Nothing triggers the munchies like pounding the pavement for holiday gifts. It’s cold, it’s late, you’re tired, and you’re surrounded by fast food galore. To ward off the temptation to indulge as you browse the stores, try to travel with a few healthy snacks in your bag (Bonne Bell cheeses, high-fiber crackers, Glenny’s Soy Chips and Zen Tortilla Chips, Skippy Sticks, and Lara bars are all good choices) carry a bottle of water, and plan your excursions for just after you’ve eaten a meal. If these strategies fail and you have to stop somewhere for quick bite, indulge wisely with one of these suggestions (remember to resist food samples; they pack on calories):
P.S. The good news is that an hour of walking around the stores can burn as much as 275 calories for a person weighing about 145 pounds. And if you take the stairs instead of the escalator just twice during your excursion, you’ll burn extra calories—15 a minute. Just be sure to use the walking and stair-climbing as a way to burn extra calories, rather than an excuse to take in more.
- Make-Your-Own Chai Latte: Instead of going for one of Starbucks’ high-cal chai lattes, ask the barista to make you a lower-calorie version with one or two chai tea bags (depending on how strong you like it) with steamed nonfat milk. Then add a little Splenda to sweeten it up. Calorie comparison: 170 calories (and 34 grams of sugar) for a regular tall chai latte vs. 130 calories (and just 17 grams of sugar) for the make-your-own version.
- A Sensible Sandwich: Hit Subway, Blimpie, or Quizno’s and opt for either a 6-inch sandwich on whole wheat or rye, or a wrap. Skip the cheese and ask for double the turkey (the regular portion is a little skimpy) with lettuce, tomato, and mustard.
- Salad Advice: Choose a ready-made chicken caesar salad, but opt for low-fat vinaigrette dressing instead of the creamy caesar. Or head for the salad bar and make your own. Be sure to include protein, like chicken or turkey, and go light on the beans, which add carbs.
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