Monday, December 27, 2010

Ants on a Log

With the holiday season amongst us once again, many of us are spending (too much) time in the kitchen baking sweet treats. As it always does, food plays a huge role in Christmas and New Year celebrations; however, that does not mean that it has to make an impact on your weight. Studies show that the average holiday weight gain is about one pound. Even more disturbing is the evidence that for most people, that one pound is there to stay. That is one extra pound that you do not need to carry around with you for the rest of your life. Have no fear however, for there are many easy ways to keep away from this seemingly unavoidable tradition—all you have to do is be mindful of what you are eating. Stick to the following tips and you’ll be on track to starting a new year feeling great.

1. Eat in moderation
This is the big one. If you were to remember just one tip, it would be to eat in moderation. Keep your servings sizes small so that you can enjoy all your favorite holiday treats without consuming extra calories. Use a small plate and don’t be tempted to go back for more.

2. Don’t forget to exercise
When you exercise, you are not only burning calories, but also using the time that you might otherwise have used to eat to do some physical activity. Exercising can also be every enjoyable and keep your heart, lungs, and bones strong and healthy. If you have a treadmill, put it in front of the TV so that you can watch your favorite show and exercise at the same time. Spending time outdoors is sure to burn some calories, but if it’s too cold outside, why not hit the mall and engage in some serious speed shopping?

3. Indulge in hot drinks
Hot drinks such as cider, hot chocolate, and eggnog are delicious fluids to have during the winter season. Because people tend to drink hot drinks slower than cold drinks, you’ll have fewer refills, which means fewer calories consumed.

4. Fill up on your fruits and vegetables
You should be following this rule all year round, but especially during the time of year when junk food is readily available. Aim for at least five servings of plants a day, and from a broad range of colors. Different colored fruits and veggies provide different nutrients so that you can get all your essential vitamins naturally. Enjoy your crunchy veggies raw and unadorned, or with a healthy dip such as hummus.

5. Stay hydrated
Stay hydrated. Stay hydrated. Stay hydrated! Although the temperature outside has dropped tremendously in the last few weeks and you may not feel as thirsty during the winter months, your body still needs to stay hydrated. Water should always be your first choice when selecting a drink. Water is vital for the regulation of body temperature and metabolism. It’s refreshing, cheap, and best of all, calorie free. Drink one or two cups of water before every meal—you will feel just as full, without consuming as many calories. So guzzle that hydrogen and oxygen, and your body will surely thank you for it.

6. Eat some candy now and then
When it’s time for dessert, suck on a candy cane or nibble a piece of dark chocolate. Instead of adding to your daily intake up to 200 calories for just one cookie, you can enjoy a candy cane for just 60 calories. Alternatively, chew some minty gum. Minty gum kills your desire for food and inhibits you from chewing food—unless you want bits of food stuck in your gum!

Ants on a log are not only for kids—they are a delicious and easy snack for anyone who enjoys good food and wants some fun. The almond butter provides protein and healthy fats so that you feel full for longer. I like almond butter in my ants on a logs, but use peanut butter or cream cheese instead if that if what you desire. Did I mention these were very healthy too? In fact, you can get your serving of vegetables, fruit, AND protein by enjoying this delicious snack.


5 stalks celery
4 tbsp almond butter
¼ cup raisins


1. Spread the almond butter in the hollows of the celery stalks and top with raisins. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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