As cooler weather moves us inside, and the kitchen feels like the place to nurture our spirits, let’s step back and look at the
changes that can be diet dangers. Which do you need to address?
- Busier Schedule–Vacation time is over, activities resume and classes are often added to the normal week’s routine. The key to managing a busy schedule is planning and being organized. Make healthy eating and exercise a prioritized part of the routine. That starts with grocery shopping that brings into the house the foods for a healthy diet. You’ll eat the food that’s around and convenient. Think about your meals the day before. Planning meals ahead saves time and stress in the long run.
- Sports–Football food, whether it’s tailgating at the stadium or in front of the television adds to the day’s calories. Your indulgence in high calorie, traditional football fare does nothing to improve your team’s game. Some healthy alternatives to the “norm” are lean chicken, lunchmeat, sausage, jerky or cheese; veggies or fruit; soy nuts or low fat popcorn; CNC protein snacks or protein bars and tea or flavored water. Kid’s sports can interfere with regular family meals and schedules. Plan a healthy snack, or pack a balanced dinner for the kids and yourself. Use their practice time to work-out at a nearby gym, or to walk in the park.
- Heavier Meals–Cooler weather sometimes puts the grill to rest along with fresh salads and fruits. You can grill inside too. Cooked vegetables and recipes that combine vegetables with your protein such as stir fry, chili, and crock pot recipes warm the spirits. Homemade soups with broth and tomato bases, as well as healthier canned soups (check the labels) are great warm salad alternatives to get those vegetables.
- Colder and Darker–When you have to bring your exercise inside, you’re forced to change a routine that may have gotten boring to both you and your muscles. Variety in exercise is recommended. There are still opportunities to run, walk, bike, etc. outside on nice fall and winter days. Have an alternative for the nastier dark days either at home or at a gym or pool. Fight the winter “blahs” with exercise. If short days trigger some “seasonal affective” depression, recognize it. Stay active and involved with friends or consider light therapy. Just remember, eating more isn’t the remedy.
- Holidays Ahead–We start with a candy holiday! What used to be a lollipop or candy bar from house to house has evolved to handfuls for each trick-or-treater at the door. My grown daughters still remind me of their humiliation when their dietitian mother handed out a box of raisins. Lately I’ve received sincere appreciation for a granola bar alternative to the enormous amounts of candy the kids have in their sacks. MODERATION is a concept healthy kids have to learn. Allow them to choose a few favorites to space through the days and weeks ahead. Teach sharing by bringing the excess to CNC, and we will see that it’s distributed in small goodie-bags to needy kids on the Texas-Mexico border for a holiday treat.
-By Suzanne Boos, RDN (Information provided by Ethan Lazarus, MD of the Clinical Nutrition Center)