Many of our new clients tell us that being stuck inside during the cold winter months often spells trouble for their waistline. But this doesn’t have to be the case for you and your family. Arm yourself with the strategies that we give our clients (and that we use ourselves!) to avoid weight gain.
What’s the secret to staying lean even in the winter? It’s all about being prepared. Make sure you have ready-to-go healthy snacks so that every half hour spent in front of the TV or computer doesn’t have to mean hundreds of excess calories consumed.
Follow these tricks and you can stay lean throughout the winter and keep your kids healthy, energized and focused.
• Make sure that indoor activities are not always associated with eating. For instance, avoid making a habit of eating while watching TV, reading a book or while spending time on the computer. Eat only at the dinner table. This will prevent you and your family from swallowing a lot of extra calories.
Keep these healthy snacks on hand:
• Cut up vegetables like peppers, celery, carrots, squash and cucumbers and put them in Tupperware on the top shelf of your refrigerator. This is the first thing you’ll see when you open your refrigerator and it should be your first line of defense for healthy snacking. It will fill you up with fiber and nutrients and with very few calories. If you want to dip them, use low-sodium bean dips, low-fat yogurt dips or salsa. Just be sure to limit the portion size of the dip to several tablespoons. (Our favorite is red bell pepper strips. We both snack on them daily and they’re so sweet that no dip is needed!)
• Since everyone in the family, especially the kids, love chips, think twice when shopping in the snack aisle. Instead of regular chips, find healthier items that are just as enjoyable and not loaded with saturated fat and calories. Try baked chips or Pirate’s Booty.
• Make fruit and cheese kabobs using a skewer and chunks of your family’s favorite fruits (apples, pineapple, citrus fruits) and low-fat cheese cubes. The fruit’s fiber is filling and the carbohydrates will keep you and your kids energized. The low-fat cheese is a great source of satiating protein and a good source of calcium to keep your bones strong and to help your kids build strong bones too. (Tammy cuts low-fat string cheese into chunks and alternates them on skewers with grape halves, banana slices and small apple pieces. Her little ones love them!)
• Keep low-sodium deli slices of turkey and chicken breast in your fridge. It just takes a minute to wrap them around a low-fat string cheese or put a few slices of fresh sliced poultry in a whole wheat pita pocket. The poultry is a lean source protein and is really satisfying.
• Stock your pantry with small snack packs of raisins, dates and dried plums and pre-portion small bags of whole grain cereal with a tablespoon of slivered nuts for snacking. Have just one pre-portioned bag and teach your kids to do the same. They’ll learn by watching you.
• Lastly, be sure to get moving. Even if it means bundling up and taking a brisk walk outside your front door for 15 minutes and then turning around and coming back. The cool, crisp air will be refreshing and it will get you off the couch. It will take your mind off snacking and you’ll burn calories while you’re at it. Take the kids so you can spend real quality time together while keeping them active too!