, and salt, and foods with ingredients I do not recognize or cannot pronounce.

(Photo: courtesy Christine Avanti)

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