Ready for Some Healthy Holiday Shopping?

A long day of shopping can be treacherous to your healthy lifestyle. It can be difficult to make smart choices when surrounded by so much temptation.
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Some people love holiday shopping, some people hate it. I'm in the former camp. The holiday music playing, the bright decorations, even the crowds -- I find it invigorating! However, a long day of shopping can be treacherous to your healthy lifestyle. It can be difficult to make smart choices when surrounded by so much temptation.

With a little up-front planning, a shopping day can actually be a bonus for your healthy lifestyle, not detract from it. Here is your plan of attack:

1. Workouts. Do you work out regularly? Don't skip it! Even 20 minutes of yoga before you leave for the day will put you in the right mindset. Not a regular exerciser? No worries, I've got you covered in step #3.

2. Breakfast. Today is not the day to skip breakfast or start a new diet. There are too many yummy smells and tempting treats at the mall. Eat a healthy and FILLING breakfast at home. Oatmeal or veggie omelets are both great choices. Drink a full glass of water before or with your morning meal.

3. Join those mall walkers. Yes, you might feel a little funny, but as soon as you get to the mall, BEFORE you start shopping (and have lots of packages to contend with), do three or four FAST laps around the shopping center. Aim for at least 30 minutes of quick walking to get your heart rate up and burn some easy calories.

4. Lunch break. Time to eat? If you are at an actual restaurant (versus the food court), don't even look at the menu. Just order a big salad with lots of veggies or a cup of soup loaded with veggies. Watch out for extras like cheese, croutons and an overload of dressing. If a salad or soup isn't an option, look for the healthiest alternative (think vegetables) and order half of what you think you'll need. If that makes you nervous, just tell yourself you'll have room for a healthy treat later in the day!

5. Snack time. Your shopping companions want a snack? Break out that square of dark chocolate you stashed in your purse (or shopping bag). Order a hot tea or water (or even coffee if you really want it), and savor every bite.

A few extra shopping day tips:

Tip #1: Practice a random act of kindness while you are out and about -- you'll feel great about yourself and therefore take better care of yourself! Need some ideas? Here are a few of my favorites:

• Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.

• Leave a gift card ($5) and a note in the diaper stall at the store -- a harried mom will thank you!

• Pick up an extra board game or toy and drop off at the fire station.

• Make sure and thank that salesperson or waiter who helped you. Better yet, if they were extra friendly, tell their manager what a great job they are doing.

Tip #2: If you know ahead of time where you will have lunch, check out the menu online at home and decide what you'll order before you even leave for your day of shopping.

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