Before leaving the house, drop a few tasty, hunger-curbing foods in your carry-on bag, such as a whole-grain bagel and easy-to-eat fruit like apples, tangerines, and grapes. Nicely, many airline terminals now have a good selection of foods to purchase, like nonfat yogurt and whole fruit. At Starbucks, you can even get oatmeal cooked in soymilk or nonfat dairy milk. Some terminals also have fabulous salad bars.
Stake out a corner in the refrigerator and another in the pantry that is just for your Pritikin foods – your bag of oatmeal, for example, as well as cans of low-sodium soups, beans, tuna, and salmon. And in your shelf in the fridge, put your veggies, fruit, and yogurt. It’s comforting to know, especially when you get hungry, that your food is within easy reach.
Another tip: Order a special gift for your host and hostess — a big basket of luscious fruit — that will arrive right around the time that you arrive. Sure, it’s a gift for you, too! Everyone will enjoy it for days to come!
On the Road…
For a quick bite, burgers aren’t your only option. One great alternative are upscale grocery markets like Whole Foods, where you’ll find big, bountiful salad bars full of delicious, freshly cut veggies and other healthy toppings, like beans and freshly roasted chicken. Stop off at the bakery for some freshly made whole-grain bread and the refrigerated section for bottles of water or diet drinks, and you’re set.
Are the kids and grandkids in the back seat itching for fast food? Scout out options that allow you to pick and choose your fillings. At sandwich counters, load up on fresh veggies jazzed up with a little mustard and/or jalapeno pepper. Craving Mexican? Stop off at build-your-own-burrito eateries with healthier options like grilled bell peppers and onions, black beans and pinto beans, freshly-cut lettuce, salsa, and grilled chicken breast strips. Delish!
Away From Your Gym…
You can still be physically active, tallying up 10,000 to 15,000 steps daily. You just have to be a little more creative, sometimes adventurous. Be part of the holiday fun! Don’t miss a chance to jump into the fray if the kids and grandkids are playing soccer, throwing a football, or building a snowman.
Put on your dancing shoes. Plan evenings out where there’s music and a dance floor. At home, turn up the holiday music and sing and dance with the entire family. Just getting up from the couch is good for your heart and waistline!
Offer to chip in with the house cleaning. Yes, homes can get awfully messy when relatives and all their stuff move in. Vacuuming a few rooms for 15 to 20 minutes can burn around 80 to 100 calories. Plus, you’ll score priceless points with your host.
Wherever you are, seek out movement opportunities. Take the stairs instead of elevators. Park at the far end of the mall parking lot and burn a few calories as you walk to the stores. If you’re taking buses or trains, don’t wait at the nearest stop. Walk to the next one. Or, when returning home, get off a stop early and finish your journey on foot. There’s nothing more refreshing than a brisk winter walk!
Work from the entire menu to create a Pritikin meal. Think ingredients, not menu items. Select, for example, the seafood from one dish and the steamed veggies from another. Then, ask your server to double or triple your serving of veggies.
Want a BIG chopped salad like the kind you make for yourself when visiting Pritikin? Just ask the chef to gather into a big bowl a sampling of all the fresh vegetables he or she currently has in the kitchen. Then, ask that they be chopped up into bite-size pieces and tossed with the finest vinegar in the kitchen. A great topping for your salad, if available, is roasted garlic or roasted onions. This writer’s personal favorite? Roasted fennel.
During the holidays and year-round, always remember the #1 tip in restaurant dining: ASK questions. ASK about ingredients. ASK how items are prepared – what sort of sauce, for example, is being used, and if there are available substitutions like baked potatoes in place of French fries. Particularly in this tough economy, restaurants are bending over backwards to please YOU, their much-coveted client.
Stay in hotels that accommodate not only your business or vacation needs but also your exercise and nutritional needs. Most major hotels provide their guests with special health-conscious menus as well as exercise equipment, or access to a nearby gym.
Stop by the concierge desk for tips on walking tours near your hotel. What a great way to see the sights and get your workout in. All you have to do is ASK.
Enjoy part of your holiday season at Pritikin
At the Pritikin Longevity Center in sunny Florida, you’ll indulge yourself with healthy gourmet food (no need to ask for any changes on the menu – it’s all good!), an elegant New Year’s Eve dinner and midnight toast, and the best weather in the country.
Or carve out time in January and reboot yourself at Pritikin. You’ll return home thinner and fitter, looking and feeling your best. Now that’s the best gift of all! And the best way to begin the new year!
Wherever the holidays take you, here are 7 tips for enjoying life and staying on your health and weight-loss path.