7 Tips to Eat Smart While Holiday Shopping

Errands, to-do lists and an overbooked schedule: how will you fit it all in before the holiday?  Does this sound familiar? 

With a packed schedule, time at home seems like an unobtainable luxury. With more time being spent at holiday recitals, crowded malls or in the car traveling, meals no longer happen around the kitchen table. Mealtime is instead spent in line, reading off a lit board, trying to find the healthiest options. This makes for yet another decision when you're already stretched to the max.

More: 8 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Making healthier decisions are easier than you may think.  Follow these seven guidelines, to make health-conscious choices when you dine out, and reduce some of the holiday-season stress.

  • Choose a restaurant that serves healthier options.  Use your smart phone to check out the food and beverage nutrition information so you can make informed decisions.
  • While menu browsing, look for salads with a lean protein source such as, roasted or baked poultry without skin, baked or broiled fish or beans. The protein will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.  Look for a salad that is made with dark green lettuce or spinach and an array of fresh, colorful vegetables which will provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  All of which are important for your health.  Ask for an oil-based salad dressing on the side so you can control the amount you use. Your heart and waist will thank you! Enjoy with a slice of whole grain bread or roll. 
  • Avoid fried foods which are loaded with unneeded extra calories. 

More: 8 Tips for Eating Out More Healthfully

  • At fast food restaurants choose sandwiches where the meat is grilled rather than fried. Ask for the condiments on the side. Skip the fries and enjoy fruit or a side salad instead.  
  • At a Mexican restaurant, choose a whole wheat wrap or baked corn tortilla.  Load it with tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onions, salsa, guacamole, black or pinto beans and brown rice. Add lean meat, if you desire.   
  • Head to a deli counter and customize a sandwich. Select whole wheat bread, lean meat such as turkey, chicken or ham, and fresh vegetables. If you decide to have cheese, ask for one slice.  For additional flavor, add mustard, hummus, guacamole or a little bit of mayonnaise.  
  • To quench your thirst and stay hydrated, enjoy waterplain or flavor with lime or lemonunsweetened tea or coffee or nonfat or low-fat milk.  

Selecting healthier options will give you the energy and nutrients your body requires to finish your never-ending to-do list, celebrate with family and friends and enjoy yourself this holiday season.  Here's to healthy dining out and a happyand stress-freeholiday season.

More: 9 Holiday Eating Tips to Keep Your Waistline Trim

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