The average person will gain (and retain) one pound over the holiday season each year. These pounds add up over time if you don’t take action. Holiday meals and parties are not the only concern. Be aware of shopping trips. You may think you don’t have time to eat healthy because you are rushing to get everything done. Temptation is everywhere from candies for gifts, baked goodies at the grocery store and food courts in the mall.
Remember that when you are hungry, your focus and decision-making is weakened and you are going to feel stressed, which can lead to overeating. Before you shop, reach for a meal or snack that contains both protein and carbohydrates. This combination will give you energy that will stay with you. A sandwich with a glass of low-fat milk gives you that excellent combo. Other examples would be yogurt with graham crackers and a piece of fruit, peanut butter and crackers with a cup of skim milk or two boiled eggs, celery sticks and saltine crackers.
Plan ahead and take snacks with you on your shopping expedition. Make up your own snack packs of healthy choices like cucumbers, nuts, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, cheese sticks, pickles, sunflower seeds, yogurt tubes, apples, celery or raisins. Skip the soda by bringing your water bottle.
Sometimes just a little something in your mouth can keep hunger at bay. Try lollipops, hard candy, or sugar-free gum.
These tips will work for the whole family too. Children often don’t know why they feel grouchy– they just do. Sometimes it is due to hunger. Help them learn by modeling these healthy habits when holiday shopping.
Enjoy the season and all that comes with it—including shopping—by fueling your body well.
Barbara Stahnke, MEd, RD, LD has been a Registered Dietitian since 1991 and received her master’s degree in Community Counseling in 2004. She works primarily with families to meet their health goals as well as with assuring other professionals have the necessary counseling skills to work with families.