Four Corners Health Department

Snacks can be helpful during the holidays.

You may be trying to balance your food intake when you know a big meal is coming later that day. The key is to make smart food choices with your snacks or mini meals.

It basically comes down to eating the right-sized portions and knowing how many calories your body needs to function well. To avoid the common weight gain over the holidays, don’t eat more calories than what your body needs. Food is measured in calories for how much fuel it will give us.

Visit this link from the American Cancer Society to figure out your needed calories per day: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/take-control-your-weight/calorie-counter-calculator.html

Once you know your needed calories per day, it’s much easier to know if you are eating the right amount your body needs or too much. Taking in more calories, or more fuel, than needed, often gets stored as fat. Overtime, that leads to weight gain.

For many people, writing down what you eat during the holidays helps them be mindful of what they are putting in to their body. It’s easy to snack on all the goodies around you. We often don’t think these add many calories to our total. A bite here and a bite there at possibly 50 or 75 calories can add up. So, writing down even the snacks, helps you to be intentional about not overeating.

Here are some tips for using snacks to your advantage. Sometimes these are called mini-meals.

• If you want an afternoon pick-me-up or a mini-meal before an evening party, have a piece of fruit, or spread peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese on whole wheat toast.

• Have an ounce of cheese with some whole grain crackers, a container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or a 1-ounce portion of unsalted nuts.

• Put fruit instead of candy in the bowl on your coffee table or office desk.

• Keep a container of washed, raw vegetables in the fridge along with hummus or other healthy dips.

• To limit your portion sizes, don’t eat from the bag. Count out a serving, and put the bag away.

• When you are out and need a snack, don’t be tempted by a candy bar. Instead, take along homemade trail mix in a plastic bag when you go out.

• If you need to buy a snack while you are on the go, pick up an apple or banana—most convenience stores carry them.

Do enjoy the good food this holiday season. Eat slowly and savor the taste of each bite. This can help to not eat too much. Keep water near you and drink it throughout the day.

For more ideas on eating healthy and being active during the holidays, contact Four Corners for tips or a talk at your club. Phone: Toll free 1-877-337-3573. Email: info@fourcorners.ne.gov.

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