While blog posts this time of year are on toys, how to have stress-free holidays, and what to buy your grandmother, it is important to touch upon another issue many of us face: high calorie foods and how to keep the pounds off with all the eggnog.
The first tip is to exercise. Easier said then done, I know, but think in small increments. For example, instead of circling the mall parking lot looking for a spot near the mall entrance, park far away and walk. Take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator at the mall or at work. On the phone, scheduling appointments? Do squats while you are standing there. Even if you don’t do these little things the rest of the year, do it during the holidays when food leans towards cookie swaps and high fat appetizers, and you’ll have a better chance starting the new year without having to lose the extra weight.
The second tip, of course, is to watch what you eat. Pass on the cheese dip, and stick with the veggies. If you really must taste the eggnog, have a small taste rather than a whole glass. The basic mantra is to avoid when you can, and minimize when you can’t.
If you have control over the menu, pick foods that are lower calories and fat, or use ingredients that have better nutritional value. For example, you can buy light eggnog. Instead of sour cream for the french onion dip, use plain Greek yogurt which has 0% fat, lesser calories and higher protein. Pick crackers for that cheese tray that have higher fiber.
Of course, when you go to the grocery store and you see all the crackers lining the shelves, how do you know which cracker is better for you without having to read every label? If you have a toddler in tow, who has time for that? Luckily there are some grocery stores that have done the work for us. Shaw’s/Star Market has a new program called Nutrition IQ. It guides you through the store with color-coding tags to highlight key nutrition attributes throughout the store.
How did they choose the featured foods? Food products are first screened for lower levels of saturated fat, sodium, and for some categories, sugar. Then for each qualifying products, they use established FDA Nutrient Content Claims for most of the foods and products to identify up to two key nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. You’ll see these attributes right on the tags and signs next to those foods. It looks like this:
Or like this:
So if you see a tag next to a box of ABC cereal, but not XYZ cereal, it means that the ABC cereal is a better nutritional option.
To make it easier, they have a great website with information and tips for diabetes, a gluten-free diet, better kids nutrition, heart health, or for lower blood pressure. Thus, if you are doing your holiday party shopping, or even your everyday shopping and want assistance in making better product choices, check out Shaw’s or Star Market! And as part of my 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways, while I gave away everything from toys, tickets, spa passes and stocking stuffers, I also gave away a $25 gift card to Shaws so you can take the steps you need to have a healthy, as well as a happy, holiday season. Congrats to Barbara for winning!
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post, but did attend a lovely event with a gift bag, hosted by Shaw’s and learned about the program. The gift card I received is part of this giveaway. All opinions are my own.