For many Christmas shoppers the local mall is a necessary evil. In order to get the best gifts on everyone’s list, you need to brave the crowds and the smells of the food court. Is it possible to do your Christmas shopping without sabotaging your diet? Of course. All you need is a little planning, some backup snacks and a knowledge of the food court.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Not only will a healthy breakfast give you the energy to tackle a crowded mall, but the right foods can keep you full. Try having a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and low-fat almond milk. This meal will give you fiber to stay full as well as protein to keep you energized. Just remember not to eat too much or consume heavy foods that could weigh you down.
Pack Healthy Snacks and Water
If you’re planning an all day shopping trip, you’ll need snacks to help you stay away from the food court as long as possible. Trail mix, dried fruit, whole grain crackers and beef jerky are just a few low fat snacks you can bring along. Also, make sure to bring plenty of bottled water so you stay hydrated during your shopping trip.
Stay Away From the Food Court
It can be almost impossible to avoid the food court. Most food courts are placed in the center of the mall, which requires shoppers to walk through the area. The key is to do as much of your shopping on one end of the mall before lunch. This gives your body time to burn off the calories from breakfast and will prevent you from eating earlier than you need to, which could lead to eating more calories than you need when you get hungry again in a few hours.
Assess Your Appetite
Are you really hungry or is it just the smell of the food and dehydration? Take a break to sit down and drink some water. Look over your list and check off the items you’ve already purchased while considering the state of your appetite. If you’re dehydrated, your body can send signals that you might mistake for hunger. If you’re still hungry after drinking water and having a rest, it may be time to hit the food court.
Make Educated Decisions
As someone working to lose weight, you probably already know the ins and outs of proper eating. You’ll need to keep this information in mind as you search for a restaurant. Look for restaurants that offer fresh vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. In most cases, your best bet will be a sandwich shop. Of course, ingredients aren’t the only thing to consider, you also want to avoid meals that have more than one serving. Some food court meals contain healthy ingredients, but are much larger than one portion.
Walk Off the Calories
After having a healthy meal at the food court, step it up a bit and burn off those calories. Instead of letting the escalator do all the work, walk up it. Another tip is to take bags to the car ever so often, which adds more steps to your day. After a long day at the mall, even with stopping at the food court, you should be able to look back at the day and be proud of how well you’ve done. Don’t be afraid to take that extra trip around the mall and maybe even purchase yourself something.