Elizabeth S. Reames | 12/2/2005 2:54:11 AM
The holidays mark the season of shopping and eating as consumers rush to the mall to buy gifts. Malls are popular, not just for their merchandise, but for their many restaurants and snack stands.
Many malls offer healthy food selections such as made-to-order sandwiches and pizza, baked potatoes, frozen yogurt, bottled water, juices and grilled chicken. Some malls have whole fruits, such as bananas, oranges or apples, vegetables and even veggie burgers.
If you’re planning to spend time at the mall this holiday season, LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames offers some tips to help you prevent overeating.
Eat a healthy meal or snack before going to the mall Shopping on an empty stomach may make you overeat at lunch or sooner.
Share the holiday spirit and your food. Cut the calories by sharing a meal or holiday treats with a friend.
Pack a lunch and take with you. Buy water or a low calorie drink at the mall to go with it.
Plan a few laps of mall walking. The average person can burn approximately 220 to 310 calories per hour during brisk walking. Some malls have designated walking programs and are open to the public before stores actually open.
Of course, a mall isn’t the only place to watch your eating habits. Reames offers additional holiday eating tips.
Be realistic. Instead of trying to lose weight over the holidays, strive to maintain your weight. Don't deprive yourself of your favorites. Make it a balancing act. Cut the salad dressing and go for a small slice of chocolate mousse pie. Or, balance your favorites with low calorie foods, such as vegetables with a small amount of dip or boiled shrimp with lemon.
Watch the portion sizes. If you have two parties to attend, choose small portions at each. At a buffet, be selective. Choose only the foods you really want and watch portion sizes. AgCenter nutritionists and Family and Consumer Sciences agents recommend the food guide pyramid as a guide to healthful eating.
For additional information about the food guide pyramid, contact the FCS agent in your parish. For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.