Autumn Goals for Weight Management
Fall is here, and the holidays approach us. First we have Halloween, which for most brings thoughts of candied apples, caramel corn, and candy to mind. Then there’s Thanksgiving; a wonderful holiday to reflect, give thanks, and, of course, eat. And finally we have Christmas and Hanukah, also happy times where we surround ourselves with good cheer, and food.
Hmmn, do you see a theme here? Holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy, but we must be careful how much we overindulge in specialty foods, desserts, alcohol and other high calorie items. Maintaining your goals for better health deserves your attention all year long. Even on those special days, while we may treat ourselves to high fat foods or larger portions, we must continue to have our goals for good health in front of us; ready to begin the next day with a brisk walk and include some fresh fruits and vegetables.
So as the wonderful autumn season spreads color and crisp air across the northeast, and winter holiday seasons approach, stay focused on these nutrition goals:
- Buy wisely. Think about exactly how much candy you will need for Trick-or-Treaters, then buy just enough. Don’t open any of the bags until that night.
- Do allow yourself a treat. If you love candy bars (as I do), then allow yourself to have one or two of your favorite ‘fun-size’ bars on trick-or-treat night. Then, give the rest away or hide them away so you aren’t tempted the following day or two.
- However, if you really have a hard time staying away from the candy, consider purchasing healthier treats or alternatives. (Mini pretzel bags, stickers, small trinket-type toys.)
- Fall is a great time to cook vegetables and eat more of them. Add more vegetables to your stew, such as chopped carrots, chopped green beans, or chunks of zucchini. When you make chili, try a vegetable recipe instead, or add two varieties of beans to the meat. Cube a variety of vegetables and roast them with olive oil and garlic.
- Don’t give up on your exercise routine just because the days are darker and cooler. Invest in a light water-resistant jacket and some long pants for walking. Buy a reflective vest or jacket so you can fit your daily walk in even if it’s dark outside (such as early morning or evenings). Enlist a friend for company and safety.
- Try some light recipes. Pick up a copy of Cooking Light magazine, a low fat cookbook, or check out some low fat cooking websites to find lower calorie alternatives to your favorite comfort food recipes.
- Stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep. Studies have shown that people who get 7-8 hours of sleep daily have an easier time losing weight or maintaining their weight, than those who get too little or too much.
© Rosanne Rust 2008
The next time you have to bring a healthy treat into the school classroom, consider these simple ideas:
CARAMEL APPLE SLICES
An average, commercially-prepared, caramel apple provides about 360 calories and 6 grams of fat (the decadent type would be much more). A simple alternative is providing a tray of apple slices with a small bowl of fat-free caramel dip. The dip does contain sugar and empty calories, but you can control the portion this way. It will be more likely the children will ingest more apple and less caramel, but still enjoy a treat.
Cut an orange into five or six wedges and place in a decorative bowl. It is simple and kids love them.