From Panda Express to Cinnabon and the ever-alluring Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, shopping malls are full of diet saboteurs. Black Friday until Christmas Eve the store aisles are full of shoppers, the streets are packed with cars, schedules are crammed with holiday events, checkbooks are overflowing with receipts, ears are ringing with holiday bells, and menus are expanded with seasonal specialties. The stress of the holiday season makes us more susceptible to temptation, not just at holiday parties but even during tasks like shopping. Try these five tips to help you stay on track while shopping.
1. Eat before you shop – You will be better able to manage the stressors of the season and less tempted if your blood sugar is stable. Even what is supposed to be a quick stop can stretch out with long lines and full parking lots. By the time you make it out of the store, your stomach may be growling with nothing but fast food in sight.
2. Pack your own healthy snacks that can stay fresh in a purse. Don’t plan to purchase a healthy snack because when it is time to eat, you might start bargaining with yourself and waiver in your determination. Besides, you need to save for other holiday expenses.
3. Have a drink – Don’t get a high-calorie cocktail, because dehydration can make us believe that we are hungry and simply swallowing can relieve hunger pangs. Pack some water or a black coffee; just make sure you have a lid.
4. Avoid the food court – Map out your path through the mall. Never enter or exit through the food court. When strategically placed roasted nut kiosks or cookie shops must be passed, try to pass on the other side of the aisle and distract your eyes and your thoughts if possible.
5. Plan for dinner – Before you shop, set up the slow cooker with a healthy meal that you can look forward to while shopping. If dinner has already started, you won’t need to fight against the fatigue excuse to grab food on the go. Some of our favorite healthy slow cooker recipes include: