Do packed malls, long lines and last minute holiday preparations cause you to grab unhealthy snacks? It can be difficult to eat healthy during the busy holiday season. Yet, in order to keep your energy level up and avoid gaining holiday weight, it's important to enjoy nutrient-rich snacks.
Nutrient-rich foods will provide you with the energy and nutrients your body needs to reduce stress and prevent the cold or flu. Plus, healthy snacks keep your metabolism going, which will help prevent gaining weight.
So, how can you ensure that you remain healthy and keep your waistline in-check this holiday season? Follow these four tips and you'll be on your way to a healthy holiday.
1. Pack Portable Snacks
Here are five snack suggestions that are easy to carry and quick to prepare.
- Make your own trail mix. Combine dried fruit, unsalted or lightly salted nuts and seeds with your favorite whole-grain cereal or pretzels. Pack your mix in a single-serving baggie or small reusable container.
- Cut-up vegetables (baby carrots, celery sticks, sweet bell pepper or cucumber slices, or others) with hummus or a low-fat cheese stick.
- Bring fruit such as an apple, orange or banana with nuts or low-fat cheese.
- Have some peanut butter, or other nut butter, with whole-grain crackers. Prepare this snack ahead of time and store it in a single-serving baggie or reusable container.
- Snack on low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers or pretzels.
2. Eat When Hungry
Eat when you're physically hungry rather than the food is available and looks tasty. If you weren't hungry before you walked by the freshly made donuts and pretzels or smelled the tantalizing aroma of chocolate, then you're not truly hungry. Know that food tastes better when you're hungry. If you find it difficult to avoid impulse buying, ask yourself if the food is REALLY worth it? It may taste great going down, but how will it make you feel afterwards? Will it give you a stomachache or provide you long-term energy? Instead, chew gum, drink water or unsweetened tea, or munch on a snack you packed.
3. Avoid the Holiday Blues
Do you turn to food when you are stressed, sad, lonely, or tired? When you get stressed make a to-do list of your tasks and then prioritize what needs to get done first. Get rid of any responsibilities that are unnecessary and delegate others when appropriate. If you experience the holiday blues then reach out to family or friends, volunteer, write holiday letter, or make a gift for someone. Most importantly make time to exercise and time to relax. Both are essential for your overall health and well-being.
4. Drink Water
Like many people, you probably don't drink enough water. Sometimes you may feel hungry when you are actually inadequately hydrated. The best way to determine if you're drinking enough is by the color and volume of your urine. Your urine should be pale yellow or clear and in sufficient quantity (you should be urinating every 2 to 3 hours).
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