Surviving last minute shopping food temptations

By: Health Local Staff Dec 21, 2011
avoiding the food court

A trip to the mall does not have to mean you completely blow your goal of staying healthy during the holidays.

Your goodies are baked, your packages wrapped and your friends and family are on the way. Everything is ready, except for that one last thing you have inevitably forgotten. Just when you think you are totally ready for the holidays, you realize you have one last trip to make to the mall. And now, your frustration increases even more because you know you are in a rush and you know you will have to deal with the temptation of food the exists in the food court. But, a trip to the mall does not have to mean you completely blow your goal of staying healthy during the holidays.

Pack a Snack
When you are planning to do that last minute shopping, make sure you pack plenty of snacks. Keeping an alternative food choice in your purse is not only healthier, but it is also cheaper. You can carry bottled water that can be refilled throughout the mall to stay hydrated and to keep your stomach full. Along with water, plan to carry several of the snack sized plastic bags filled with your favorite snacks. Some great choices are almonds, pretzels, popcorn, and carrots. Not only will these travel well in your bag, but they satisfy the urge to crunch and they taste great, too.

Take the Time to Sit Down
If you have to take the time to shop at the mall, you may want to take the time to sit down and eat when it is time for your meal. Those extra minutes you spend at a restaurant will allow you to choose a healthy entrée and will aid in your digestion. Plus, those extra minutes give you a little time to rest your feet and keep you from being so exhausted you want to grab and eat absolutely everything later.

Eat the Alternative
Sometimes though, you just do not have the time to eat at a restaurant. When that happens, the food court may be your only option. Just because you have to eat at a food court does not mean you have to give up your goal of healthy eating. There are plenty of options that will still help you meet that goal. First, you may want to look for a Mexican food option. You can order a chicken based food item and hold the sour cream and guacamole. Spice it up with a little salsa for added flavor without all the calories. If Mexican is not your thing, check out the Chinese area. Again, try to stick with a chicken based item if you have to have meat and look for an entrée that has plenty of vegetables. Include brown rice with your meal and avoid the heavy sauces. If American cuisine is your preference, aim for a small burger with mustard and vegetables and tell them to hold the fries. Avoid adding cheese and mayonnaise to the burger in order to make it healthier. The key to surviving the mall food court is to make your meal as light as possible and include as many vegetables as you can. Avoid most of the sauces and anything high in fat like creams. Of course, a salad with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and other yummy vegetables, is a great way to keep your goal.

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